Hobo nickels, were carved by the homeless during WWI and during the Great Depression. Hobo Nickels were traded for meals, a place to sleep, a ride, or other favors. Some were carved with images of loved ones as mementos. Each Hobo Nickel has a story behind them. These stories speak of a generation of men and women who struggled to survive, yet kept their faith in our Creator, themselves, and the American dream.
They may have been wanderers, but they worked hard for what they needed, helped each other, and honored an unwritten code of honor and respect among hoboes.
Hobo Nickels are still being carved today. Individuals who carved the Hobo Nickels have brought this area of folk art to another level. The images are contemporary and often abstract with modern imaging." Source