100951 | UNITED STATES. Horseshoe/Grandma silver Love Token.
100951 | UNITED STATES. Horseshoe/Grandma silver Love Token. Engraved on an 1841 Seated Liberty Dime (18mm, 1.81 g, 6h).
Horseshoe inscribed "GRANDMA;" all set upon stippled background / Liberty seated right, head left, holding Phrygian cap on pole and resting hand upon union shield; 13 stars around. Edge: Reeded.
Cf. KM 63.2 (for host coin). Engraving: Choice Extremely Fine. Deeply toned with some underlying luster; Host Coin: Good.
Generally viewed as a symbol of good luck, the horseshoe, when placed above one's door, offers good fortune unto the entire household. This luck, according to some superstitions, only applies when the horseshoe is facing with ends pointing up, as the good luck is captured for the house. According to other superstitions, however, the shoe must be placed with ends pointing downward so that the good fortune will flow to all who enter the home. For the sake of the grandma in question on this love token, one can only hope it was the latter interpretation.
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.
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