The Exchange

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'In God We Trust' — A little history in everyday pocket change

Nearly everyone has some type of pocket change coins either in their pockets, homes, or vehicles. However, most people do not take the time to actually look at those coins. This article looks at the history behind the historic and famous phrase, "In God We Trust."
Written by Brandon Ortega at 06:00

The fine art of enameled coins and tokens


Enameled Coins are very unusual and most delightful pieces of Victorian jewelery, usually made from a silver coins of Queen Victoria. The amount of time and quality of craftsmanship that went into making these pieces is incredible, since before being enamelled the coin had to be hand-engraved and the reverse design cut out. These recesses were then filled with paste made from ground-up glass that was then heated in a kiln until the glass melted and fused. These brooches were fashionable for a time during the turn of the 19th century.


Love tokens have been made since Medieval Times. In the 18th and 19th centuries, coins were still used as Love Tokens. They were hand made, created by young men to give to their sweethearts and in some instances were given by soldiers and sailors before the went abroad in case they were to die.


Love tokens vary in size and all types of coins are used. Each token is unique; no two are alike. In Victorian times, they were fashionable to both men and women. They were suspended by necklaces, bracelets and watch chains, some were carried in purses and pockets as a remembrance of love and wealth.The poorer class made tokens from copper or bronze coins until a silver coin could be acquired. The wealthy man chose a silver or gold coin to make his.


These tokens were simple to make, although a highly decorative piece was usually achieved. The coin is rubbed until one or both sides are flat; the maker then engraved or stamped their own words, pattern or initials onto the blank side.


When considering that most men who did this were low-skilled and illiterate, some of the results are quite remarkable.

This interesting note was taken from an Ebay auction of johnmenc:

"Wonderful High Grade 1834 Enamel Coin. SUPERB.There seems to be a little confusion as to the origin of enamelled coins, and the subsequent artists who created and designed them. The craft sprang from the Victorian love of unusual jewellery. Enamel buttons were popular, and the skills of enamelling could be transfered to coins. Being decorative and not funtional, these could feature elaborate designs. The main year of production was 1887, Queen Victoria's Golden Jubilee, "The magic year of enamelling."


The year saw a huge growth in the demand and production for royal memorabilia. The majority of enamelled coins are based on the existing design of the original coin. The first task in the production process was to take out all the background of the coin, leaving the letters and pattern in. In some cases the letters and design were even removed.


The enamel was then applied in layers, fired and then ground down to enable the colors to come through in varying shades. This process was often done in more than one stage to enable the intricate colors and painted effect to be perfected. It was most usual to enamel on just one side of the coin, but some coins are enamelled on both sides.


These are considerably rarer, and leaves the question: How did they get the enamel to flow on the second side without the first side dropping off? It was assumed that all enamel would fuse at about the same temperature. The art has now disappered, so we cannot answer this question.


Enameled Coin Usa

Popular designs included leaves and flower, coats of arms, Britannia and of course Queen Victoria. In some, the bust of the monarch are completely removed and replaced in enamels. The coin pictured above by an unknown designer features many of the popular designs in one coin. The rarest enamel coins are those of gold. Few examples can be seen today, and those that do exist are mainly made from dated sovereigns.


Two of the finest coin enamellers were William Henry Probert and the Steel family. The earliest enamelled coins were thought to have been produced by William Henry Probert in his Birmingham workshop. His initial designs were very plain with no more than three colors used. However, the coins were expertly engraved. As the coins became more popular, his designs became more colorful and elaborate.


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Pictured above is an early coin by William Henry Probert. Edward Steele, was a well known engraver and enameller, who started a venture in his own name designing enamelled coins. His son Edwin and later Edwin's son Henry carried on the business of manufacturing coin jewellery. Edwin's enamel coins are thought to be the finest, with engraving under the enamel to enable light to filter through the enamel. This created superb variations to the reflections.


Enameled Coin 2 Sided

Pictured above is an enamelled coin featuring Queen Victoria by Edwin Steel.

Written by Michael Rae at 00:00

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Brian Sparks' 'The Pennyman' wins the Holiday Craft Contest

Sparks wins a prize pack, which includes a 1962 silver proof Franklin Half Dollar.
Written by Jake Sherlock at 00:00

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Major update on the future of the penny and nickel scheduled for this week.

But what will be in the report? Mint officials have been tight-lipped, so we're asking you what you think the Mint should recommend.
Written by Jake Sherlock at 00:00

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Statue of Liberty and Related Medals and Exonumia

The title pretty much says it all! I will be writing about Old Statue of Liberty Medals and new finds: medals, medallions, medalets, coins, elongated coins/tokens (they are not all coins), casino chips, ingots, rounds, or whatever fits the numismatic or exonumic fold.
Written by Paul G. Lajoie at 00:00

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