When Art & Commerce Collide

Indian Head & Buffalo Nickel Cufflinks by James Earle Frasier (LEO Design)

American sculptor James Earle Frasier (1876-1953) was known for his handsome sculpture—including Native American themes and wild animals of the West.  He studied at the Art Institute of Chicago as well as the École des Beaux-Arts in Paris.  He was hired to re-design the Nickel, part of an on-going effort to "beautify" American currency.  Despite objections from coin-operated vending machine owners (who thought the coin was too easy to imitate with "slugs"), Frasier's "Indian Head" or "Buffalo Nickel" was minted starting in 1913.  Alas, the design proved difficult to "strike" crisply—and the bas relief design was prone to excessive wear from circulation.  In 1938, after the 25 year circulation requirement was met, the coin was replaced by the Jefferson nickel.

The cufflinks above are crafted from a real vintage pair of Frasier's nickels.  They are mounted with sterling silver fittings and can be found in our on-line store by clicking on the photo above.


LEO Design's Greenwich Village store is now permanently closed.  While we contemplate our next shop location, please visit our on-line store which continues to operate  (www.LEOdesignNYC.com).

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