Thursday, September 23, 2010

Love Tokens

A friend of mine was so kind as to send me a little gift several weeks ago, a kind of present I didn't even know existed! It was a bracelet of love tokens, very old, and very beautiful. The bracelet belonged to my friend's late grandmother, and with it was an old newspaper clipping, most of which I've replicated here:

Written by Susan Cherry:

There's an unusual group of collectibles that are particularly appropriate to Valentine's Day. Technically, they're mutilated coins, but collectors call them love tokens.

These are coins that have had their surfaces smoothed down and re-engraved with initials, designs and messages of affection. Once a coin has been made into a love token, it no longer has any numismatic value, but the token created in the process is a collectible in its own right.

Indeed, collectors of love tokens have formed a society whose members met each year at the American Numismatic Association's convention.

Love tokens are believed to have originated in England around the 1830s, and became popular in America about the time of the Civil War. The custom fell out of fashion in the 1920s.

While virtually all denominations of U.S. coins, including gold pieces, were made into love tokens, the Seated Liberty dime was used most frequently.

The level of artistry on the tokens ranged from simple engravings to highly intricate designs created by skilled craftsmen. There are, for example, love tokens made of gold pieces that have been decored with elaborate scroll work and colored with enamel and jewels.

The price of a love token depends on the quality and intricacy of the engraving, and the size and metal of the original coin. A love token made from a $20 gold piece, for example, would naturally be more expensie than one made from a 10-cent pice.

A guide of love tokens, complete with historical background and pricing information, is called The Standard Guide to Love Tokens by Dr. Sol Taylor. 

Buy your own "modern" love tokens at Amazon! 
It's a great gift idea.


  1. Oh, they look so lovely on your wrist! Wonderful, thank you!

  2. What a neat gift. I'd never heard of those before.

  3. Hmm..that is interesting! I guess since back then they may not have given earrings and necklaces as freely - these love tokens were popular. :)

    ~Liz B

  4. Thanks so much for returning a comment on my blog. That website does look like something interesting, but a part of me really does want to get the "college experience." Of course, that all depends on whether or not I get a free ride anywhere - which is my goal.

    However, all this thought really gets me thinking if I DO in fact know what I want to do with my life. I might be back at stage one. Oh, decisions, decisions....

  5. I know, it's so hard and confusing! I have a niggling wish to get the college experience too, but then of course there's all of the money involved. Not to mention brainwashing professors.

    All in all, I think I'm making the only choice I can. Working in my family's business and tight on finances has made it impracticable to go to a brick-and-mortar college.

    You may still be able to go, though, and still take advantage of CLEP! Test out of one or two years, then you will have that much less to pay for once you get to the actual college.

    Best wishes!

  6. lovely bracelet!

  7. This bracelet is amazing! I had no idea this was done. How incredibly romantic!!! How do I get one of these???

  8. Thank you everyone for the comments! Dona and Shelly, here is a link to eBay where you might be able to find something you like :)

  9. Thank you for the link, Abby!!... and *ssshhhh*... don't tell Shelly.. :)


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