100990 | CANADA. Spider in Spider Web/R–C silver Love Token.
100990 | CANADA. Spider in Spider Web/R–C silver Love Token. Engraved circa 1858 or later on a 10 Cents of Victoria (18mm, 1.94 g, 11h).
Spider in spiderweb to lower left; script "R C" to upper right / VICTORIA DEI GRATIA REGINA / CANADA, laureate head of Victoria left. Edge: Reeded.
Cf. KM 3 (for host coin). Engraving & host coin: Extremely Fine. Lightly toned; loop attached at the top.
A rather spooky design perfect for Halloween, this spider and spider web type features what appears to be a pattern fairly common to love tokens, such as the textured arc bisecting part of the field. After the initial glance, one realizes, however, that this is no ordinary arc, but rather an elegant web complete with the creature which spun it!
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.