How much are my love tokens worth?

The Love Token Society is a collector club and we do not appraise love tokens.  Our recommendation is to check recent online auctions for a completed sales listing.  A listing of unsold items or buy it now priced items have no bearing, only final sales where the items have sold will determine a current market value for a like item.  Bear in mind, love tokens are hand made items and are each unique so some can be harder to value.  Also, a bidding war between two people who both want an item can give an inflated price whereas a poorly photographed or poorly described item listed in a wrong category could give an unusually low price.

In general, initials are the most common love tokens and sell quite reasonably.  However initials made with added enamel, gold overlay, or on higher value type coins (gold coins, dollars, half dollars, etc…) will sell at greatly elevated levels.  Pictorials are among the favorites with collectors and maintain higher prices.  The more common themes will sell for less than rarer designs.  Common themes include: landscapes, birds, horseshoes, and flowers.  Pictorials made from silver dollars, gold coins, and various type coins (3 cent silver, two cent, large cent, etc…) are quite scarce.  Beyond coin types and themes, condition also plays a big factor. 

The variables in trying to value love tokens are immense.  A balance of what someone is willing to pay for a love token and what a seller is willing to accept also goes a long way in determining a price.


How should I store my love tokens?

First safeguard your love tokens from possible theft.  A safe deposit box is what serious collectors use.  Then turn your attention to longtime preservation.  Avoid oxidation by placing the love token in an airtight container.  There are various products on the market.  The least expensive are the cardboard 2 X 2 holders with a thin plastic film that protects a coin from the sulfur in paper products.  More expensive are the hard plastic capsules.  At all costs avoid soft plastic flips that contain PVC.  This product will break down on the surface of the coin in time and will cause actual surface damage to the coin eventually.  Jewelry items, love token bracelets and such, can be placed individually in Ziploc style bags which are available in various sizes at jewelry supply outlets, coin stores, and craft stores.  This avoids contact with the air which causes tarnishing. 


Can I clean my love tokens or will it hurt their value?
Cleaning coins can cause damage.  Chemical cleaners can cause chemical burn, a dull grey finish on the coin.  Usually it will not happen the first time but if they have been cleaned this way in the past, there is the threat that repeated use of the chemical will damage the coin.  Any kind of rouge cloth acts as a buffer and takes away coin details.  Over time if done repeatedly, it will round all the nice crisp engraved lines of the love token which is undesirable.  Never use a rouge cloth on a “real” coin and preferably not on the coin side of the love token.  But, using just once on the engraved side is another story because these coins were probably polished either when filed down prior to engraving or after the engraving was completed.  If the toning is really dark, probably a combination of a chemical cleaner, proper rinsing to remove all chemical residue (professional conservators also use a chemical neutralizing agent in the process),  drying, and a quick wipe of a rouge cloth would be preferable.  Even experienced coin dealers can mess up a coin from time to time.  They often use the chemical cleaners and have no idea how a coin was treated in the hundred plus years before they acquired it.  There are even more perils like water spots or scratches from poor drying techniques.  Scratches occur from rubbing it with something as simple as a paper towel which can produce “hairline” scratches on the surface.  Blotting dry is preferable to rubbing.  This answer is perhaps an over simplification because a professional conservator could write a book on the subject.   There are even companies which conserve coins professionally however the fees for this kind of work probably outweigh the value of love tokens.  Recommend if  you want them cleaned, just try doing one and see what you think of the results.  Then seal it in an airtight holder (also make sure it is 100% dry before sealing) so it will not tone back because you will not want to do this on a regular basis or it will definitely damage the coins. 
Is it OK to wear my love tokens or will it hurt their value? 
The act of wearing your love tokens alone can cause damage.  In bracelets they bang around and will get dings and eventually a pitted look from an excessive amount of dings.  In a pendant, you may find that you like to touch or rub it.  Even people seeing you wearing it can be tactile when they look at it.  Overtime this also means wear and perhaps even worse wear than improper or repeated cleaning.  But, the personal enjoyment you get from wearing these may also exceed their actual value if you look at it that way too.  In real estate it is called Value in Use and the cost is not always returned in full at the time of sale.