My wife recently returned from a week-long business trip to Australia. To make up for the time we spent apart, She brought me back one of those I-missed-you gifts (It’s our thing that we do if either of us goes away for longer than a day). This gift turned out to be a wax stick and seal plate with my initials engraved on it, neatly displayed in a rectangular box. The nature of the gift was a splendid surprise, made even more so when I realized that the set was made in Italy and isn’t some “Made in China” mass-produced knock-off. This pleased me greatly as I have purist tendencies that need feeding now and then if I’m to keep it under control.
See, I love old school things. I have a small collection of fountain pens, a few ornamental quills and assorted little ink bottles (filled with ink and sealed), and various journals. But I never got around to adding a wax seal to my collection. It could be because my collection is put together by happenstance–a series of happy accidents that I capitalized on–there was never really a conscious decision to collect them. Receiving the wax stick and seal plate were therefore a wonderful surprise.
And, being the eternal kid that I am, I wrote my wife a poem that night. I printed it on pale yellow paper using a funky old-school font and folded in that special way that allowed me to “seal” it–and seal it, I did. It looked great–on the second try–and it was a fun experiment to do. Anyway, the reason for this post is that, a few days after receiving the set, I got this email from The Art of Manliness where they discuss the history of wax seals. It’s a really interesting read and I highly recommend it, plus it’s good for research. You never know when you might have use for it.