Wednesday, June 13, 2007

)( continued

This week's e-Sylum covered my quest to discover the name and origin of the )( symbol. I'd hoped an e-Sylum reader would just know, but none have contacted me yet.

Catalogue of the Greek and Roman Coins in the Numismatic Collection of Yale College, published in 1880 by Tuttle, Morehouse & Taylor of New Haven Connecticut, makes heavy use of the symbol. The Abbreviations section says that )( is an abbreviation for 'reverse.'

This is the only American usage that I know of. No explanation.

The Abbreviations section includes three other symbols, the ligatures for AV, AR, and AE. The AE ligature is well-supported on computers. It has its own code in Unicode.

There are no Unicode characters for the AV and AR ligatures. They are considered typographic concepts, not letter concepts. For numismatics, that might not be true. Authors might want to use the AV and AR symbols to indicate coin metals, but wouldn't want a font that joined 'AR' or 'AV' in the middle of capitalized word.

The Medieval Unicode Font Initiative folks are proposing an AV ligature character. No one is talking about an AR ligature character.

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