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What is this old norwegian bookfront-font?


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Hello! (first post)

I am making a pastiche of this classic norwegian book cover, and would like to use a font most similar to the one used in wording "Nye novelletter" as shown. The book was published in 1879. My project will feature one of the short stories in the original, as well as modern takes on the subject matter by contempary norwegian authors. 

Anyone know which font I could use that would be similar in look and feel? Please note the split "moustache" serifs on the baseline (I don't know what these are called in english (or in norwegian, for that matter...)). 

Skjermbilde 2020-08-12 kl. 16.22.10.png

Skjermbilde 2020-08-12 kl. 21.01.55.png

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Ralf Herrmann

I couldn’t find a good match so far. Was this design only used on the cover or also inside the book? It looks like this could potentially be a brass font for bookbinders without a matching letterpress font. 

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This is not an exact match, but it is very close. There is minor differences in the serif caps. the most notable difference is the leg of the "R". If not for the "R" leg...i would chalk this up as embroidery and wear and tear differences. This font only makes a light weight. The NOVELLETTER appears to be an extra light or thin weight. After adjusting the weights manually, this is the result. This is the best I could find for you. 




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@Ralf Herrmann I don't know if it is used on the inside, as I don't own the book myself (it's a pretty rare first edition). I'm guessing it makes sense that this is brass font used by for illuminating/metal embossing by the bookbinder. 


@brett Thanks - this is pretty similar. 


Thanks for trying, both of you. I guess I'm going to have to fire up illustrator and create my own vector version...

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Kevin Thompson

Have to agree with Ralf—a correspondence with letterpress faces is unlikely, given that book covers were created with a different process in that era.

Alexander Kielland resembles a lighter weight of Doric or Antique Condensed No. 2 / Antique Skeleton (distinctive for its lack of a serif on the E and the curled leg of the R). See this PDF of the Cincinnati Type Foundry Specimen from the 1870s (page 106 for Doric, page 112 for Antique Condensed). Neither has been revived as a digital typeface in those exact forms.

Nye Novelletter resembles a condensed version of Latin (see page 15 of the Michaelmas Type Specimen from 1883). Again, a digital version that matches the historical specimen is hard to come by.



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