101173 | GREAT BRITAIN. J–W silver Love Token on a "Lima" Shilling.
101173 | GREAT BRITAIN. J–W silver Love Token (25mm, 5.21 g, 12h).
1745 or 1746 London mint George II 'Lima' shilling, with engraving upon host coin's reverse: script "J W" between "Augt 23" and "1785;" all within floral scroll border. Edge: Engrailed.
Cf. Spink 3703 (for host coin); KM 583.2 (same). Engraving: Near Extremely Fine; Host Coin: Near Very Fine. Toned and holed at the top. Interesting host coin.
While it is difficult to determine exactly what this token celebrates through its engraving, what makes it extremely compelling is the host coin utilized. Admiral Lord George Anson, during his circumnavigation of the globe from 1740-1744, was alleged to have seized silver from the Spanish while in the Pacific Ocean off the coast of Peru. As a result, the mint in London placed the word "LIMA" below the king's bust on some issues from 1745 and 1746 in order to commemorate this event as well to boast about the victory over rival Spain.
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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