Circa Sign Abbreviation Advice by a Circa Sign Signmaker

circa sign abbreviation advice
Circa Sign Using the CA. abbreviation

As a signmaker of hand painted genuine reproduction circa signs, I am have a unique vantage point to share advice on circa sign abbreviations. Many sign customers struggle with whether or not to use circa, or abbreviate circa. And if circa is to be abbreviated, which abbreviation is best: c. or ca. or cca. Let me offer my experience on the issue since there are no rules per se.

Start with the featured images I picked for this topic on circa sign abbreviations, a photo of the Artemus Barrett c.1870 sign and the ca. 1830 signs which I made and lettered for customers.

By customers’ requests, circa was shortened to c.1870 and ca.1830. And I prefer to honor requests when my advice is not asked for. I think this was the right choice for these historic house circa signs.  But what about when you don’t know what to do?

While I said there are no rules, I do recommend:

When To Use Circa or Circa Abbreviations

  1. Use circa or an abbreviation of circa, if you are not certain of the exact year the house was built.
  2. Use circa or an abbreviation of circa when the date ends in a zero, 1870 for example.
  3. Use circa or an abbreviation of circa when your house number address and the circa year might be confused by passers-by, guests, delivery people or EMS, fire and police personnel.
  4. Use a circa abbreviation when any of the above apply AND the layout of the painted text for your circa sign would improve the size or proportion of the other text painted on the sign.

When Not to Use Circa or an Abbreviation of Circa

  1. Do not use circa or an abbreviation when you are reasonably certain of the year your house was built.
  2. Do not use circa or an abbreviation when the date you have been told ends in a non-zero number, 1871 for example, and you do not have any further documentation.

In summary, these are guidelines to consider as you are trying to settle on what to put on your historic house circa sign. It’s the fun part! The circa sign is often the crown jewel capstone of your entire historic house renovation which will welcome you home at every return to your house and bid you adieu on every departure. Enjoy the moment.