This is a New Orleans Mardi Gras token undated. The caption reads, "Love Me - Kiss Me - Hug Me - I'm Italian." It was issued by the Italian American Marching Club whose members march in many parades. The opposite side shows their emblem which is the flags from Italy and the U.S.A.
This coin is 1-1/2" in diameter and made from gold colored, anodized aluminum.
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Keeping history alive
MARDI GRAS TOKEN HISTORY
New Orleans Mardi Gras tokens were first minted in 1960 when Rex, King of Mardi Gras, presented the first tokens to his loyal subjects, by throwing them from his parade floats. Many parade organizations, called krewes, soon picked up on this new concept. They placed their crest or emblem on the obverse, and the yearly theme of their parade on the reverse of the dated tokens.
H. Alvin Sharp, a very gifted inventor and artist, came up with the idea and designed many of them. He named these tokens, "doubloons". Those doubloons that are thrown to the crowds are made from lightweight 15 gauge aluminum with some of them anodized different colors. The "heavies", as they are called, are minted from thicker 10 gauge aluminum, bronze, .999 silver, and other metals. Most of these are handed out to relatives and friends as favors.
Truly a work of art, these silver-dollar sized tokens measure about 1-1/2” in diameter. Not only are they collected in the New Orleans area, but all around the country, and the world as well. They are highly desirable for rare dates, rare krewes, and for the collectible subject matter on the reverses.
They have never been sold to the general public by the organizations since they were only made for Mardi Gras throws and favors. They are minted in limited quantities each year, and many hundred's of thousands in collections were lost in the flood waters of Hurricane Katrina in 2005.