Carol Bastable also has a great article in the August 2016 issue of Love Letter, the Love Token Society newsletter. -Editor
I am publishing an ongoing series of cabinet cards with women wearing love token jewelry. I have collected these photos for over
twenty years now and have an impressive collection. Having acquired Victorian photos of women wearing most of the types of love token
jewelry, it is time to share the collection.
Finding these photos requires painstaking hours of searching through photos at antique shows and also on eBay. It can take a week or
more of fulltime work (8-10 hour days) to get through all the listings on EBay, some 30,000 to 40,000 listings. Then multiply that by a
few searches a year and then over twenty years or so. It is similar to searching for a needle in a haystack. For photos that look
promising, each listing has to be opened and then the photos need to be enlarged to see the details. As it turns out, some items that
look round in the little thumbnail photos of the eBay search do not appear round when enlarged to 200-250 percent.
The easiest photos to find are men and women wearing stickpins and also men wearing a lapel stud. Quite often the details of the
engraving are not visible or are faint due to focus, lighting, and something as small as a dime when blown up in size is going to lose
the integrity of the image and fuzz. Knowledge of the styles of other types of jewelry helps in the elimination process. Even when
finding an engraved image, since the item is a photo and cannot be turned over to look for the coin side, one has to assume it is a love
token based on its appearance and also size/scale of the item.
I plan to show one type of love token jewelry in each issue until I use up all the photos. I estimate that it will take two years with
six issues of the Love Letter per year. In the last issue I showcased simple one-coin stickpins worn by both men and women. This
month I have shown fancier stickpins which I have named stickpin pairs because it takes two stickpins joined together to make up this
What a research task! Great idea, though. Here's an excerpt of Carol's article. -Editor
This issue we take a look at stickpin pairs, those made up of two stickpins that have been joined together with fine chain. In the more
complex types of stickpins the field narrows and we only see women wearing them in the old cabinet card photos. In photos of single
stickpins, no safety clutches are visible and they were probably more easily lost. The double stickpins work as a safely against being lost
and they are far more decorative. Form and function create a very pleasing visual. These pins cross each other to create an X shape, making
it hard to pull free of the dress fabric. Whereas the single versions are placed on a horizontal angle, the pairs are on a forty-five
degree angle so gravity also holds them better. If one were unlikely to work free from the fabric, the chain from the other pin would also
keep it from dropping to the ground. Stick pin pairs can be made from one, two, or three coins.
For more information about the Love Token Society, see:
Wayne Homren, Editor
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