101451 | UNITED STATES. A–B–L gilt appliqué on engraved silver 10 Cents.
101451 | UNITED STATES. A–B–L gilt appliqué on engraved silver 10 Cents (18mm, 2.34 g, 12h).
1875 uncertain mint Seated Liberty dime, with engraving and ornamentation upon reverse: A–B–L monogram gilt appliqué upon patterned engraving. Edge: Reeded, with loop attached at the top.
Cf. KM A92 (for host coin). Engraving: About Uncirculated. Pleasingly toned with a golden nature to the appliqué; Host coin: Fine. $85.
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.