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Monogram Magic: Ancient History

You love your monogrammed stationery…it expresses your identity, connects you to tradition, and symbolizes your enjoyment of the good things in life. For all of these reasons, monogramming is undergoing a renaissance. But did you know how the monogram came to be “a thing”? In these next four posts, we look into the history of the monogram, its heyday in the Victorian era, as well as its meanings and contemporary uses.

Charlemagne's monogram

Charlemagne’s monogram

In fact, the origins of the monogram go way back. Not on paper or even cloth: those are relatively recent applications. The first monograms were stamped on coins in ancient Greece. Along the way, monograms have bridged the gap between word and image to create potent symbols of identity and authenticity.

In Western culture, the earliest known monograms popped up on ancient Greek coins in around 300 B.C.  (In Asian cultures, since their written characters do not stand for letter sounds, the monogram evolved a little differently.) The initials belonged to the private bankers, city-states or rulers that made the currencies, according to the online Handbook of Greek Coinage. In these early days of money, when issuers wanted people to trust using it, the monograms lent authenticity.

Constantine the Great's monogram

Constantine the Great’s monogram

This practice of stamping coins with monograms continued for centuries, according to A Study of the Development of Monograms. For example, Constantine the Great, who founded Constantinople in 324 A.D. created one of the most famous monograms, a large P with an x through the stem. Another famous coin monogram belonged to the emperor Charlemagne.  He liked it so much, he decided to use his monogram instead of his face on his coins.

Signatures, Buildings, Homes and Art

The history of the monogram continued as other uses developed. Does your Grandmother have a signet ring? It derives from the fancy signet rings rulers wore that allowed them to quickly sign documents using a blop of wax. Later, masons proudly carved their monograms or stone masons’ signs into new cathedrals.

Albrecht Durer's monogram

Albrecht Durer’s monogram

Around this time, people like farmers and prominent citizens began  monogramming their walls, prized equipment and even gravestones. These were called house marks.

Later in the 15th century, artists used monograms to sign their works. Italian potters created quite intricate and sometimes beautiful monograms on the bottoms of fine majolica vessels, according to Marks and Monograms on European and Oriental Pottery and Porcelain. And Renaissance painter Albrecht Dürer developed one of the more famous monograms, an attractive D under an A.

But the Victorians took monogramming to a whole new level. Tune in to the next post, where we explore “monogramania” in the 1800s.

Explore our lines of monogrammed Cards, Notes, Notepads, Napkins & Guest Towels, and all Monogrammed Items.

 

Sources:

The Handbook of Greek Coinage

A Study of the Development of Monograms: From Ancient Greek Coins to Contemporary Logos

Marks and Monograms on European and Oriental Pottery and Porcelain. William Chaffers. 14th edition. Borden Publishing Company, Los Angeles, CA.

Classic Embossed Monograms

Nothing says quiet sophistication quite like classic a embossed monogram. Giftsin24 has a large selection of monogrammed notes and cards to choose from. We have traditional script monograms, classic initial monograms and eclectic, artistic monograms. All of our monograms are deeply embossed and showcase your initials in delicate detail. Whether you personalize a foldover note or a flat-panel card with your personal initials, you will appreciate the fine quality and exceptional beauty of our monograms.

Classic and refined. The perfect embossed monogram!

Classic and refined. The Classic Frame Note has the perfect embossed monogram!

Choose from a prominent 2 ½” size monogram or a traditional 1 ½” monogram, embossed borders and frames, and multiple paper colors. Our paper is smooth and thick – a pleasure to write on. You will truly enjoy corresponding with these luxurious papers!

Need help choosing? Here’s a little Monogram Etiquette 101:

• Couples – The monogram will be the bride’s first initial, the couple’s last name, and the groom’s first initial, in that order. For example, Mary and John Smith would be M S J.

• Women – A woman’s monogram is traditionally presented as first, last and middle initial. So Mary Elizabeth Jones would be M J E. It is always appropriate to use a woman’s initials in this way, even if married; however, it’s more common to use her first, maiden and married surname if she does marry. For example, Mary Elizabeth Jones Smith would then be M S J.

• Men – A gentleman’s monogram is often done in first, middle and last initial order. John Andrew Smith would be JAS. In this instance, the initials are all the same size. You may also choose to put the gentleman’s surname in the middle, as J S A, with the center initial larger in size.

"Embossed

• Children – A child’s monogram follows the traditional first, last, middle initial order.

As with any monogrammed gift, you will want to consider the age and tastes of the recipient – traditional, modern or whimsical.

The sculptured look of embossing has a timeless appeal. It’s a classic that never fails to impress. Browse our selection at Giftsin24.com today and find the perfect gift for every occasion.

 

 

 

 

New Monogram Designs

Here at Giftsin24, we’re always working to offer you the most exciting stationery designs. That’s why our graphic artists strive to create beautiful monograms and one-of-a-kind  lettering styles. In fact, this month we’re so pleased to offer four new monogram notes in raised ink – Whitlock, Elise, Paris and Firenze Monogram. Each is a work of art. Intricate swirls and eclectic letters combine to create stunning monograms.

New monogram designs include the Whitlock Note in raised ink

Victorian inspired and regally impressive: Whitlock Note in raised ink.

Victorian typography inspired the royal and impressive  Whitlock Monogram.

Dream of the sunny Mediterranean and correspond with the Firenze Monogram note, where Italian flair meets American ingenuity.

Or showcase your joie de vivre with the graceful Paris Monogram note.

Our New Monogram Notes Make Beautiful Gifts

A new monogram note is the perfect gift for the writer on your list. We offer each set of notes on smooth, luxurious paper in a choice of 10 glossy raised ink colors. We include 50 matching envelopes. To add even more luxury, we wrap your order in tissue and nestled it in a champagne colored gift box. The presentation is as beautiful as the stationery itself.

Sienna Note: a new monogram note in raised ink.

Giftsin24 is the leading manufacturer of social stationery in the country. Combined with our exceptional quality and manufacturing, we produce the very finest in personalized writing papers. Furthermore, we offer you amazing stationery at affordable prices. In addition, you can take advantage of our fast production and free FedEx ground shipping for all your gift-giving needs.