Coins and Australia - 1833 - Convict love tokens

Convict Love Token - 1833

Thomas Alsop, 21, brick labourer, was convicted in 1833 at Staffordshire for stealing a sheep. Thomas Dexter, aged 27, and William Dexter, aged 77, were also tried for the same crime, but were acquitted. Alsop was sentenced to transportation for life, and sailed for Van Diemen's Land (Tasmania) on the Moffatt on 29 January 1834. As he could not write, he had someone else make at least two beautifully engraved keepsakes, one for his mother, the other to an unknown person - this token is in a private collection.

Immediately on arrival in the colony, Alsop was assigned to a chain gang. When he tried to abscond in July 1835, Alsop was sentenced to 36 lashes. His record shows that between 1836 and 1847 he committed numerous offences including refusing to work, stealing cattle, representing himself as a constable, absconding and being found in bed with a female prisoner.

Despite being sentenced to life and numerous additional punishments, Alsop was granted a conditional pardon on 7 November 1848, and a full pardon on 5 February 1850. Like many other convicts he remained in the colony as he could not afford the fare to return to Great Britain. Alsop married Irish-born Sarah Eliza Kirk, 15 years his junior. In 1854 they had a son, Thomas, and sixteen months later they had a daughter, Sarah. At that time Alsop was working as a fish hawker and lived in Hobart. He died in 1891.



Token engraved with neat cursive script and a number of decorative ornaments:

The rose
soon drupes
& dies. the brier
fades away. but
my fond heart
for you I love
shall never
go astray.


Ornately engraved token featuring the image of a three-masted ship on the water with a flag flying from the stern. Underneath in a neat cursive script is engraved:

Accept this dear
Mother from your
unfortunate son
– Thos Alsop –
Transported July
25 Aged 21 1833


35.0 mm

Copyright: National Museum of Australia

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