Artist Turns Dollar Coin Into Incredible Sculpture With Hidden Movable Mechanics

Mechanical Hobo Nickel by Roman Booteen

The ancient art of the hobo nickel has been around since the 18th century, but Russian artist Roman Booteen keeps the craft alive with his extraordinary coin carving designs. From a gold bug with moving wings to a mechanical beating heart, Booteen is a modern master at turning old coins into extraordinary bas relief sculptures. His latest design is no exception—he’s meticulously modified a U.S. dollar coin (from 1921) to feature a 3D glove and sword with a secret mechanism.

Hand-cut and engraved from the center of the coin, Booteen's incredibly intricate design features a metal armor glove with decorative, hand-engraved details. The glove is holding onto a sword that seems to be plunged into the side of the coin. The piece is already impressive as a still sculpture; however, once the hidden button on the outer edge of the coin is pressed, the metal components come to life. An integrated spring allows the fingers of the glove to move, as if it’s gasping the sword’s handle.

Check out Booteen’s incredible hobo nickel below, and find more from his ever-growing portfolio on Instagram.

Russian artist Roman Booteen transformed an old U.S. dollar coin into this incredibly intricate hobo nickel design.

Sword Hobo Nickel by Roman Booteen

The miniature bas relief sculpture features a hidden button on the side that triggers a secret mechanism.

Mechanical Hobo Nickel by Roman Booteen

Sword Hobo Nickel by Roman Booteen

Watch the metal components come to life!


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Check out more of Booten's extraordinary hand-carved coins.

Roman Booteen: Facebook | Instagram

My Modern Met granted permission to feature photos by Roman Booteen.

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Emma Taggart

Emma Taggart is a Contributing Writer at My Modern Met. Originally from Northern Ireland, she is an artist now based in Berlin. After graduating with a BA in Fashion and Textile Design in 2013, Emma decided to combine her love of art with her passion for writing. Emma has contributed to various art and culture publications, with an aim to promote and share the work of inspiring modern creatives. While she writes every day, she’s also devoted to her own creative outlet—Emma hand-draws illustrations and is currently learning 2D animation.
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