Featured Can you decipher this unusual love token and the meaning?

Discussion in 'Coin Chat' started by kazuma78, Aug 4, 2021.

  1. kazuma78

    kazuma78 Supporter! Supporter

    I bought a very very large collection of world coins and this piece was in there. It's pretty darn cool but I'm having a difficult time deciphering the meaning of the lettering before and after the date. If you have any thoughts or opinions on the meaning, I'd love to hear input. It was engraved on a late 1700s silver piece from Denmark I believe. The current weight is 9.17 grams, but I imagine it weighed somewhat more before the wear and filing, maybe in the 12 gram range? Its about the diameter of a US half dollar. Let me know your thoughts!
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  3. Matthew Kruse

    Matthew Kruse Young Numismatist

    Very beautiful coin, it looks proof-like almost.

    I don’t see how the dates or names have any relation though. My first thought was a token to remember an anniversary of some sort, except they are different dates.

    Good luck on your search! Maybe try looking on ancestry websites with the names on the coin.
  4. ddddd

    ddddd Member

    That's cool but I'm equally stumped.

    @lordmarcovan any ideas?
  5. kazuma78

    kazuma78 Supporter! Supporter

    Unfortunately it was polished somewhere along the way, but historically its still a pretty neat piece, whatever the backstory may be.
    Matthew Kruse likes this.
  6. Matthew Kruse

    Matthew Kruse Young Numismatist

    Yeah, I noticed the scratches. You don’t make a love token on a dirty coin, haha! :rolleyes::wacky:
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  7. lordmarcovan

    lordmarcovan Eclectic & Eccentric Moderator

    John Topliff
    Died 9th December 1819, aged 55

    E. Nicholson
    Died 20th January 1831, aged 30

    Host coin appears to be Danish, though the deceased have apparently English names. That’s not necessarily unusual, though, as a variety of different pieces got used as hosts for love tokens- or, in this case, an apparent mourning token- sometimes in contexts far removed from the host coin’s origin.

    Interesting piece, in that it contains the names of two decedents who died in different years.

    Worthy of research.
  8. lordmarcovan

    lordmarcovan Eclectic & Eccentric Moderator

    Exactly. The notion of cleaning or polishing being a detracting factor goes out the window with love tokens.

    It’s the norm. So a piece having been cleaned or polished really makes little difference to the value, unless it was really harshly, abrasively cleaned, or scrubbed to the point of losing details.
  9. ddddd

    ddddd Member

    I knew we could count on your love token knowledge LordM!
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  10. lordmarcovan

    lordmarcovan Eclectic & Eccentric Moderator

    Christian VII was King of Denmark-Norway from 1766-1808, so there’s the date range on your host coin. I haven’t tried to look up the type yet. Diameter? Weight? (Edit- sorry- I see you provided those.)

    Obviously the engraving post-dates January 1831, but not by very much, I’d say.
    Matthew Kruse likes this.
  11. kazuma78

    kazuma78 Supporter! Supporter

    Thanks for the input! It's interesting that someone took the time to engrave the dates of death for 2 separate people, over a long period of time as you say. I wonder what it was created for, if anything other than to remember 2 friends or family members.

    I couldn't find the host coin type for sure and did some digging through ngc's world coin finder, acsearch, and Google. It seems they sporadically issued various denominations throughout that date range and I couldn't ID the coin for sure.
  12. lordmarcovan

    lordmarcovan Eclectic & Eccentric Moderator

    That seems the most likely scenario to me. A memorial token. Since the two deaths are so far apart in time, family remembrance seems most likely to me. But the surnames are different. Maybe someone did memorialize two friends.
    Mammothtooth likes this.
  13. DEA

    DEA Well-Known Member

    Neat find! All conjecture . . . .

    It looks like this is your coin - https://en.numista.com/catalogue/pieces100310.html - a Norwegian coin. Christian VII - king of Denmark, Norway, Vandals and Goths! These coins were minted from 1795 to 1803.

    I have a gut feeling it means something like "John Topliff born 9 Dec 1819, died at age 55." Maybe "E. Nicholson, born 20 Jan 1831, died at age 30" All that conjecture could date the coin engraving to about 1874 (1819+55). Hmmm . . . maybe not. Very interesting.
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  14. lordmarcovan

    lordmarcovan Eclectic & Eccentric Moderator

    You may be getting warm in the host coin type. However, there is no “born” there. “Ob’t” - obit - means died. Same Latin word we get “obituary” from.

    And “æt” is an abbreviation of the Latin word for “aged”. I’m not sure of the full word- maybe ætatis? Some of our Latin-savvy Ancient Coin Forum brethren would probably know.

    If you’re a taphophile (old cemetery enthusiast) as I am, you’ll have seen these abbreviations on old tombstones.
    ddddd, Muzyck, TheFinn and 2 others like this.
  15. DEA

    DEA Well-Known Member

    Yeah, I rescind my conjecture. You're explanation seems more logical and accurate. Yes, aetatis - of or at the age of - per a google search. How god-awful interesting. What would these two folks have in common - two people who died ten years apart? This sounds like a genealogy project!

    I hope this isn't perceived as thread hijacking, but I've a similar story. I got this coin or token from a box of coins from all over. Notice the engraving: "A parting gift / from Sutherland" in that fancy script or cursive. I recall searching for Sutherland but didn't find anything definitive.

    ddddd, NOS and lordmarcovan like this.
  16. lordmarcovan

    lordmarcovan Eclectic & Eccentric Moderator

    Another neat love token. I have an interesting one on a Canadian token as well, which can be traced to a specific individual, as I recall. I need to photograph and post that piece. It’s partially ID-ed but still needs some research.
  17. lordmarcovan

    lordmarcovan Eclectic & Eccentric Moderator

    That right there is the burning question. One begins to see why I love tokens so much, eh? They can be really fascinating.
    DEA likes this.
  18. There is a love token society on Facebook that could help identify the coin.
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  19. Stevearino

    Stevearino Supporter! Supporter

    A 1/3 Speciedaler was minted under Christian IV from 1793 to 1803. Mint weight was 9.63 gr. Diameter was 30 mm. So this is a likely candidate. The 1/2 Speciedaler has an entirely different obverse (no portrait of the king).

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  20. ffrickey

    ffrickey Junior Member

    Yes, what you've got appears to be a Norwegian 1/3 specie daler from 1795-1800, officially 9.63 g. Nice piece!
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  21. Mountain Man

    Mountain Man Supporter! Supporter

    Death instead of a love token. Interesting.
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