Minerva-Record (Germany) / c. 1912

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Design: Interestingly, several German-made pre-WWI labels featured Greco-Roman (pagan) symbolism and/or imagery (e.g. Apollo, Minerva, Polyphon, Janus, Kronophon), probably reflecting an intense public interest in the newly-formed science of archaeology, but also evidencing a retreat from traditional Christianity into pagan mysticism, as typified in the melodramatic operas of Wagner. Minerva, a Greco-Roman goddess whose main attribute was wisdom, was also venerated as the inventor of music. The fan-like design above the spindle-hole is very similar to that appearing on the Lyrophon label. The label name appears in a very attractively ornamented bold condensed Victorian-era font. A variety of type styles has been used for the imprinting, from narrow condensed sans serif to widely-spaced stub-serif.

History: Label scan courtesy of music researcher and collector Bill Dean-Myatt of the U.K. Thanks also to collector Georg Richter of Germany, who kindly supplied the image of the advertisement below. He writes: "The Janus-Record label was launched in July 1907, and was issued by Vereinigte Schallplatten-Werke Janus-Minerva G.m.b.H., Limburgstrasse 1 and 2, Hannover. The initial company name was 'Internationale Grammophon Co. G.m.b.H.' but the company had to drop the word 'Grammophon' from its name because (not surprisingly!) the original Grammophon Co. won a legal action against them at the end of 1907 (source: Phonographische Zeitschrift, 1907)."

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