I decided that I am going to start posting famous monograms and cyphers (can also be spelled cipher according to my OED). I think they are beautiful and I wish more people would use monograms and cyphers. They are like tiny pieces of art that can be very useful in everyday life.

What is the difference between a monogram and a cypher? A cypher is a person’s initials. A monogram is a person’s initials intertwined in some fashion. Some people use one or the other. Some people use both. Some people (they usually rule countries and what-not) have several for different purposes: public affairs, private affairs, laundry, etc.

For example, this is the official cypher of Queen Elizabeth II of England:

The lettering stands for Elizabeth II–Royal. And if you were still in doubt that this might be a royal cypher, there is a bejeweled crown to help you out.

This is the official monogram of Queen Margrethe II of Denmark (she has another for private use):

The lettering here stands for M -Margrethe, 2-II, R-Royal. See how the M is intertwined with the 2 and the R and how it is different from the cypher above? And once again, if your were too daft to get that this is a royal monogram, there is the crown.

Aren’t they neat?