The Australian 2016 Convict Love Token One Dollar coins hearken back to the country’s colonial roots, when some of the earliest European settlers were British convicts sentenced to living several years in the fledgling Royal territory. England began sending convicted criminals to Australia in 1788 with the hopes of colonizing the small Pacific continent. Over time, their numbers swelled to over 160,000. Many of the individuals sent abroad committed petty crimes, though some had faced the death penalty.
The sea voyage to Australia was perilous, but subsequent life in Australia was equally grueling, if not more so. While many of the exiled criminals were eligible to return to England after a period of seven to 14 years, the unfortunate reality was that very few could afford the trip back home. Many ultimately stayed and are now the ancestors of modern Australians.
Leaving behind their beloved friends and family was heartbreaking for the exiles, many of whom were just teenagers. Making so-called “love tokens” was a cathartic manifestation of this acute heartache. Most Australian convict love tokens were made from large copper pennies that were smoothed down to create a blank surface for carving loving designs and special messages to loved ones.
Three of these convict love tokens have been recreated by the Royal Australian Mint and issued as special bronze one-dollar coins. Along with the “Forget Me, Not” dollar, the Australian Mint has also released a bronze dollar featuring a gaol bird (jail bird) design and another with the phrase “when this you see, remember me.”
The series is limited to a total mintage of 30,000 coins, with 10,000 allotted for each type.
The obverse of the Forget Me, Not love token features a depiction of a right-facing Queen Elizabeth II. It was Her Majesty’s fourth official coinage portrait, in use since 1998 and created by sculptor-engraver Ian Rank-Broadley. To the Queen’s right are the inscriptions AUSTRALIA and the date, 2016. Her name, QUEEN ELIZABETH II, is inscribed to her left; below the Queen’s bust is the numerical representation of the coin’s denomination, 1 DOLLAR.
Ian Rank-Broadley’s initials IRB are inscribed directly under the truncation of the Queen’s neck.
The reverse of the Forget Me, Not dollar features a heart struck-through by two charming, stick-figure arrows forming a cross. The words FORGET ME, NOT are inscribed in large lettering, with “FORGET” atop the heart and “ME, NOT” below the central reverse device. Leafy garland surrounds the heart on the left, right, and top of the coin. It is unknown who designed the original example of this token, which is housed at the British Museum in London (click here to see what the other side of the original token looks like).
Designer(s): Since 1998, Ian Rank-Broadley’s fourth effigy of Queen Elizabeth has served with distinction as the obverse for coins of the UK and the Commonwealth (View Designer’s Profile).
|Year Of Issue:||2016|
|OBV Designer||Ian Rank-Broadley|
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Love Tokens Currently Available on eBay