Royal Reels: Gambling


This 1d advertising postcard has a SYDNEY/ AP 20/ 7 A.M/ 91 / 26 postmark with the three ring oval N.S.W. duplex obliterator, and it is addressed to Mr. Max Rown. Box 325, G.P.O. (Figure 1).

The reverse advertises MELACHRINO’S Egyptian Cigarettes, and states that the company, Warren & Rown is the their sole agent for Australia and New Zealand. The Company is located at 14 Barrack Street, Sydney and also it import Havana Cigars and Egyptian Cigarettes. The advert lists the leading brands of cigars in stock, including Muria, Henry Clay, Villary Villar, Flor de Naves, Upman’s and Pantages. The final line is of interest in that “The Public Supplied Direct in Quantities of 100 and Upwards”. There is no information concerning the cost of any of the products. (Figure 2).

Information concerning the company and its owners was not found on the internet, but it is of interest that the postcard was sent to Max Rown, who possibly was one of the proprietors. A reference Librarian at the State Library of N.S.W. supplied the following information. The company was first listed in 1889 in the Sands Directories 1889-1890 Street and Commercial directories as Warren and Rown Warehousemen, 14 Barrack Street, Sydney and in 1892 it became Warren and Strang Warehousemen at the same address. In 1893 to 1990 it was listed as Warren & Strang, Manufacturers agents & merchants, importers of cigars and cigarettes, at the same Sydney address, as well as at Degraves Street, Melbourne, Victoria.

Information on the internet concerning Melachrino’s Egyptian cigarettes was mostly limited to items on Ebay, but a few historic sites gave details of their origin. Militiades Melachrino was a successful late 19th century Cairo, Egyptian cigarette manufacturer. In 1904 he expanded his operations to the United States and began making his cigarettes in New York. His company was sold in 1913, but he started up a second company there in the 1920’s, with no connection to other firm. In 1929 his cigarettes celebrated their 50th anniversary.

This Egyptian style cigarette was manufactured from the finest Turkish tobacco, and was famous throughout the world with some help from the British army. When soldiers that had been stationed in Egypt went to other posts globally, their enchantment with the cigarettes was far-flung. The advertisements sometimes used distinguished people, whose ‘purple’ prose was quite lyrical, as in the translation of a French advert: “The Melachrino cigarettes are enchanting. They are the gift of the Orient to the Occident. They are a joy and a dream that evaporate in geometric spirals. The Melachrino cigarettes are rest, luxuriousness and forgetfulness.” The cigarette boxes and tins were very colourful and stylish (Figures 3).

An unusual form of advertising was the stamp for Melachrino cigarettes (Figure 4).

I am indebted to Ben Clark, Reference Librarian, State Reference Library of N.S.W. for the information about the Sydney firm, Warren & Rown.

Categories: Advertising Covers, Mining