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General Philatelic/Gen. Discussion : Stamp Typefaces

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egertoni
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16 Sep 2020
01:04:12pm
Are there resources that identify the specific typefaces used in the lettering of individual stamps produced up to 1940? I have assumed that companies designing and printing postage stamps in this period drew from a pool of recognized typefaces when it came to creating the lettering they used, and that they weren't making up the characteristics of the lettering as they went. Maybe that's a false assumption. Any help would be appreciated.
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Anglophile
16 Sep 2020
03:15:59pm
re: Stamp Typefaces

Information about the typeface used in a particular stamp design generally appears only in articles in philatelic journals about particular stamps, rather than in a central resource, and then only if the author of the article investigated the issue. As an example, the current issue of United States Specialist has an article by Rodney Juell on the stamp designs of Bradbury Thompson, with considerable info on the typefaces that Thompson selected. In my experience, this is unusual in journal articles.

In your period of interest, stamp designers used both commercial typefaces and hand-engraved their own lettering with independent characteristics or with reference to existing faces. In that period, the sale of metal type was big business, and concentrated in the hands of a few type foundries. They published type sample books so that newspapers and book printers could pick what they wanted to buy for a particular publication. Some stamp designers would have had these books for reference. Old type sample books are collectible and can command prices in the hundreds to low thousands of dollars for copies in good condition.

The history of typeface development is explored in several recent books. A good intro is Simon Loxley's "Type is Beautiful: The Story of Fifty Remarkable Fonts".

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Jansimon
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16 Sep 2020
04:06:26pm

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re: Stamp Typefaces

Back in the day when stamp design was an art, most stamp designers created their own lettering as part of the design. At least that was usual in the Netherlands. There were even those who specialised in lettering and had a very recognisable style. The most famous letter designer was Jan van Krimpen, who created the well known series from the 1940s with only a number on it, as well as the typography on many other stamps.
Less known is that he also designed the logo for one of the largest beer brewers in the Netherlands and the font used on the national war monument.

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As you can see, once you know it, it is easy to recognise Van Krimpen letters, even when there are small differences between the designs on the various stamps. Some of his fonts have been made available for modern digital use, like the Spectrum and Romulus.

Jan-Simon

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www.pagowirense.nl/stamps/
egertoni
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16 Sep 2020
05:16:38pm
re: Stamp Typefaces

Thanks so much for these responses. Most helpful. Clearly, if I want to explore this issue in any depth, I'll have to go micro: start with a specific issue and see what I can learn (if anything) about the origins of the typeface used by the stamp designer for the lettering.

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angore
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Collector, Moderator
16 Sep 2020
06:16:55pm
re: Stamp Typefaces

For general font identification

http://www.identifont.com/find?picture=&q=Go

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egertoni
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16 Sep 2020
06:52:20pm
re: Stamp Typefaces

Identifont is a neat site which I've used. I particularly like that the user can filter results by the date your typeface was used and by the letters you have in your sample. To the extent a stamp designer stuck to specific known typefaces then this site could be helpful.

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DavidG
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APS member since 2004
17 Sep 2020
10:21:36am
re: Stamp Typefaces

The typeface on the United States 1922 Fourth Bureau Issue series is the same typefave used on United States banknotes (as in dollar bills). The name of that typeface is: Banknote Times.

David

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angore
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Collector, Moderator
20 Sep 2020
09:49:08am
re: Stamp Typefaces

Here is another font id site. I used it today to check what font Minkus used. It came back as Bookman.

https://www.myfonts.com/WhatTheFont/

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