<b>These nickels certainly don't feature Thomas Jefferson.</b> First carved in 1913, the heyday of hobo nickels was back in the 1930s, used as a way to pass the time during the Great Depression. Some of the original coins still exist today, while the practice itself has survived into modern times; ironically making some nickels worth hundreds of dollars.
Hobo Nickels. The hobo nickel is a sculptural art form involving the creative modification of small-denomination coins, essentially resulting in miniature bas reliefs. The term hobo nickel is generic, as carvings have been made from many different denominations. Due to its low cost and portability, this medium was particularly popular among hobos, hence the name.