Thursday, July 31, 2008

Love Tokens Hurts Coins

Do you have a love token and want to know its value? Leave a comment/question and I will do my best to find out the price and history for you.

So there are two things wrong with this post title. First "Love Tokens" are not really tokens and second sometimes the raise the value of a coin. A traditional love token is just a coin that has been altered to include initials or a name of someone that is loved. Awww so sweet.

Inspired by James' recent post about his latest find I finally got around to scan a love token I bought from that huge lot. It has some sort of writing on front maybe initials or the word/name Joy but it's hard to tell. The design is simple a border made with two rows of dots in a wave pattern. You also see a second design that was never finished. I suspect this token was incomplete.

The reverse can be altered but in this case it wasn't showing us that this was a Nova Scotia cent from 1861. It is detailed enough to see this one is the Small Rosebud variety which is worth slightly more.

Assuming the coin would have similar obverse grade if it were whole then the coin would be around $5.00. However since it was altered it has no coin value but some artistic and collector value.

Love tokens are part of the numismatic world. They're listed under After Strike Modifications Division in most books. They were very popular in the 18th and 19th centuries and were presented as gifts sometimes in small pouches. The worth of any love token depends on the following;
  1. Quality of the engraving.
  2. Enameling or any other color added to the design.
  3. Amount of the engraving.
  4. History or provenance.
  5. Legible or readable initials, dates, or words.
There are some very ornate and complicated love tokens that would astonish most because of the level of details. This is the reason that the altered coins are one of the few exceptions to the damaged coin rule. Some of these coins can sell for hundreds even thousands.

Here are the stats for this token and the coin itself...
Type/Country: 1 Cent / Nova Scotia
Year: 1861 Small Rosebud (SR)
Mintage: 1,800,000 / Unknown for variety.
Metal: 95% Copper, 4% Tin, and 1% Zinc
Value: $0.50 (Hard to say because it has some damage and it is not fancy)
Obverse Writing: ?oy

These were done mostly by young men as gifts. Today some people still make love tokens but most loved one prefer digital toys or something store bought so a penny with your initials doesn't quite cut it.


Update: To show you an exquisite example of a love token.

Jim P's love token has everything needed to make this one a valuable piece.

Do you have a love token and want to know its value? Leave a comment/question and I will do my best to find out the price and history for you.

41 dollars worth, for Comments/Questions click here.:

James UK said...

I like the whole idea of those... are there any good websites on achieving the same thing today, using modern coins, if I wanted to make one?

Man said...

Yes here are a few but most any jeweler or gun engraver can, whoops the UK probably doesn't have that many gun engravers.

Link 1

Link 2

Link 3

Let me update my post to show a really cool one that one collector got.

James UK said...

That's a really nice token... amazing work.

Thanks for that, and the links, and yes, gun shops are very few and far between now!

We used to have the odd shop that sold quality pens / tankards etc. and they used to do engraving, but again, they are just as scarce now.

Anonymous said...

I have in my possession a 1883 love token with "Mama" engraved on one side and the seated Lady Liberty on the other side. It has a whole at the top as if it were a charm. It is in excellant condition with all lettering clearly visible. Can you give me an idea of this coins value?

Man said...

1883 love token with "Mama" engraved on one side and the seated Lady Liberty on the other side. It has a whole at the top as if it were a charm. It is in excellant condition with all lettering clearly visible.

Unless it is highly detailed or attributed to significant person the hole and the simple carving make it just about $10.00 assuming it is silver.

It has lost all coin value and know it's just silver jewelry.

Anonymous said...

Thankyou for the quick response. Just out of curiosity, how much is the value of Jim P's love token above?

Man said...

how much is the value of Jim P's love token above?

It has never been up for auction as far as I know but $50 to $100 would be right since it is known well in collectors circles. I think he has the history of the coin.

Anonymous said...

I have a love token, very detailed,on a 1877 sitting lady liberty quarter. Initials are fancy and appear to be JRB. How can I find out the history and value and whether or not this was hand detailed or machine? Thank you.

Man said...

love token, very detailed,on a 1877 sitting lady liberty quarter. Initials are fancy and appear to be JRB. How can I find out the history and value and whether or not this was hand detailed or machine?

It was always done by hand.
As for history it depends on how you got it. Is it from your family, did you buy it from someone?
Hunting the history is just following who owned the coin.
You may want to join a forum and post a picture of the coin with the history you know.

Unfortunately most people never find the true origins if your not the original family.

Price average is about $10.00.

Anonymous said...

I have a few very beautiful and detailed gold 2.50 and 1.00 love tokens....what would that value be?

Man said...

gold 2.50 and 1.00 love tokens
They average about $150.00 and $75.00 respectively. Of course with more history of each the better the value.

Anonymous said...

I have an 1809 silver capped bust half dollar
love/memorial token. The bust has lost some detail, otherwise ok. The reverse side has a nice pattern on the perimeter and is marked, In Memory of FATHER with ornate initials in the center and Born, April 6th 1831 Died Nov 17th 1886. The token side is well done with 4 different types of lettering. A silver loop was added at the top to use as a pendent or watch fob. Does it have any value?

Man said...

1809 silver capped bust half dollar
love/memorial token. The bust has lost some detail, otherwise ok. The reverse side has a nice pattern on the perimeter and is marked, In Memory of FATHER with ornate initials in the center and Born, April 6th 1831 Died Nov 17th 1886. The token side is well done with 4 different types of lettering. A silver loop was added at the top to use as a pendent or watch fob.


About $70.00 of course with a little research if you can find the names of the maker and the deceased it may add a little more to the value.

sandy said...

I think I have a 1886 seated liberty love token. There are very fancy letters on the reverse. A large scriptive B with an L and a M intertwined. it also has accent designs around the lettering and the rim of the coin is a completely connected desing circle. Any idea what it is worth?

Man said...

1886 seated liberty love token. There are very fancy letters on the reverse. A large scriptive B with an L and a M intertwined. it also has accent designs around the lettering and the rim of the coin is a completely connected desing circle.

About $15.00

cheryl said...

I have 4 different seated liberty love tokens
1886: slightly faded seated liberty on front on back a picture of a chickw/ a half an egg with grass w/ the letters m.e.c
1887: clearer liberty on front on back a decoratice name (annie)w/ a scroll desigh serounding the name.
1888: clearer liberty on front, on back the name mary with a picture of an lder style shoe showing a dark wear.
1889:clearer liberty on front, on back 2 fancey letters inter twined.

Can you tell me what each would be an estamated value?

Man said...

4 different seated liberty love tokens
1886: slightly faded seated liberty on front on back a picture of a chickw/ a half an egg with grass w/ the letters m.e.c
1887: clearer liberty on front on back a decoratice name (annie)w/ a scroll desigh serounding the name.
1888: clearer liberty on front, on back the name mary with a picture of an lder style shoe showing a dark wear.
1889:clearer liberty on front, on back 2 fancey letters inter twined.

Unfortunately I can not give an accurate value on each without seeing them and knowing the history, but the would average about $30.00 each. More and more they are becoming very common as people are searching for silver to sell. The one with the picture may bring a premium if it is an actual person.(non-religious)

If the initals can be traced to a person and this is from a group or family it may be twice as much.

Hayley said...

My husband has just bought me a Victorian charm bracelet, for which I have been sourcing more charms... I came across some love tokens and thought I would try to find one with my own initials... and walah... I did!!
Pictured here: http://coinedformoney.blogspot.com/2008/07/love-tokens-hurts-coins.html
{described as: 1875 dime ornate}. I found your excellent blog through searching for the history of love tokens!!!

Man said...

I came across some love tokens and thought I would try to find one with my own initials... and walah... I did!!
Pictured here:


I think you showed the wrong picture link.

Or I don't understand what you need.

Anonymous said...

hi i got nyc [mta] subay annarvisity token 1904 1979 and it says people moving people. it says dimond jubely token see at nysubway.org/tech/tokens/
thanks

Man said...

nyc [mta] subay annarvisity token 1904 1979 and it says people moving people. it says dimond jubely token

About $1.50, bad link.

Anonymous said...

I don't know if this is a love token but i guess it fits this catagory Because it has to do with marriage. It's an arras token according to the internet. The token is silver color and about the size of a penny. On the front it says "Recuerdo Matrimonial". It also has a front view of an eagle holding a branch on a rock in what looks like in the backround an ocean. Underneath the rock is a half a wreath. On the back side is a city at the edge of a plaid design. The city is on the top part of the token and the plaid design is on the bottom part. Here is a link of varities of the Eagle arras tokens. The one that I have looks like the "H" box but it's silver colored and penny size. Hope this helps. Thanks in advance.

http://users.pullman.com/fjstevens/tokens/arrastokens/Designs/Design05.htm

Man said...

The one that I have looks like the "H" box but it's silver colored and penny size.

I would classify these as medals but they are still being made. Tokens are used in exchange for something, medals are used to celebrate.

Commonly used in Mexican weddings the silver ones are made of "white metal" and have no real value, usually sold at $0.50 each.

The older ones from the 1800s are gold and have gold value plus 20%.

It is possible that these are silver but it would be worth less than $5.00.

Anonymous said...

i was given an 1876 token as a wedding present it is beautiful and in excellent condition on the reverse side it has an ornate heart on it and lots of beautiful scroll work the heart has nothing engraved on it it is blank i am thinking about putting my wedding date in it how much do you think this could be worth?

Man said...

1876 token as a wedding present it is beautiful and in excellent condition on the reverse side it has an ornate heart on it and lots of beautiful scroll work the heart has nothing engraved on it it is blank i am thinking about putting my wedding date in it how much do you think this could be worth?

Generally about $5.00 with no initials remember these are damaged coins and really have no collectors value unless you find the original owners.

Go ahead put you wedding date and initials of your loved one, it would be great and traditional gift.

Anonymous said...

Hi, I've got a bicentennial wedding token. It's a dull-silvery color and has an eagle holding a bunch of arrows on the front. On the back is in "commemoration of our wedding" with little flowers as the border. Do you know if these are common? And what it is worth?

Man said...

bicentennial wedding token. It's a dull-silvery color and has an eagle holding a bunch of arrows on the front. On the back is in "commemoration of our wedding" with little flowers as the border.

Never heard of this, it sounds like a souvenir people buy for weddings, most likely it has no value above metal.
Metal for these things are usually something cheap. Just a few cents.

Anonymous said...

I have a Wilson Medal. It's more or less about the size of a penny.There is a picture of a man on the front with six stars on either side of his head, the date (1863)is underneath him. On the back it says "Wilson Medal" I have not been able to specifically found out what it is.........
Thank you

Man said...

Wilson Medal. It's more or less about the size of a penny.There is a picture of a man on the front with six stars on either side of his head, the date (1863)is underneath him. On the back it says "Wilson Medal"

Civil War Token about $15.00 on average.

Google... Fuld 396
There are many varieties 19/396 or 112/396 all had small mintage but as a group they are common. These were merchant tokens and often survived in high grades.

Anonymous said...

nice love token ..I purchased the token at a show at Serb hall in Milwaukee Wisconsin for $35

I traded it to "Lord Marcovan"

J.P.

Man said...

nice love token ..I purchased the token at a show at Serb hall in Milwaukee Wisconsin for $35

I traded it to "Lord Marcovan"


Jim still the best love token I've seen I found a few but it looked like most couldn't design simple circles. Haven't been to the forum for a while hope everything is good.

Anonymous said...

Hi, Very interesting site. Thank you for letting us ask questions. I've collected love tokens and gem set coins for a number of years, but recently purchased something, I think, is very unusual. It's a Victoria 3P with what I thought was a gem, but closer inspection reveled it to be a Stanhope. My poor eyesight can't quite make out the images, but it seems to be a series of image circles around a central image circle. I've seen Victoria medals with family members in the same pattern. Have you ever come across or heard of coins set with Stanhopes? I have found nothing in my online searchs. Thank you in advance.

Man said...

Victoria 3P with what I thought was a gem, but closer inspection reveled it to be a Stanhope. My poor eyesight can't quite make out the images, but it seems to be a series of image circles around a central image circle. I've seen Victoria medals with family members in the same pattern. Have you ever come across or heard of coins set with Stanhopes?

Unfortunately I do not know. I also neve heard of a "Stanhope" this is not a term used anywhere for coins or medals.

Try taking a good picture, placing it on a free photo site and link it here.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for the quick reply. The French developed a system of microphotography in the mid-1800's that is still being used today. The images and magnifiers are referred to as Stanhopes. Stanhopes are usually mounted in jewelry, charms, pendants, crosses, etc. They usualy depict travel destinations, religious scenes and can even be risque. Think of a viewmaster image in micro miniature. The coin just looks like a gem set coin, you have to look at a light source to see the images and I would not be able to capture that with a photo. Thank you again. I will keep the site bookmarked, you have some wonderful information here. Cheers!

Man said...

The French developed a system of microphotography in the mid-1800's that is still being used today...

Great to learn. But as far as I know this technique was never used on official medals. This seems more like a private or religious medal.

I know of few sites that deal with medals but you can try here:
http://britisharmymedals.blogspot.com/

Maybe ask them if they can point you in the right direction.

Good luck.

Dr. Math said...

Just posted about a Love Token I recently bought. Do you have any idea of its value?

Man said...

Just posted about a Love Token I recently bought.

About $15.00, you are spot on these without holes or hoops attached go for $12-$20. Depends on how ornate and yours is average.

Joe McDonald SR said...

Thanks for letting us post questions. I have acquired a watch fob, love token, combination. I believe it is very unique. Connecting chain not silver. Top coin Isabella Quarter in F-VF cond. second coin Engraved bothsides, only proof it was a quarter is edges. dated on reverse on banner july, 19,1888, obverse 10 kt gold monogram ASC intertwined. Shows solder marks on bottom of second coin, could have been part of a bracelet, except for watch fob type clasp. Again thanks

Man said...

I have acquired a watch fob, love token, combination. I believe it is very unique. Connecting chain not silver. Top coin Isabella Quarter in F-VF cond. second coin Engraved bothsides, only proof it was a quarter is edges. dated on reverse on banner july, 19,1888, obverse 10 kt gold monogram ASC intertwined. Shows solder marks on bottom of second coin, could have been part of a bracelet, except for watch fob type clasp.

I also think it is unique since most have 1 coin. That said $100-$200 is average, the coins hold no extra value over metal.

Unless there is a makers mark or owner history it should be common. At this point a jeweler or antique expert would be better qualified.

joe mcdonald said...

The fact that the first coin is an 1893 Isabella quarter valued at close to $1000 in this condition, does not raise the value. I can find no Love tokens on equal value coins? Thank you

Man said...

The fact that the first coin is an 1893 Isabella quarter valued at close to $1000 in this condition

The 1893 Isabella quarter has to be graded MS-64 to be worth that much.

Unfortunately most placed into jewelery were shaved, I assumed this coin only has one side still unharmed.

Of course I could be wrong and if this coin is mint state on both sides the yes it is $1,000 but in "Top coin Isabella Quarter in "F-VF cond." as you said it is $100.