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Author Topic:   wax stamp

Posts: 2920
Registered: May 2003

iconnumber posted 08-19-2006 05:37 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for swarter     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I assume that this stamp, which was intended to impress an initial - in this case the letter "S" - into sealing wax, is American, since there is no marking other than "STERLING" embossed in very small raised letters on each side of the hollow handle. The "business end" appears to be plated. Length is 2 7/8". I do not believe it is a named pattern.

It was intended for use on a desk, or with a traveling lap-top desk, as there is no loop for attachment to a fob or a chatelaine, as was often done for carrying on one's person.

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Posts: 845
Registered: Aug 2005

iconnumber posted 08-20-2006 03:18 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for FWG     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Yes, I've seen those referred to as "desk seals", and I always imagined them standing upright on a desk. I think I've even seen such placement in period films and museums, but no specific reference comes to mind. And the ones I've seen have generally had the "business end" in either plated metal or steel, presumably for the extra strength. I don' thave any in silver, but have a nice one in brass, in the form of a bird's foot....

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Posts: 87
Registered: Sep 2002

iconnumber posted 08-20-2006 10:18 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for ozfred     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
This type of seal was often part of a boxed desk set along with a pen, pencil and paper knife or other accoutrements.
A stamped or paper label inside the box lid often gave a clue to the maker or retailer.

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Paul Lemieux

Posts: 1768
Registered: Apr 2000

iconnumber posted 08-20-2006 11:13 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Paul Lemieux     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Wax seals are interesting because they often gave makers a chance to work with a three-dimensional design. The wax seal that has eluded me for years is Unger Brothers' fully 3D bust of a Palmer Cox "Brownie" figure. I saw one on eBay about 5 years ago, but it went for more than I wanted to pay. Also once saw an unbelievable Shiebler example that was designed as an African-American's head; it also doubled as a sand sprinkler.

This is an early 20C German souvenir example.

Here is an American circa 1900 3D ram's head. It is only marked STERLING. Neither this nor the German one is inscribed...evidently they were not purchased to be used.

A Japanese mixed-metal example.

Also interesting are some of the mid-19C silver fobs, pencils, etc. that are set with pressed or etched glass novelty or commemorative seals. The former often contained mottoes with rebuses. The latter sometimes featured the image and name of a popular literary or historical figure, such as Lord Byron.

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Posts: 962
Registered: Jun 99

iconnumber posted 08-21-2006 08:39 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for vathek     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Although I don't know if it applies to the items above... I have an 800 or 900 silver one in the shape of an owl standing on a book I think, but believe that (as there is no initial in the flat disc part) it is a pipe tamper, which the unmono'd one here may be.

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Posts: 962
Registered: Jun 99

iconnumber posted 09-04-2006 11:58 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for vathek     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I finally found mine and it is a wax seal.

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