100865 | UNCERTAIN. B–W–D/P–J silver Love Token.
100865 | UNCERTAIN. B–W–D/P–J silver Love Token. Engraved 1893 possibly on a Seated Liberty or Barber Quarter (24mm, 4.06 g, 12h).
"B. W. D." within clam shell lozenge; trefoil pattern in each angle; all within decorative border / Ornately script "P J" above 1893; all within serrated and scalloped border. Edge: Reeded.
Engraving & host coin: Choice About Uncirculated. Attractively toned, with some shimmering iridescence and brilliant luster; slightly enameled in spots.
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.
On account of its two-sided nature, knowing the exact type for the host coin is difficult, though the engraving itself most likely dates to 1893 given the presence of that year on one side. An intricate and eclectic type, featuring numerous patterns and even some enameling for added character and eye appeal.