After an engagement was announced, Victorian couples were allowed - by social norm - to be more intimate. Acceptable public actions included holding hands, a hand around the waist, a chaste kiss. Visits behind closed doors were permitted, but only until nightfall. These were all measures to ensure the girl’s reputation did not suffer if the engagement was broken. I imagine this coin was commissioned by a prospective groom for his love, who he couldn’t wait to marry, although it would be a wonderful gift for anyone to give to their love to remind them how much they think of them when they are apart, or a mother expecting a child.
This love token is approximately 17mm in diameter and is set in a 14k YG and diamond bezel with 4 rubies and an openable bale.
This love token is Ready to Ship!
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.