102258 | UNITED STATES. Prairie Youths Kissing/"M.S.S. / E.J.S." Love Token.
102258 | UNITED STATES. Prairie Youths Kissing/"M.S.S. / E.J.S." Love Token. Engraved on an uncertain host (31mm, 9.79 g, 8h).
Two youths, one in a brimmed hat, the other in a bonnet, kissing among a field of grain / "M.S.S. / E.J.S." engraved in script; all within elaborate border. Edge: Reeded.
Engraving: About Uncirculated, lightly toned. The host coin, though half dollar sized, is not silver, and overall engraving style and working of the planchet appears to be more modern than most, pointing toward an attribution possibly toward the middle third of the 20th century. Despite the host remaining unknown, the piece overall has a strong Americana/folk art feel, pointing much more to American manufacture rather than anywhere else.
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.
Upload: 16 January 2023.
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