100902 | CANADA. Bird and Stump/I–H–A silver Love Token.
100902 | CANADA. Bird and Stump/I–H–A silver Love Token. Engraved circa 1858 or later on a 10 Cents of Victoria (18mm, 1.92 g, 12h).
Tree stump with rectangular sign affixed and inscribed "I H A;" bird sitting left upon sign; other birds flying at a distance / VICTORIA DEI GRATIA REGINA / CANADA, laureate head of Victoria left. Edge: Reeded.
Cf. KM 3 (for host coin). Engraving & host coin: Near Extremely Fine. Four loops added at the sides.
The numerous loops attached to this example point directly at usage in a bracelet or even necklace, with numerous other similar pieces being linked to it for the recipient. An interesting countryside feel with the initials set upon a wooden sign.
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.