101130 | GREAT BRITAIN. Townshend family engraved engraved Half Crown.
101130 | GREAT BRITAIN. "Townshend family of Raynham Hall" engraved copper-nickel Half Crown (32mm, 13.13 g, 12h).
1947-1951 London mint George VI half crown, with engraving upon reverse: coat-of-arms of the Townshends—arms: chevron ermine between three escallops; crest: stag statant proper, attired and unguled; motto: HÆC GENERI INCREMENTI FIDES (faith obtained these honors for our race). Edge: Reeded.
Cf. Spink 4101/4106 (for host coin); KM 866/879 (same). Engraving: Choice Extremely Fine. A few minor marks near the rim; Host coin: Very Fine. Lightly toned. A great artistic relic from a prominent British family.
The Townshends are an enobled family from Norfolk, where their marquisate was created in 1787 under George III—the first holder of the peerage being George Townshend. The reverse of this George VI half crown displays a rather intricate rendition of the familial coat-of-arms and, given the dating of the host coin, would point toward a creation in the years following World War II. During this time, the title was held by another George—the 7th Marquess Townshend. He notably served as chairman of Anglia Television for nearly three decades, from 1958–1986, and has the distinction of having held his peerage longer than any other British noble in history, serving from 17 November 1921 until his death on 23 April 2010—a staggering 88 years, 157 days.
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.