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The altering of coins goes back to the late 1700s or earlier. Love tokens are generally defined as coins on which one side, or sometimes both sides, has been smoothed down and engraved with ornate initials, names, phrases or scenes often with an ornate border. These were often given to young ladies as "tokens of love" by a man who is trying to persuade a woman to marry him. The practice seems to have originated in Great Britain in the early 1800's, and migrated to the United States in the mid- to late-1800's. The Seated Liberty dime of the 1850's - 1880's is by far the most popular host coin, but tokens are known on all denominations of U. S. coins from half cents through twenty-dollar gold pieces as well as numerous world coin denominations.
Love Tokens are valued for their workmanship and metal value, for example a gold coin love token is worth much more than one on silver or copper. If in addition to initials, pictures are engraved or jewels are inlayed, these have much more value than the more common tokens that only have initials. Hundreds of thousands of coins probably were altered in this manner, with a pin added on the back or they were put on bracelets and necklaces. The love token fad faded out in the early 1900s