100859 | CANADA. Bridge silver Love Token.
100859 | CANADA. Bridge silver Love Token. Engraved circa 1870 or later on a 10 Cents (narrow '0' variety) of Victoria (18mm, 1.94 g, 11h).
Double-arch stone bridge over waterway; building to left, trees around, birds flying above / Crown, denomination, and date within wreath. Edge: Reeded.
Cf. KM 3 (for host coin). Engraving: Near Extremely Fine. Lightly toned; Host coin: Near Very Fine.
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.
Showing that the popularity of the love token craze was alive and well not just in the United States, this piece on a Canadian dime features a scene at home with peaceful, tranquil images of their American counterparts, with a rural stone bridge in the countryside evoking the imagery that all of these engraved pieces of art sought to create.