A Georgian love token engraved on a worn Georgian copper coin, c.1790. Tokens such as this are, says Timothy Millett, “the art of the underclass, first appearing in the mid 18th century. It was out of these that developed sailor’s farewells and valentines and subsequently the convict tokens that were a parting gift to their family prior to transportation to Australia.”

Enjoy unlimited access: just £1 for 12 weeks

Subscribe now

Millett, a BADA member who was among the dealers standing at the aborted The Open Art Fair in Chelsea in March, has chosen more than 100 items deemed suitable for a quirky card – many of them photographed for a book, Tokens of Love, Loss and Disrespect 1700-1850, scheduled for publication in the autumn.

The images range from typical sailors’ farewells to defaced coins poking fun at the royal family. Many were made as keepsakes and have obvious appeal to those searching for a more unusual expression of affection. The idea was sparked while a chapter on love and romance in the 18th century was being written for the forthcoming book.

Each card comes with information on the object depicted. “What is on the new site [launched in early April] is really a combination of stock items, favourites from my archive and the engraved coins from my personal collection,” Millett told ATG. “I try to put a paragraph or so about many of them to give them extra appeal. The process has been quite enjoyable and, as we are now all in lockdown, I am hoping that the idea of the written word will hit the spot.”

Most cards are priced at £3 each, including postage and packing.