Love Token or Convict Token?

Saturday morning, 8.11 and just time to squeeze in a blog between breakfast and work. That way I can’t fall asleep before posting. Even I don’t nap at this time in the morning.

One of the lots I put on yesterday already has a bid. It’s a beautifully engraved coin, but a little difficult to place. It’s engraved in the style of the late 18th and early 19th Century and it’s almost certainly on a 1797 penny, judging from the dimensions. The problem is the subject matter. It has hearts and birds and a funerary urn, which might be bad news for someone’s true love. Or it might be mourning the loss of love as the donor is shipped off to the end of the Earth.

Love tokens often have more in the way of initials than we have here, plus some sentiment.

Convict tokens often have names and dates and other things written on them.

Engraved coin 1797

Engraved coin 1797

There’s even a possibility that the counter stamped wolf’s head which obliterates the crown is some sort of secret Jacobin sign. If it is, it is very secret because internet searches have turned nothing up.

Although some of the work on these tokens is crude, some, like this is very good, to the point of justifying terms like excellent and superb. Some people, with money, could afford to have a professional engrave a token for them, and we also know that forgers, engravers and jewellers all ended up in Australia, so anything is possible.

That’s enough culture before work.  I just wish, as I’ve often said before, that I had realised you could have an academic career linked to coins. There aren’t many jobs I’d rather have. Cake taster at Mr Kipling perhaps . . . the man who does quality control for the afternoon teas at the Ritz . . .

Sorry, I drifted off there.  But

think how different things could have been – a thesis on convict tokens and civil unrest in the 19th Century (including local lads Ned Ludd and Jeremiah Brandreth) followed by a research trip to see the convict tokens in the Australian Museum. All it needs to be perfect would be a superior sort of afternoon tea in an Australian Hotel.

And with that thought I will now trudge off to pack parcels in the windowless back room of  coin shop.


12 thoughts on “Love Token or Convict Token?

    1. quercuscommunity Post author

      Yes, I once bought a modern counterfeit coin (large 50p piece) from a dealer. During the day it slipped out of the [plastic envelope and mingled with my pocket change. Yes, I spent it.

  1. Laurie Graves

    Oh, gosh! Glad you don’t nap in the morning and were able to write this post. For me, this post falls under the category of learning something new. Many thanks! Never even heard of such tokens.


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