Love tokens, otherwise known as “engraved coins” are for some collectors, hidden gems of numismatic history. We thought we’d share some of their history and heartwarming context with you as we near Valentine’s Day.
The term ‘Love Token’ can technically be applied to any personally engraved keepsake, from buttons to carved wood, but altered coins make up the majority of these, as their intrinsic value and metallic nature would ensure the object’s longevity.
There are different opinions on where and when love tokens originated. Some collectors believe that love tokens originated in medieval French treizains (13 coins given during marriage ceremonies) or Austria Germany in the early 1700s. However, the most popular belief is that the trend picked up in mid-late 1800s in Great Britain, with some coming from Italy and France.
The Victorian versions were generally machine-smoothed coins that had an engraving added to one side in the form of stylized initials of a love interest and gifted to the person as a permanent keepsake. We see other variations of engraving to mark key moments in a person’s life, but the majority involve a timeless gift for one’s object of affection.
One thing is certain; each coin is intimately linked to the life of its original owner. You don’t hear about love tokens being made on the same scale today, but there’s no reason not to. It’s a wonderful tradition steeped in history.
The fact about love tokens is that, quite like error coins, no one piece is alike. Each coin you touch has at some point represented a strong bond between two people. These little pieces of amorous history still seem to hold the magic of an era gone-by and capture a moment in time that still survives to today.
Finding the perfect piece that resonates with you is just as much fun as having one made from scratch, whether for love or any other momentous life change, but it’s February, and we’re going with love all the way.