Emma with Ice Cream Sundae Love Token
Ice cream's origin dates back as far as the second century BC, although the exact details of how it came to be are up for debate. Historical figures such as Alexander the Great and Nero Claudius Caesar enjoyed flavored snow, and it continued to evolve slowly and oh so expensively into the 19th century. Like chocolate, ice cream was only available to the elite due to production costs, until the invention of the ice house in 1800, after which the technological innovations of the Industrial Revolution allowed Jacob Fussell, a dairy dealer faced with a surplus of cream, to build the first ice cream factory and manufacture ice cream on a large scale.
This adorable Love Token is engraved with Emma underneath an ice cream sundae on an 1872 US Seated Liberty Dime. The ice cream sundae was not created until 1880, and I imagine this Love Token was borne of someone taking their daughter or sweetheart named Emma for their first taste of the new delicacy.
This coin is approximately 17mm in diameter, and in the bezel it is 22.34mm wide and 39.09mm long including the openable bale. It is available in a gold or silver and can be ordered with pave diamonds, emeralds, rubies or sapphires (49 1mm stones). Total carat weight varies by stone, approximate weight as follows:
- Diamonds - 0.25 ct
- Emeralds - 0.88 ct
- Ruby - 1.08 ct
- Sapphire - 1.08 ct
Please allow 4-6 weeks for delivery - each bezel is custom made per coin
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.