Data + Design Project

Extra Terrestrial Nickels Are Out of this World

Tuesday 08.07.2012 , Posted by

Did you ever wonder what our currency might look like if aliens invaded our planet and for some strange reason decided to integrate into our culture rather than destroying us all? This selection of extra terrestrial coins includes some of the most intriguing hobo nickels on Earth. If you’re not familiar, hobo nickels are any coin-not just nickels- of which the original carvings have been altered.

The practice of defacing coins dates back as early as the 1750’s when a man would make a “love token” for his lady by smoothing the coin and adding their initials. The art of hobo nickeling had a surge of popularity after the release of the Buffalo nickel since the large Indian head offered the perfect amount of space for creating a new scene and people had a lot of time on their hands due to the lack of jobs during the Great Depression.


This coin defacing form of folk art is so popular that there is even an Original Hobo Nickel Society. The collection of skull hobo nickels on Atomik was an inspiration to dig deeper and find out more about the hobo hobby which led to this alien collection. It would be pretty creepy/awesome to receive one of these unearthly coins as change! To learn more about hobo nickels, check out the mini lesson at the end from Joe Paonessa’s course: Coin Carving 101.

Paul Caridad

Written by Paul Caridad

Bicycled the perimeter of USA, hitch hiked across the States dressed as monk. Nomadic for the next few years. Would love to connect, so check out my links below! email:

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