100834 | GREAT BRITAIN. Christmas Day silver Love Token.
100834 | GREAT BRITAIN. Christmas Day silver Love Token. Engraved 1895 on a Jubilee head Victorian 6 Pence (19mm, 2.55 g, 12h).
"In / Remembrance of / Christmas Day / 1895" in four lines, the first two in script, the second two in block / VICTORIA DEI GRATIA BRITT: REGINA F: D:, crowned, veiled, and draped bust left. Edge: Reeded.
Cf. SCBC 3929 (for host coin); cf. KM 760 (same). Engraving & host coin: Choice Very Fine. Lightly toned and holed at the top.
Being borrowed from the early 18th century practice in Great Britain, and being related to even earlier forms of engraving on European coinage, "love tokens" were an extremely popular form of sentimental art that saw their high point in the United States in the mid-to-late-19th century, whereby coinage was smoothed down on one or both sides, and some form of initials, a message, and/or imagery was engraved so that it may be presented to a loved one. The most commonly encountered 'canvas' in the United States was the dime, and usually one from the Seated Liberty series. At their height, the U.S. Mint blamed an alleged shortage of dimes—a staple of most late-19th century transactions—on this craze. Rising again in the early-mid 20th century during the depths of despair that were the world wars, this form of coin art, usually referred to in this context as "trench art," would see another revival, offering soldiers a brief chance at escapism through sentimental creativity.
The exact meaning or occasion for some love tokens can certainly be a mystery, while for others—such as this piece—it can be rather obvious. Presented on Christmas in 1895, this charming specimen evokes images of a yuletide celebration in Victorian England, with the host coin featuring the jubilee bust of the queen from her recent golden jubilee in 1887.
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