US Coins

Love token borrows from Wagner opera

Sid Gale relates in the October issue of Love Letter, the Love Token Society newsletter, how a friend, while looking for Indian Head gold $3 coins, found a love token whose engraving is tied to the operatic works of Richard Wagner.

On the reverse of a 1934 Washington quarter dollar is engraved “To a beautiful BRUN HILDA from a devoted SIEGFRIED.” Gale said he was recently presented the engraved coin by the friend who found the coin while trying to complete a gold type set.

Gale said he learned from Michael Moses, one of the owners of South Coast Antiques and Gallery in Ocean Springs, Miss., that the inscription was inspired by the Wagner opera Siegfried, the third of the four operas that comprise Der Ring des Nigelungen (The Ring of the Nibelung).

The Siegfried segment is primarily tied to the story of the legendary hero Sigurd in Norse mythology, who awakens with a kiss the sleeping Brünnhilde from her magic sleep atop a rock within a ring of fire.

In another article, Russ Frank discusses collecting love tokens engraved on World’s Columbian Exposition half dollars. One such piece that he acquired for his collection several years ago is engraved VALENCIA in block letters with B.C. in script below, J.L. HOLLANDER in italics in the third line, and the numbers 92-93.

Until recently, Frank had concluded that Valencia, B.C., represented a city in British Columbia in Canada. After conducting research using the New York Times historical newspaper database, Frank said he was able to determine that the inscription referred to the Valencia Boat Club, located in Hoboken, N.J., along the Hudson River.

The Valencia Boat Club was organized Oct. 6, 1874, as a social organization. In 1893 the club had 125 members, Frank learned, and was the largest boat club along the Hudson.

The club had a floating boat house, which was 85 feet long, 35 feet wide and three stories high, Frank writes.

The first floor accommodated all the boats, the second floor was devoted to dining and meeting areas, card rooms, and locker room, while the third floor was reserved for sleeping accommodations and storage, Frank writes.

Frank said he is still seeking information about the identity of J.L. Hollander, whose name was engraved on the love token.

For more information about the Love Token Society and membership, contact the secretary, Sid Gale, by mail at Box 2351, Denham Springs, LA 70727, by telephone at 225-664-0718 or via email at ¦

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