The most alluring aspect of this wax seal treasure is the inscription. The Latin message and the iconic pigeon image are very endearing when you think about the seal's purpose.
This stunning antique seal radiates old world elegance, charm, and mystery. It is outwardly subtle, featuring a richly darkened exterior.
This piece is so unusual with such an intriguing intaglio, we are enchanted.
Years of faithful use are demonstrated in the handle's mahogany coloring and light red stripes of wear around the top, middle, and bottom. We don't know the underlying wood, but it is heavy and solid.
Its minimal design is the perfect complement to the richness of brass seal.
It is remarkable to think that, even into the late 18th century, wax was still used to seal envelopes; who knows what kind of important or mysterious documents this one enclosed?
The matrix (the metal part of the seal used to make the impression) depicts a pigeon, which, we assume is symbolic of a carrier pigeon successfully delivering important messages.
Underneath there is a banner in which the Latin words "Deo Volente Surgam" are inscribed; in English, this translates to "God willing, I shall rise".
This phrase was often used along with a signature at the end of letter as well as a was seal on the envelope.
It was used in order to signify that "God willing" this letter will get to you safely, "God willing" the contents of this letter come true.
BUT, what is even more intriguing is the phrase "Surgam". Surgam is the motto of The Philolexian Society of Columbia University. It is is one of the oldest college literary societies in the United States.
Founded in 1802, the Society aims to "improve its members in Oratory, Composition and Forensic Discussion."
The name Philolexian is Greek for "lover of discourse," and the society's motto is the Latin word Surgam, meaning "I shall rise."
Given the fact this word was used on a letter wax seal and one of the society's objectives was to improve member's "composition" is very curious, but seems appropriate.
One wonders if the owner was a member of this student society?
There is, of course, expected usage wear on the item commensurate with its age, but it just adds even more charm to the character of this wonderful seal.
It has great shape, weight, and style. It fits the hand perfectly and when you hold it, you can just envision it sitting on the original owner's desk, ready to be put to use. Lovely in every way.
This is an exceptional addition to any collector of antique desk accessories. Use it or display it, it is really an amazing piece.
Measurements: Total height: 3 ¼" Handle: widest circumference is 4 1/8" Matrix: 18mm in diameter Weight: 40.3 grams (1.42 oz)