Love Token inscribed Elizabeth Bird, 1810. It has been engraved on the obverse of a 1797 British penny.
Love tokens were often commissioned by convicts before they were transported to Australia, as a memento for their loved ones. Itinerant engravers visited the prisons and hulks, finding a ready market for these tokens, which were made to order from smoothed-down coins.
Love tokens are evidence of the British Government's attitude to law and order and treatment of indentured labourers in a strict Government 'Assignment System' which provided cheap labour for the expanding British empire during the 1700s and 1800s.
About one third of migrants who came to Australia between 1830 and 1850 paid their own way. Convicts and settlers who came to Australia found that in comparison to Europe, conditions were very good and with hard work and determination they could prosper.
A love token engraved on the obverse of a 1797 British penny (36 mm). The obverse of the penny been removed and engraved, Elizh Bird / Born 19 Augt / 1810 . The reverse depicts Britannia seated facing left; around incuse, BRITANNIA 1797. The edge is plain.
The original obverse of the penny been removed and engraved, Elizh Bird / Born 19 Augt / 1810 .
Britannia seated facing left; around incuse, BRITANNIA 1797
The edge is plain.
Transfer from National Gallery of Victoria (NGV), 15 Mar 1976
Place & Date Inscribed
Elizh Bird / Born 19 Augt / 1810 BRITANNIA 1797
Type of item
36 mm (Outside Diameter)