Kirklees Image Archive

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Love Tokens

These love tokens and mementoes have been made by adapting coins and similar objects – usually by polishing one or both sides and then marking the smooth surface in a variety of ways.



They commemorate special times and events in ordinary people’s lives; it is clear that many of them were made by people of rather low social standing.In some instances, particularly where a date is included, it has been possible to trace the very individual who gave or received the token. Some were made by prisoners, marking the date of their release; others were clearly made by sailors embarking on long and hazardous voyages.Certain themes recur time and time again, like the phrase ‘When this you see remember me’. One token in particular is rather special: it has the wordsThe Rose is Red, the Violets blew, Carnations Sweet and so are You, 1729’ but in the middle there is a skeleton in a coffin – clearly a reminder to his loved one that life is short and they should seize the moment! 1729 is also a very early date for one of these. This love token is in the centre of the group at the foot of this webpage.

As these items are often very small it is quite difficult to exhibit them effectively, but now they have been scanned and put on the Kirklees Image Archive so that they can be viewed in much greater detail than would be otherwise possible.
They provide a glimpse into a world which is both distant and yet familiar and personal at one and the same time.