LOVE TOKENS

 

The inscribed examples are unmistakably love tokens but we should still appreciate the skill and artwork involved. 

 

The “Bender” love tokens are perhaps not so obvious.  It is thought that a young man would prove his love to his young lady by physically bending a coin in front on her.  Often this was done on sixpences but occasionally we see it on gold coins and copper coins.  The theory is that if the young man gives the coin to the young lady and she keeps (treasures) it, then he’s a happy soul (and hopefully so is she).  If she takes it and throws it away into the field, then maybe it’s time to move on to pastures new!  The old Nursery Rhyme about the man finding a “crooked sixpence” was maybe based on finding a discarded bender love token?

 

The “Gem-Insert” later Victorian types epitomise the sentimental period from which they emanate.

 

 

 

Charles II

 

WCA-5418:  1683 Charles II Silver Half Crown – Love Token.  Hand engraved on the obverse with a heart and the initials, “E.L.”.  A nice, early Love Token.  £85

 

 

 

James II

 

WCA-5393:  1687 James II Full Silver Crown – Birthing Love Token.  TERTIO edge.  “G W 1798”.  Once again, as in WCA-5230, a 100+ year old coin was chosen for the engraving.  £239

 

 

 

William & Mary

 

WCA-5956: 1689 William & Mary Silver Half Crown – Momento Mori.  Hand engraved on the obverse, “S.S. 1802” and on the reverse, “S.S.” within a pair of funerary urns.  This, and several other engraved coins, would have been given out to relatives and guests of S.S. upon his or her funeral in 1802.  An interesting insight into the social practices of over 200 years ago.  £95

 

 

 

William III

 

WCA-5554:  William III Silver Half Crown – Love Token.  Most likely a death token or Momento Mori.  Hand engraved in early Victorian script, “SAMUEL RICKMAN” and “HELLINGLY PARK”.  Unusual.  £49

 

WCA-6044:  1696 William III Full Silver Crown – Birthing Token.  Hand engraved, “JANE AVERN, BORN SEP 19, 1806”.  The obverse has been skilfully engraved to enhance William’s features.  The reverse has the engraving as well as a combination brooch / pendant device.  It was the tradition at this period in time to bestow a gift of silver in the form of a coin upon a newly born child.  Jane Avern.  Birth: 19 September 1806 in EDGBASTON, WARWICK, ENGLAND.  Christening: 9 November 1806.  Father: Edw. Avern, Mother: Jane.  Source: England Births and Christenings, 1538-1975.  It is interesting to note that the girl's father, Edward Avern, was an English medallist of the beginning of the nineteenth century. He exhibited several medals at the royal academy.  Source: http://www.historicalartmedals.com   The British Museum page records Edward Avern as having designed a medal dated 1824, but unfortunately the link appears to be not working.  I’ve still copied it in case it works again in the future: http://www.britishmuseum.org/research/publications/online_research_catalogues/search_object_details.aspx?objectid=951792&partid=1&output=Terms/!!/OR/!!/12979/!//!/fisherman/fishing/!//!!//!!!/&orig=/research/online_research_catalogues/russian_icons/catalogue_of_russian_icons/advanced_search.aspx&currentPage=2&numpages=10.  There is a rather interesting display on such things in the Victoria & Albert Museum, London.  This would have been presented to the baby by a close relative or friend but in this case, based on the most unusual obverse decoration and the father’s profession, I suspect the his hand.  Many thanks to Guy de la Bodoyere for his research.  £145

 

 

 

George II

 

WG-4983:  1732 George II Farthing – Love Token.  A “Bender” love token.  Quite unusual to see these on such a low denomination coin.  Love on a budget!  £17

 

 

 

George III

 

WG-5731:  1820 George III Silver Crown – Birthing Token.  Hand engraved, “ANN WILLIAMS.  THE GIFT OF MY GRANDMOTHER.  MAR 30th 1832”.  It was the tradition at this period in time to bestow a gift of silver in the form of a coin upon a newly born child.  There is a rather interesting display on such things in the Victoria & Albert Museum, London.  With an exact date and a name, this should prove relatively easy to research.  Sold with an old auction write-up.  £175

 

WG-5960:  1806 George III Copper Halfpenny – USA (New York) Interest.  A well used (and travelled?) George III copper halfpenny with a crude hand engraved inscription reading, “MY HOME NEW YORK WILL ALWAYS BE”.  In addition, the owner has added an unusual contrasting brass loop in order for this to be worn as a pendant.  Could this have been in the pocket of one of the early English people migrating to the US?  £99

 

 

 

George IV

 

WG-5483:  1821 George IV Full Silver Crown – Love Token.  SECVNDO edge, very nice grade.  Hand engraved “BEATRICE” on the obverse.  This is most likely a Birthing token and would have been engraved in 1821 to commemorate the birth of Beatrice.  It was the tradition at this period in time to bestow a gift of silver in the form of a coin upon a newly born child.  There is a rather interesting display on such things in the Victoria & Albert Museum, London.  An interesting insight into English Georgian customs.  £98

 

 

 

Queen Victoria

 

WV-4986:  1890’s Queen Victoria Silver 3d – Love Token.  Hand engraved “M.M.B.” and pierced for use as jewellery.  £9

 

WV-5642:  1862 Queen Victoria Penny – MRS COLE – Suffragette Movement!!  A standard 1862 bronze penny with the obverse image of Queen Victoria modified to represent Mrs Cole, complete with bonnet, glasses etc.  The legend, “MRS COLE” has been engraved on the obverse before the bust.  Mrs Cole was a leading character in the play, “HOW THE VOTE WAS WON” by Cicely Hamilton in 1909 this this piece has THEATRE connections too.  A very important piece of British social history that deserves to be in a museum.  £295