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Sunday, 13 February 2011

What is a love token?

Over the years Metal Detectorists have found thousands of worn silver coins. However there is a big difference between a worn corn and a love token.

In the 18th and 19th centuries coins were often used as love tokens. They were handmade by suitors who gave them to their sweethearts. Poorer working class young men made their tokens from copper coins. The wealthy young man could use a silver or even a gold coin.

They were made simply and highly decorated. The coin would be rubbed down on both sides (a great task in itself), until the monarch's head and other details of design were removed. The young man then engraved or stamped his own design and message onto the blank disc he had created. Considering the fact that most of the men who created these love tokens were unskilled and most-often illiterate, some of the results are quite remarkable. Decorations vary greatly. The symbols that were included used romance and love as their theme, so there were many hearts, hearts and arrows, Cupid's bow and arrow, flowers, doves, lovers' knots were often included, as were the initials of the young man or his sweethearts. Some also had patterns and and were very decorative - others were more crude.

Take then back your foolish token,
Since it cannot change like you;
When I feel my heart is broken,
Shall it still proclaim you true?
When you gave it, you besought me
Never from that pledge to part:
If I am what then you thought me,
You have spurned an honest heart!

The fact that thousands of these are found metal detecting makes you wonder whether they were delibarately discarded after a 'lovers tiff' or whether they were lost when the lovers were apart. It certainly makes me think when I find one??

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