Seeking Fred and Nellie, France 1916

#HOB2014

British Museum blog

Silver George V shilling re-engraved as a love token, 1916 (J.3283)Benjamin Alsop, curator, British Museum
Silver George V shilling re-engraved as a love token, 1916 (J.3283) Silver George V shilling re-engraved as a love token, 1916 (J.3283)

When you think of the relationship between money and war you can be forgiven for immediately thinking about the financial implications of war. The money required to put boots on the ground and aeroplanes in the sky is staggering and yet as the world remembers the centenary of the outbreak of the First World War, an object in the Citi Money Gallery reminds us that not all is as it seems. To look at one side of this silver shilling is to see something unremarkable, run of the mill and even (and I say this in hushed tones) boring. The stoic, moustachioed profile of King George V gazes left as an inscription encircles him, there is no emotion to be found here, just a standard royal portrait. The other side of the coin is…

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