100945 | CHINA. Skull and Crossbones engraved Token.
100945 | CHINA. Skull and Crossbones engraved Token. A modern manufacture engraved on a 7.2 Candareens (10 Cents) of Kwangtung (Guǎngdōng) Province from the Kwang-hsu (Guāngxù) Emperor (1890-1908) (19mm, 2.45 g, 12h).
Skull and crossbones / KWANG–TUNG PROVINCE / 7.2 CANDAREENS, coiled facing imperial dragon. Edge: Reeded.
Cf. KM (Y) 200 (for host coin). Engraving: Choice Extremely Fine; Host Coin: Fine; holed with ring attached.
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.
Though a modern work of art likely done within the past few years, this piece does present some aspects not often encountered with engraved coins, namely the use of the skull and crossbones motif and the host being a Chinese coin—something seemingly never found.