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Eclectic Numismatic Treasure (Love Tokens and Engraved Coins)

History of Altered Coin Arts

Coins have been carried for centuries as talismans of good luck and of course having coins in a pocket also indicates some form of good fortune. At some point more meaning was given to these special coins by means of bending, carving, and engraving. Coin alterations distinguished a coin from other coins in the pocket. The first forms of alterations were bent coins. In England a coin twice bent is now referred to as a bender. However, a simple bend did not really convey a meaning so these altered coins later evolved into box coins and engraved coins beginning in the 1600's. Box coins like lockets housed hidden pictures and messages while engraved coins were an outward expression of a feeling, emotion, sentiment, or an announcement of a birth, death, or marriage. In the United States engraved coins surfaces during the Civil War as a means of identification for soldiers and then became a jewelry fad in the 1870s through the turn of the century. In the United States these coin engravings have come to be known as love tokens.

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