Arras Tokens

In one Catholic wedding tradition, the groom gives the bride an Arras - a container of 13 coins. In addition to being a sort of dowry, the Arras symbolized the groom's promise (and ability) to support his family. In wealthy families, the Arras consisted of 13 gold or silver coins. Those less well off have used gold-plated small denomination coins, or tokens. These web pages are devoted to Arras tokens. I am focusing on token of Mexico, but am also including information on similar tokens from other countries.

These tokens generally have the words "Recuerdo Matrimonial" (which translates as "Wedding Souvenir" or "Marriage Memory"). I have also included some tokens that do not have these words, but which have designs very similar to "Recuerdo Matrimonial" tokens. Other tokens (for example the "Maximilano" gold fantasies) may have been used as Arras, but no doubt also served a variety of other uses.

I have had trouble finding information about Arras tokens. If you have any information about these token, have similar tokens that are not listed, or just want to chat about tokens, please send me an e-mail at: stevensf@pullman.com

Major Arras Design Types
(Mexico)
Table of Arras Design Combinations
Complete List of Known Arras Tokens
(Mexico)
Other Mexican "false coins" Arras Rarity Scale
(preliminary)
Where to Get Arras Tokens
Wedding Tokens of Spain. Some Misc. Information about Arras Tokens Wedding Tokens of Peru
Wedding Tokens
of Iran
Wedding Tokens of the Philippines Wedding Tokens of France


Mike Locke has a page about California Gold and similar tokens, which includes a number of Mexican gold and gilt tokens (arras and others) http://www.calgoldcoin.com/mexico.htm (warning! this page has a lot of pictures, may take a few minutes to load, but worth it). Another site that has some Maximilain arras tokens is http://www.zgold.com/arras.htm (main site has lots of small gold non-arras tokens)

Note about designs - Quality control during production of these tokens seems to have been, shall we say, "loose." Many variations is design details, size, metal, etc. exist. Tokens were struck at different pressures, and from dies in varying states of wear. In addition, many of the tokens encountered are worn, and many (especially the iron ones) have some corrosion. I have tried to catagorize designs/metals/sizes which seem reasonably consistent and easily distinguished from the others. Many more subtle differences could be identified, but I leave that task to others.

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