100893 | UNITED STATES. S–W silver Love Token.
100893 | UNITED STATES. S–W silver Love Token. Engraved circa 1838-1860 or later on a Seated Liberty Dime (18mm 2.00 g, 5h).
Highly ornate S–W monogram, with the "S" containing leaves and flowers entwined in its design / UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, denomination within wreath. Edge: Reeded.
Cf. KM 63.1, 63.2 or A63.2 (for host coin). Engraving: Choice Extremely Fine. Deeply toned with some underlying luster; Host coin: 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.
A two-lettered monogram type isn't all that uncommon in the corpus of love token designs, but the artist of this creation chose to embellish the letters more than that which is usually encountered, especially in the ornate rendition of the "S," which contains intricate leaves and flowers. An overall charming piece for someone whose initials are S–W or W–S.
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