Monogram. A letter, combination of letters, or symbol forming the designer’s, engraver’s, or sculptor’s signature on a numismatic item, sometimes in artistic arrangement. Monograms often have the last name’s initial in the center if three or more letters are present (particularly if a center letter is larger), so the sequence of letters is not always certain. Other monograms may appear on a coin or medal as well; the issuer’s initials, or the initials of the subject, as the Pan Pacific Exposition used a monogram of back-to-back Ps with an overlaid X. Monograms are indexed in the order the initials appear, or sometimes by all initials in the symbol.Monograms often appear small on the coin or medal. Deciphering them is sometimes difficult due to the state of the die, or the condition of the piece. They are most often located in the lower right position of the piece, but can be located anywhere (or hidden in the design!). If a truncation of a bust or portrait is present, this can be used for the signed initials. Below or on the side of the listel separating the exergue from the rest of the design is also popular. Additional letters sometimes appear with the monogram, these identify the task of the signer: engraver, designer, sculptor, medalist. For a list of these see signature. A notable monogram is the P and X for Christ, called a christogram, used as a device on Roman, Byzantine and medieval coins from the 4th century forwards with the rise of Christianity.
excerpted with permission from
For Artists, Makers, Collectors and Curators
COMPILED AND WRITTEN BY D. WAYNE JOHNSON
Roger W. Burdette, Editor