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Love token of an eight sols piece of Louis XIV

This find was sent in by Mike Ruczynski. It’s an S-shaped coin, which will have been used as a love token, probably in the early decades of the18th century. Instead of being English, it’s a foreign coin.

Mike said he has a few hammered silver coins that have been bent to form love tokens and he wanted to know if they are unusual. Well, the most common form is William III sixpences. I’ve seen a few hammered silver examples but they are certainly scarcer than early milled coins.

This find is very worn and not much detail has survived. However, it appears to be an eight sols piece of Louis XIV, who had a reign even longer than our late Queen Elizabeth II. Louis was born in 1638 and ascended the throne of France on 14 May 1643. After the Civil Wars in England Parliament had a significant role in deciding how the country was governed.

The situation in France was very different, for under Louis XIV an absolute monarchy was established, which meant that the king dictated policy. In 1685 the Edict of Nantes, which had given Protestants the right to pursue their own version of Christianity, was revoked and this led to much bloodshed. It also led to most Protestants leaving France and some of them settled in England. They were industrious and possessed many skills so England gained through Louis’s policy in regard to non-Catholics. Louis XIV did not die until 1715.

I can’t remember ever seeing a foreign coin bent as a love token so this specimen must be very rare. Perhaps the original owner had difficultly when trying to spend it in England, so he or she decided to present it to someone they fancied, who threw it away!

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