What is sigillography and the secret language of stamps?
Kazimierz Stronczyński, who was for some time in possession of the valuable Włocławek reliquary (Kruszwica reliquary) presented on the website, was a distinguished cataloguer of historical items, a creator of numismatics and an inestimable expert and researcher of seals.
Sigillography is the science focused on the history, meaning and secret language of stamps.
In the past, when paper correspondence was the main channel for transferring information, there was a whole language of signs.
Private letters were always sealed with white wax. The shades of white had their significance: snow white was reserved for the most distinguished figures, off-white was used to seal letters addressed to persons of a lower rank.
Red wax, which can also be bought today, was intended for postal correspondence.
Anyone who has contact with official documents knows how important it is to press the stamp of a person signing a document in a legible and straight way. Or is this approach just an indication of the care for details and respect for the addressee and nothing else?
Perhaps it was the trace of practice and custom of the times when correspondence was art (text written in calligraphy, properly selected paper, signature and stamp became the equivalent elements of a message).
In the world of these codes and symbols, a lopsided stamp was interpreted in a straightforward way of breaking all contacts with the addressee, even if the contents of the letter did not suggest such a decisive move...
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See seals from the collection of Małopolska’s Virtual Museums:
Wax seal of the imperial and royal (C.K.) District Starost (head of district)
Stamp of the drapers’ guild
Seal of Koszyce