View Full Version : Civil War era "Alert Base Ball Club" token - insights welcomed!

08-05-2014, 08:39 PM
Any coin experts / 19th century experts care to weigh in? It's an 1842 seated liberty nickel that had one side smoothed out for an engraving of bats, a ball, a base, and "Alert B.B.C." It amazes me that a coin 15.5 mm wide could be engraved like this. (For more visit http://www.sportingoregon.com (http://www.sportingoregon.com)).

HOF Auto Rookies
08-05-2014, 10:01 PM
Numismatically, this coin is known as a "love token." As described by River City Coins -

"Most love tokens were made in the late 18th and 19th centuries. The practice began in England in the 17th century and migrated to America in the early 1800's becoming popular in the United States around the time of the civil war. The US Government outlawed the practice in the late 1800's. Individuals would take their coins to a jeweller or engraver who would smooth out one (and sometimes both) sides of the coin and reingrave it with the initials or name of the intended recipient. They were usually given as an expression of love and sometimes as a proposal of marriage. Mostly unique, they were a precious and cherished gift. Seated dimes were the host coin for the majority of American love tokens, but they are found on all denominations from half-cents to $20 gold pieces as well on coins from all over the world."



This was obviously make for someone with close ties to the team, possibly a player from the Alert Base Ball Club. Due to the appearance of soldering remnants on the obverse, this was once either attached to a pin back (to be worn on clothing) or attached to a pocket watch chain (as a fob).


HOF Auto Rookies
08-05-2014, 10:01 PM

08-05-2014, 10:15 PM
that's an awesome piece of folk art...or defacing official gov't currency...one or the other!!!

08-05-2014, 10:20 PM
You might want to check Peverelly, American Pastimes to find "alert" clubs, to see what might have been in the area the coin came from. I will try to take a look this weekend if you would like.

08-05-2014, 10:23 PM
Is this still illegal? It seems no different than the machines that mold a coin into a souvenir. I have a bunch of these from trips to Disney World - mostly pennies but a few quarters.