Royal Reels: Gambling


A previous discussion on this short-lived Victorian advertising postcard is to be found at this website in the Category: Postcard, under the title of ‘Beer & Baccy Victorian Advertising Postcard Sent to Boston 1895′. The first paragraph is worth repeating: This 1d blue ‘Reading Stamp Duty’ postcard was the first and only Victorian postcard with advertisements, and it could be sent to all Australian Colonies, New Zealand and Fiji without additional postage. It had a very short life for there was a furious response from conservative elements in the community. Its day of issue was 1 November 1895 and it was withdrawn on 19 November 1895. During the three weeks of use 84,960 cards were sold, many of them as a result of the bad publicity. Mint cards are common, but postally used cards in this period are desirable. After their withdrawal, the Post Office sold cancelled-to-order cards for 2d! The Postmaster-General, J. Gavan Duffy had sold the rights to private advertisements to Cameron Bros., and this was an unfortunate choice of 2 popular brands.

Another copy of the offending postcard used appropriately on the last day of issue is seen here:

The ‘Beer & Baccy’ postcard of 1895 was issued on 1 November 1895 led to a furious response from the Australian conservative elements and was withdrawn from sale the day that this message was written. It was addressed to Mr. A. Wertheimer, C/- P. Phillipson & Co, 391 Bourke Street, near Melbourne Post Office, Melbourne and the blue ‘One Penny’ printed stamp was cancelled MELBOURNE/ NO 19/ 95 (Figure 1).

The message on the reverse was quite unique and it reads as follows:

November 19th 1895

Dear Friend

I pen these few lines to thank you for your kindness during my recent illness. That chicken altho it required great deal of time to boil, was very acceptable. The doctor says I am now out of danger but reccomends (sic) me plenty of chicken broth, but unless I have a few sent me I shall not be able to get it. I hope that you will not think I mention this to again impose on your benevolence. I am sure you will be feeling a great blessing in doing good to others. My coal is almost done and I am afraid I shall have to do without fires and I don’t know how I shall be able to pay my next week’s rent unless some good hearted person sends the money along. I trust that you will not think this is a begging letter for there is nothing I hate worse than begging. Trusting you will think of me and my trouble. I am sincerely yours, Jane Sarah (Figure 2).

If Jane Sarah wrote this address and the note on the reverse herself, one could readily surmise that her penmanship suggested that she was an educated woman, who had fallen on serious financial times. To date I have found no information on either Mr. H. Wertheimer or the company of P. Phillipson & Co. of Melbourne. One has to wonder how he dealt with the further plea for help.

Addendum (August 2009):  P. Phillipson and J.B. Kaufman traded as P. Phillipson & Co. opticians and manufacturing jewellers.  P. Phillipson was very involved in the Jewish community in Melbourne, both in a Hebrew school, and as a member of the Jewish Philanthropic Society at the Synagogue Chambers, Bourke Street.  He was a director of the Rose of Denmark Mining Co., Gaffney’s Creek, near Mansfield, Victoria.  Mr. A. Wertheimer, the addressee, has not been located.

His letter to the editor of The Argus Melbourne of 21 June 1889 concerning the tardiness of installing Electric Fire Alarms as well as 2 or 3 fire-escapes as in Europe is noted in Figure 3.

Categories: Postcards