The Numismatic Bibliomania Society



The E-Sylum: Volume 18, Number 46, November 15, 2015, Article 29


On Veteran's Day Carol Bastable was interviewed by a local television station in Tampa, FL about her Love Token specialty, with an emphasis on their connection to servicemen. Great publicity for the hobby! Click the link below to view the full video. -Editor

Loving memory Love Token On this Veterans Day, it’s important to remember that during World War II; most of our servicemen were young. They were right out of high school with mothers and loved ones waiting for their return. So the soldiers used whatever they could find to make gifts to send home.

Many created ‘love tokens.’ These are coins that the soldiers made into gifts. During their downtime, the soldiers would sand down the coins and carve messages for their loved ones.

Carol Bastable has spent years collecting these love tokens. She said, “It’s mostly messages of love to mothers at home, sisters, girlfriends, wives, and it was a time in this country that had one of the largest patriotic outpourings in support of soldiers at home.”

They would even creatively cut the coins apart and fashion them into lockets with photos inside. Bastable said, “The ones with the soldiers in the photos touch a chord with you because it puts a face on war.”

These servicemen were very creative. She added, “You have to remember that where they are there’s not access to a jewelry store and tools.”

Charlie Love Token August 24 1945

Each one of these trinkets tells a story. One was made by a soldier during WWI. It was inscribed with the message: ‘August 16, 1917. ‘Loving memory, Heber, Killed in Action.’

Another had the message: ‘To my darling Alma, from Mannie. England 1943.’

Bastable said, “They were in the hands of these soldiers, they were mailed home to the loved ones that cared for them and supported them and its history in your hands.”

Not all of the token were sentimental. The soldiers would have fun with it too. One coin was carved to look like a soldier that’s smoking. Others would carve unique pictures or engrave faces onto the coin.

Some of these tokens date back to the Spanish-American war.

Bastable is part of a group called the love token society. It’s made up of coin collectors who collect these unique historical items. The group is actively searching for any World War II veterans who are familiar with these tokens, to see if they can shed more light on their stories and on how they were made.

Carol Bastable interview

Carol adds:

Sometimes it is just about making contacts with the right people to get numismatics out there into mainstream press. I always knew that these would make a good news story because they go far beyond our world of numismatics, with an appeal to those who served in the military, families of servicemen, and also military historical buffs.

These coins are also featured on my Pinterest boards and the Love Token Society website. The reporter solicited for people to contact us if they have first-hand accounts of these being made. I mentioned it in the interview but of course an hour of filming gets severely cut down to fit the short news segment. I was glad he mentioned it at the end of his report.

I have been trying to research these for years and so far only have two firsthand accounts (interviews with living veterans). I also have a lot of hearsay and stories passed down without personally seeing firsthand documentation from the veterans themselves. The clock is quickly ticking down on being able to find living WW II veterans and I hope this press will provide some more input on the history.

I plan to exhibit the collection at FUN but that is probably five years off or so...once the show is back in Orlando. Originally I had plans to contact the press there once it was on display because I believe it is the largest known collection of WW II coin art (artistically altered coins, mainly engraved love token style). It will probably have to be shown as a non-competitive exhibit due to the seven case limit in the competitive exhibits.

WWII Love Token collection

To read the complete article, see:
Engraved coins shed light on personal lives of WWII soldiers (

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Wayne Homren, Editor

NBS ( Web

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