Fittingly, the BBC's been playing a glut of Woody Guthrie this weekend as America celebrates the centenary of its C20th folk hero. In mapping the movement of music from Europe (and beyond), something about early Americana puts me in mind of Hobo Nickels, those wonderful examples of Outsider Art. Altered by itinerant workers, railroad drifters, the disenfranchised and dispossessed, Hobo Nickels usurp the totemic symbols of the nascent US, replacing them with a counter-currency of personalised, painstaking, or puerile meaning. I'd love to make my own but modern coins are too tough for tooling!

• Visit Cabinet Magazine for full photo credits and excellent accompanying article

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