100954 | UNITED STATES. "When the Robins Nest Again" silver Love Token.
100954 | UNITED STATES. "When the Robins Nest Again" silver Love Token. Engraved on a Seated Liberty Dime from Carson City (18mm, 2.17 g, 8h).
WHEN THE ROBINS NEST AGAIN, robin flying left, with foliage in beak; "J. W. P." in script above, decorative scroll below / ONE / DIME within wreath. Edge: Reeded.
Cf. KM 92 & A92 (for host coin). Engraving & host coin: Choice Very Fine. Lightly toned; holed and plugged.
Published in 1883, "When the Robins Nest Again" is a waltz written by Frank Howard and dedicated to Miss Carrie Swain. The touching song recounts the romantic story of a woman wishing for the promised return of her beloved sailor who vows to be with her once more 'when the robins nest again.' Despite having the nightmare that his ship is wrecked at sea, she remembers his vow of returning and eagerly awaits the springtime and their anticipated reunion.
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.