Another coin carver of note is Roman Butin of Russia, profiled in an article by Carol Bastable in the Summer 2018 issue of
BoTales, the official publication of the Original Hobo Nickel Society. With permission, here is an excerpt. -Editor
Roman Butin (pronounced Booteen) emerged on the scene a few years ago with his earliest carvings dating to 2014. It was clear he had talent from
the start and his coin auctions on eBay had prices soaring. He set a new record when one of his coin carvings broke the $10,000 mark. It was a
mechanical Morgan dollar with jaws that snapped shut around a Mexican two peso coin if a person were to reach in and grab the coin. Of course all
this was demonstrated with a stick of wood that touched the coin in a video made by Butin.
Butin got the inspiration from a brass keychain of a trap that he had seen on the internet however that one was not mechanical. He took on
a challenge to make his trap fully functional and one that could grab a finger.
Butin had to do three variations of the coin before perfecting it. Then he placed it on eBay with a starting bid of ninety-nine cents as was his
regular practice. The auction was to close within three days and by the second day the price was up to $4000. Roman describes it as "it was
incredible money for me!!!!!" He was actually in a bit of a panic as to how he was going to ship it outside of Russia where he lives. Coincidentally
his friends asked him what he would do if the price went to $10,000 and Butin answered somewhat jokingly that he would have to go to the U.S. and
hand deliver it. Well at the end of the third day with minutes to go, the coin started to jump…..$5,000, $6,000, $7,000. $8,000, $9,000, and finally
ended at $10,101. It had actually surpassed the $10,000 mark that he and his friends had contemplated the prior day.
Butin has been involved in other art forms. In the 1990's he did some painting, ceramics, and tattoo art. So far he has made fifty-four
coin carvings and before that he was doing some stunning engravings on zippo lighters. He estimates making between fifty or sixty of those. Butin
first saw engraved lighters on the internet and was inspired to pursue the art and then he stumbled on the hobo nickel art in much the same way. He
liked that the coins were thicker than the zippo sheet metal and he could do more artistic things with them since the metal was thicker to work with.
He also said they looked cooler!
One day Butin dreams of coming to the January coin show where OHNS has a bourse table and conducts its annual meeting and auction. He is
excited to meet the collectors and engravers. We are also very hopeful to see him in person but until then we will just keep admiring his coins and
continue to get to know him better through the internet.
For more information on the Original Hobo Nickel Society, see:
What did Butin do with his $10,000 eBay windfall? He bought new and more advanced engraving tools, to further perfect his art.
We've featured Butin before, but the article we quoted called him "Booteen". Now we know better, thanks to Carol's profile. That
explains why it took me so long to find the prior article in our E-Sylum archive. -Editor
Butin does use the spelling "Booteen" on eBay and probably on Facebook just so people will pronounce his name correctly. However, his
given name is spelled Butin. Butin is not alone as there have been two other hobo nickel carvers that have done the same thing to aid in
To read earlier E-Sylum articles, see:
ROMAN BOOTEEN'S MECHANICAL GOLD BUG COIN
Wayne Homren, Editor
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