The 2016 Convict Love Token One Dollar coin series is an Australian commemorative program rooted in the history of Australia’s founding as a nation. Between 1788 and 1868, England sent more than 160,000 criminals, convicted of an array of crimes, to colonize the new, rugged territory. The long ocean voyage to Australia and the difficult life that awaited the convicts were seen by many as sentences harsher than death. Until the gold rush of 1851 brought waves of new settlers, Australia was a land sparsely populated, hardly hospitable, and far from the posh conveniences of Europe.
These 18th-century unfortunates, many merely small-time criminals, were sentenced to several years developing the new colony. While many were technically eligible to return to England after a period of seven to 14 years, most stayed because they could not pay for their return.
While the criminal castaways faced a cruel life in the new Pacific colony, they further suffered the heartbreak of leaving behind their families and friends. Many of the exiles craftily fashioned coinage, particularly large copper pennies, into so-called “love tokens,” or mementos dedicated to their loved ones. Love tokens are coins that have been planed down on one or both sides and used to engrave the names or initials of loved ones, and many were inscribed with loving messages and phrases. Made by many of the individuals who were exiled to Australia, love tokens are popular and valuable collectibles today.
Three examples of these so-called convict love tokens have been reimagined by the Royal Australian Mint and offered as collectible bronze coins today. Each of the bronze one-dollar coins is antiqued by hand. The series is limited to a total mintage of 30,000 coins, with 10,000 allotted for each type.
The obverse of the When This You See, Remember Me love token depicts the standard right-facing image of Queen Elizabeth II as designed by sculptor Ian Rank-Broadley. It was the fourth official coinage portrait of the Queen and was used from 1998 to 2015 when it was replaced by Jody Clark’s version of Her Majesty’s portrait in 2015.
Inscribed to the right of the queen are AUSTRALIA and the date, 2016. Her name, QUEEN ELIZABETH II, is found to her left; below is the denomination, represented as 1 DOLLAR.
Ian Rank-Broadley’s initials IRB are inscribed directly under the truncation of the Queen’s neck.
The reverse of the dollar coin bears the symbolic appearance of a planed-down 18th-century copper penny, with the words “WHEN THIS YOU SEE REMEMBER ME” wrapped around the edge of the reverse and the continuation of the phrase, “AND BERE ME IN YOUR MIND”, inscribed across four horizontal lines in the center. The lettering is crafted in the original style of the stippling dots that the love token’s young creator, 14-year-old John Howe, originally used.
The original piece, which Howe designed as a message to his brother William, is housed in Powerhouse Museum in Sydney, Australia.
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|
|REV Designer||John Howe|
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Love Tokens Currently Available on eBay