Princess Sapphire Record

Princess Sapphire Record (U.S.A.) / c. 1911

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Design: A rare example of a label name with a curved, descending baseline (see also Lyric Record.) The diamond-shaped, angular SRTMC logo is in sharp contrast with the curvilinear elements in the rest of the design, especially the curlicues in the outer border.

History: One of the earliest and rarest of American-made vertical-cut records, the New York-based Sapphire Record & Talking Machine Co. was to last only about a year. The word 'Sapphire' denotes that the record had to be played with a ball-shaped sapphire needle as opposed to a sharp-pointed steel one. The song title here is mis-spelled 'Tonkimoise' instead of 'Tonkinoise,' which in the French would mean 'little lady from Tonkin' (Tonkin being the northernmost province in what is now North Vietnam, with its capital as Saigon); France had a strong colonial presence in Vietnam in the late 19th century, which lasted until a communist takeover in the mid-1950s.

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