Russian artist Roman Booteen is a modern master in the art of this hobo nickel–a term used to refer to the 18th-century sculptural artwork type of hand-engraving coins. His latest extraordinary bit–branded Gold Bug–has been motivated by Edgar Allan Poe‘s short story, The Gold Bug. It features a fundamental beetle motif with a tailored mechanism which allows its wings to start and close, revealing and concealing its own 22K golden body.
Carved from two Morgan dollar coins from 1921 plus a five dollar gold coin out of 2015, the mechanism may be employed by pushing a “button” on the coin’s leading edge. Inspired by fancy florals, ribbons, and skulls, the Latin script approximately translates to: “The priciest should be something which was sought longer and intensively than others.” Booteen explains that the coin is a “sign of treasure hunting,” that is the theme in Poe’s narrative. The letter “L” on the insect’s body means “50” in Latin, which suggests Booten’s 50th coin carving.
As of posting, the coin has obtained almost 40 bids and is currently valued at $3,100.