Royal Reels: Gambling


A series of World War II patriotic covers became available from the same artist or distributor on E-Bay after I found this one posted from Australia. It has a prominent Mussolini (not requiring the ‘MUSSO’ on the sleeve for identification) consulting a book on ‘HOW TO FIGHT’. He is sporting a black-eye and one arm is in a sling and he is saying “IT’S ALLA GREEK TO ME!” This was certainly the Australian view of Italian soldiers fighting prowess during WW II.

The front is addressed to a Mr. W. Tam, 25 Louisa Ave, Greenville PA, USA, and the Cover has a red ‘OPENED BY CENSOR 2’ label, and a blue ‘CREMORNE JN, NSW’ registration label, plus the usual red cross hatching crayon. There are the three Commemorating Flights by Charles Kingsford Smith stamps, 2d red, 3d blue and 6d violet, a total of 11d (all issued on 19 March 1931, and only the latter inscribed ‘ Air Mail Service’) which are postmarked CREMORNE JUNCTION/ 13 SP 43/ N.S.W. At the lower left the cover is inscribed ‘(COPYRIG)HT 1941, A.M. ROBERTS, HAMBURG, N.Y. (Figure 1).

The reverse has two confirmatory Australian black postmarks, the same-dated Cremorne Junction, as well as a black G.P.O. SYDNEY / 14 SP 43/ N.S.W-AUST. There is a transit double circle purple SAN PEDRO, CALIF./ OCT 12 1943/ REGISTERED as well as the purple DOUBLE CIRCLE arrival postmark GREENVILLE PA/ M.O.B. (Figure 2).

A series of covers with the same theme by the same artist, all copyrighted and posted in 1941 on various USA warships, were subsequently found as follows:

Uncle Sam with a baseball bat inscribed “AID TO BRITAIN” and saying “You’ve gone far enough” plus a legend “STOP HITLER NOW” and Hitler with a smoking gun, posted on board the U.S.S. CRESCENT CITY, Dec 1, 1941; (Figure 3).

A backside view of a Mussolini hiding and saying “I’ll sink the English Navy …if they catch me” with the Italian fleet at his feet, posted on board the U.S.S. POTOMAC, Oct 28, 1941; (Figure 4).

Uncle Sam and John Bull, saying “In you go” and escorting a diminutive Japanese man (General Tojo) to the DOG HOUSE, posted the same date and on the same ship as above (Figure 5).

A black native labeled “ETHIOPIA” on his back, with a large spear in hand, and John Bull kicking Mussolini’s rear, saying “He who laughs last”, posted on board the U.S.S. CALYPSO on Oct 28, 1941. This cartoon is the odd man out for it was definitely pre-WWII, when Italy invaded Ethiopia in October 1935 (Figure 6).

Obviously, A. M. Roberts of Hamburg N.Y. was strongly in favour of America’s entry into WW II, which occurred on December 11, 1941 when Germany and Italy declared war on the USA. And as they say, the rest is history.