The Original Hobo Nickel Society
The Original Hobo Nickel Society (OHNS) was created in 1992 for collectors primarily interested in classic old carved nickels. Nice classic old hobo nickels that were worth about $10 to $50 each in the 1980s rose in value to about $100 to $1000 each by the mid-1990s (prices have come down since then except for the top-quality works).
From the early 1980s to present, modern lesser-quality carvings could and still can be purchased for as little as $5 to $10 each. Many new collectors found it hard to obtain good quality old original hobo nickels (as they are so scarce and costly) so they began collecting the readily obtainable and cheap modern works.
Some OHNS Board members have expressed concern that too much emphasis is given to modern carvings and the artists making them and that proportionately too many modern pieces are appearing in recent OHNS auctions. Information is much more readily available for modern carvers and their creations than pertaining to classic old hobo nickel artists.
About 100,000 (and possibly as many as 200,000) classic hobo nickels were created from 1913 to 1980. Modern artists have created (and continue to create) altered nickels in such large quantities that, within the next few years, the number of modern carvings is expected to surpass that of classic old hobo nickels. Most of the 100,000-plus classic old hobo nickels are not yet in the hands of collectors, whereas almost all modern carvings are. Among numismatists, the modern carvings already greatly outnumber the classic old hobo nickels.