Sunday, January 18, 2009

U.S. Capital Building & Dome

As Barack Obama takes the oath of office and becomes the 44th President of the United States on January 20th, the U.S. Capital will be a majestic backdrop for the historic event. I would rank the U.S. Capital building in the top four most common souvenir building replicas – with the Empire State Building, Statue of Liberty and the Eiffel Tower being the remaining three fighting for this distinction of commonality. Because souvenirs of the capital are so popular, there are an incredible number of versions created over the years. Multiple makers, styles, scales have been sold and in almost every material you can imagine. U.S. Capital Building Jewelry boxes, inkwells, candle snuffers, S&Ps, pencil sharpeners, charms, banks, and sports trophies to name a few. I’ve also seen soft white capital foam domes, Perhaps President Obama might need one of these as a stress reliever when he begins to work with Congress. There are three building replicas which appear to be from the same maker due to similarities. They all stand on legs and have a box below. One opens to reveal a cloth-padded compartment for jewelry, another is a coin bank and the third and most unusual opens to reveal duel inkwells. One of the most interesting U.S. Capital souvenir replicas, in my opinion, is the one made for the 1923 Shriners convention. The 2-inch tall metal replica has a red fez on top of the dome, set on an angle…just so. The front of the building replica reads “Capital Washington” and back reads “1923 (copyright) A. M.(or H?) DONDERO.” I’ve done some reach about this history of this unusual metal building replica. The Shriners held an Imperial Session in Washington, D.C in 1923. As a bonus that year, they had one of their own in the White House, President and Shriner Warren G. Harding who reviewed the convention parade. This replica is wonderful because, not only is it dated, but it includes the fez to identify the occasion for which it was made. The red fez with a black tassel, the Shrine's official headgear, has been handed down through the ages. It derives its name from the place where it was first manufactured — the holy city of Fez, Morocco. Some historians claim it dates back to about A.D. 980, but the name of the fez, or tarboosh, does not appear in Arabic literature until around the 14th century. One of the earliest references to the headgear is in "Arabian Nights." Check out some of my older posts about Capital souvenirs including: Chocolate capital, a desk set, cigar humidor, trophies, and Capital history. Do you know of other unusual U.S. Capital souvenir replicas?

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

The dome I was telling you about up for trade is the gold dome next to the pewter one. SD

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