The value of rings that say ‘I love you’

Vivienne looks at the value of ‘love tokens’ of yesteryear – and tells of a remarkable valuation in a Derbyshire home.

POSY RINGS are gold finger rings with a short inscription. They were popular through more than three centuries in both England and France as lovers’ gifts. They have a high value when they are sold at auction and the more unusual the inscription, the more valuable the ring. 

The language used in many early posy rings was often a quotation from contemporary courtship story or ‘chapbooks’ an early type of printed popular literature. The words were given to show regard or as a love token.

Posy rings from the medieval period mostly have the words engraved around the outside of the band, while in later examples the lettering is found inside. Like much personalised jewellery today, the posy ring provided the owner with the chance to wear something completely different…

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