Large Hats & Small Caps

Having begun the week with Senator Barack Obama’s typeface, it seemed appropriate to look back at the typography of campaigns past. Here’s a splendid piece of Americana that will be at auction at Christie’s next week: a carved polychrome and gilt political hat, dated 1872, from the collection of Marguerite and Arthur Riordan. It captures a number of quintessential period styles: bold sans serifs in caps and small caps, “catchwords” festooned with calligraphic flourishes, and two styles of lettering interrupted by medial spurs. Measuring 25" deep and 18" wide, it’s a perfect fit for the head of any 21st century politician. —JH

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