Excelsior Record

Excelsior Record (U.S.A.) / c. 1906

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Design: The word 'Excelsior' means 'even higher,' and is here represented by a figure wearing an antiquated style of dress (doublet, hose and cape) standing exultantly, plumed hat in one hand and a battle-standard in the other, at the high point of what looks like the stockade walls of a fortress, with the rays of the rising sun in the background. Probably this scene is meant to recall the defence of Fort McHenry in 1812, when the fort withstood overnight bombardment by British mortar-ships during the War of Independence, giving rise to a celebratory poem written in 1814 which eventually (in 1931) became the national anthem of the U.S.A. ('Oh say, can you see, by the dawn's early light / What so proudly we hailed at the twilight's last gleaming?' etc.) The label name is unusual in that it sits on a downward-curving baseline (see also the Princess label). The imprinting is done in a robust letterpress font of the 'Rotunda' family (a Spanish version of Gothic with rounded forms) called Abbey Text.

History: The International Record Company of Auburn, New York, whose name appears in tiny letters at the foot, began in 1905 to manufacture and distribute several record labels (Excelsior being one) in contravention of copyrights held by Columbia, who forced them out of business in 1907. Label scan courtesy of collector Ken Hagelthorn of the U.S.A.

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