In a tribute to the acts of love and early coin-making feats of our convict ancestors, these specially minted coins honour love tokens.
Many transported convicts made these as a final heartfelt link between them and their loved ones, and they often served as treasured mementos.
From 1788 to 1868, many British convicts were sentenced to transportation to Australia. While the sentences were normally for seven or fourteen years, returning home after this time was often impossible.
Upon being transported, the convicts farewelled their familiar homes and their loved ones, causing deep anguish and loss which could never be undone. Love tokens came to be a way to maintain a sentimental bond between convict and loved one, and became cherished souvenirs for those people left behind.
When convicts were being held in British prisons or hulks before transportation, they would wear down large, low denomination coins (typically the cartwheel penny) and engrave them with poetic love quotes, their names, sentencing dates and pleas to never forget them. Some were engraved by the convicts themselves, while some prisons had established forgers who, along with their tools of the trade, became the resident token crafter.
Today, many of these tokens take pride of place in museums and private collections, as a testimony to the history, love and craftsmanship they forever symbolise.
The Royal Australian Mint will release no more than 30,000 of the 2016 $1 Convict Love Token - Remember Me Copper Unc Coin.
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