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5101 An Escutcheon-shaped Wine Label


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This is a label which appeals to me because it is unpretentious and very fit-for-purpose. Arguably, the earliest form of wine label was the 'escutcheon' (an accepted term which is too vague for me - I'd prefer cartouche-shaped).  The earliest date from the mid 1730s and the model continued till the mid-century.  This is a classic example of the shape, and is utterly plain except for the outline and the engraved wine - MADEIRA.

The escutcheon shape regained popularity in the middle of the 19th century, but this example is from the earlier date - c.1745-50. 

Wine labels were exempt from hallmarking until 1790 because they were less than the threshhold of 10 pennyweights (half an ounce), but most were marked with the maker's mark.  This one, however, wasn't, but the lack of a maker's mark, while reducing its monetary worth actually adds a degree of interest; was it made in the provinces, in the colonies, or even elsewhere?   In fact the quality suggests a London source.  The joy is that it is less than half the price of one which was marked!

Date: c.1750

Dimensions: 2", 5.1 cm wide

Weight: .32 tr oz., 10 grams

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