Michigan man discovers mysterious ‘Extraterrestrial’ coin in roll of quarters

This week, a peculiar quarter that was discovered by a Michigan man (Reddit user albanesegummies327) has gained attention online.

Jordan published a photo of his find on Reddit’s r/coins forum, where it attracted attention due to what appears to be an extraterrestrial in its design.

In an interview with Newsweek, Jordan stated: “I was inspecting a large bag of quarter rolls, opening them one by one to look for older pieces with high silver content. In one of the rolls, I was immediately startled by an odd coin featuring the bust of an extraterrestrial. It stood out in stark contrast to the bust of Washington present on the other coins.”

The alien face included the word “Liberty” printed at the top and the year 1937 printed at the bottom.

Although it is not yet clear where the coin came from, many believe that it is “hobo coin”.

The hobo nickel (or hobo coin) is a sculptural art form involving the creative modification of small-denomination coins, essentially resulting in miniature bas reliefs. The US nickel coin was favored because of its size, thickness and relative softness. However, 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 “hobo nickel.”

There were thought to be over 200,000 classic hobo coins produced between 1913 and 1980 – each with a unique piece of artwork created by the homeless.

However, the creator of this specific example’s identity is still unknown. And it is not even entirely clear whether this coin is really “hobo coin”.

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4 Comments

  1. I know absolutely nothing about coins so forgive me if this is a silly question, would the year on a hobo coin be the same year it was created?

    Because if so that makes this even more interesting as that depiction of a big headed alien was more common post Roswell.

    During the first half of the 20th century aliens were commonly depicted as having tentacles or being very insectoid looking.

    • I collected coins when I was a kid. My grandfather had several hobo nickels in his own collection. I still think they’re uber-cool.

      According to what I’ve read, most people who create hobo coins leave the original date in place or remove it as part of their alterations. This coin has the date and word LIBERTY in the exact places they appear on a standard Indian Head nickel. That means it’s almost a dead cert that the artist took a genuine 1937 nickel (one of the most common dates) and did their artwork much later.

      Compare two side-by-side searches, one for images of Indian Head nickels and one for hobo nickels, to see the relationships.

  2. I’ve been collecting coins for 50+ years. The picture is 99.999% certain to be a hobo nickel. The position of the date and the word LIBERTY are an exact match for a standard Indian Head nickel, a/k/a/ buffalo nickel. Also 1937 is one of the most common dates for that coin and loads of ’em were tooled with different images.

    Just search for “1937 nickel images” and “hobo nickel images”. Uber-cool artwork but nothing mysterious.

    • I know absolutely nothing about coins so forgive me if this is a silly question, would the year on a hobo coin be the same year it was created?

      Because if so that makes this even more interesting as that depiction of a big headed alien was more common post Roswell.

      During the first half of the 20th century aliens were commonly depicted as having tentacles or being very insectoid looking.

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