A Token of Luck Love Token
Let's tell a luck story... The 19th century was a time of great change and upheaval, with rapid technological advances changing everyday life in ways that some may have never been able to imagine, when the improbably quickly became probable. So it is no surprise that Victorians embraced the notion of luck in the form of rules, rituals and symbols for both good and bad, with horseshoes and lucky stars seen as the predominant symbols seen on jewelry. Imagine our delight when we got our hands on this wonderful love token, beautifully engraved with A Token of Luck! A wonderful self purchase if you need a little luck in your life, or a great gift for someone with a big event in their future that needs some good fortune to ensure a successful outcome.
The host coin is a British Victoria Sixpence, minted sometime between 1887 and 1901. Victoria's reign of 63 years was longer than any other British monarch, until Queen Elizabeth surpassed this mark in 2015. Known as the Victorian era, this was a period of industrial growth and expansion of the British Empire. All British Sixpence coins are sterling silver, and is set in a beautiful 14k YG and diamond bezel with an openable diamond bale. This coin is approximately 19mm in diameter, with total pendant diameter of 23mm.
Love tokens are antique coins that were planed down on one or both sides and embellished with names, personal messages, images and bon mots.
The exact origin of this practice is up for debate: some numismatists trace the history back to 13th century England and the practice of bending coins. When asking a favorite saint for a favor, coins were bent and pledges were made as a physical token of the pledge made. The practice of engraving coins took off during the late 1600’s through the 1800’s, when coins were engraved with everything from primitive to highly skilled techniques in equal measure.
Typically, the minted words and images were removed from the obverse side of the coin - the front of the coin, or what we call heads when we flip a coin as they are commonly decorated with the bust of a prominent person. In some cases the reverse of the coin was used as the blank canvas for the embellishment, which is why you may see a love token of the same year with a different backside. While both sides of the coin are interesting, using the reverse side makes it difficult to determine the year in which the coins were minted.
Love tokens were executed on practically all denominations of coins in many countries. According to the US Mint, the love token phenomenon caused a shortage of dimes during the peak of the craze. Dimes were not a huge amount of money to throw away, thus their popularity. When other coins were used, the choice of coin communicated social and economic status: gold coins and larger denominations of silver coins were a sign of the givers’ wealth, whereas nickels and pennies were seldom used as they were considered common due to their composition – nickel and copper versus silver or gold.