Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Vintage Wax Seals

For millennia the presence of a seal on a document signified authenticity and insured privacy. Seals of one form or another were used by royalty, government officials, religious entities and military officers. Seals have been around since biblical times, with cylindrical seals being found in southern Mesopotamia in 3500BC. 
Clay Cylinder Seals from Mesopotamia
Official seals have been generated on documents by embossing, attaching a seal, using an ink stamp or impressing the seal into wax. Letters that were written before the advent of the gummed envelope were normally sealed with wax and the initials, armory or symbol of the writer was impressed into the wax using a ring, a watch chain fob or other type of matrix or die.
Official Seal of the Town of Nachod c1570
The first document to have the Great Seal of the United States applied to it - Sept 1782
Gold-filled watch chain with wax seal fob ($95.00)

Gold-filled watch chain with wax seal fob ($75.00)

We often think of wax seals as desk implements and that is typically how they are made today. We carry a nice line of wax seals in the shop. However, recently we obtained several very nice early-20th century and Victorian wax seals. These have decorative handles of gilded brass, vulcanite with gold mounts, silver and crystal. These would make a great collection and are useful as well.
Wax seals from late-1800s to early-1900s (from $29.00 to $195.00)

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