One of the more eccentric, and often the more beautiful, of numismatic items are the love tokens of the 19th and early 20th centuries. One side - or both sides - of the coin (usually the reverse) was ground smooth and engraved with initials as a keepsake of a loved one. The quality of the engraving varies greatly: sometimes home made, sometimes professionally engraved.
One of the more poignant examples of love tokens were those produced by British prisoners about to be transported to the penal colonies in Australia. These tokens were often the last gifts given by the prisoners to their families.
There has been an increase in the interest of love tokens in the past few years and they have become more popular with both Numismatists and collectors of Victorian and Edwardian memorabilia.
Example above courtesy Garth Wright.