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National Museum of Australia

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4

Convict love token

Object information

Physical description

A convict love token made from an engraved copper coin. The obverse depicts a man wearing a top hat standing in front of a tree, behind him is a dog and to the far left is a building. On the reverse, in stippled lines is a small house with a chimney and trees on either side. The inscription reads 'When / this you See / remember Thee / And bear me in / your mind tell all the / world Say What they / Will dont Prove to me / Unkind.'.

Statement of significance

This collection consists of 4 Convict Love Tokens: one copper halfpenny engraved with MC/1792; one cartwheel penny engraved with squire with rifle and dog; one copper penny engraved with a sailor in front of a sailing ship; and one shaved down penny with 'L.B/L.W/1844'.

Convict love tokens, typically made of smoothed down coins and engraved or stippled with a message, provide a poignant, personal insight into the transportation system, as well as its transnational character. Also known as 'leaden hearts', the tokens stem from traditional sailors' farewells. Convict tokens were made for the whole of the Transportation period in New South Wales and Tasmania, with the majority produced during the 1820s and 1830s. As objects purposely made by or for convicts to give as mementoes, to be left behind when the prisoner was transported, the tokens are a unique part of the record of a convict's transportation experience.

Object information

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