A Charming 18thC Italian Naïvely Carved Bone Token; 'ALDO ME FECIT'


Origin: Italian
Period: Early/Mid Eighteenth Century
Provenance: Private Collection, South West England; acquired in the 1990's.
Date: c.1700-50
Diameter: 1 inch
Weight: 0.85 grams

The small disc shaped token decorated with a naively carved male face with beady pale grey eyes, darkened long hair and beard, bearing the inscription `ALDO ME FECIT` (`Aldo Made Me`) survives from eighteenth century Italy.

Condition is superb with a wonderful patination with no chips or cracks the bone, probably Ox.

Aldo as a man’s name is of Italian and Old German origin, with the meaning of "old wise one, or elder” or even perhaps ‘archaic’ (how appropriate) in English. The name is still popular in Italy and among North American families of Italian descent. Aldo was an eighth century saint, so by the eighteenth century, the name was well trodden in Mediterranean climes. This token could have been Aldo’s gaming counter, theatre token, or simply a disc shaped piece of bone well worn and cherished for one reason or other, and with which Mr Aldo thought he would duly decorate.

Who was Aldo? He obviously had a good sense of humour but what did he do? And why did he decorate this token? Who did it then pass to? With far more questions than answers this is a simply enchanting antiquity, holding a story untold.