Royal Reels: Gambling


American seedsman advertising covers are more frequent than Australian ones, and much more information is readily available about the former. However these four Australian companies are worth recording in spite of the lack of information concerning the companies.

Anderson’s Superior Seeds is the only one that is known to me and is the best of the bunch and it can rival any produced by American companies. The front shows well and contains a pleasing mix of print: ANDERSON’S SUPERIOR SEEDS, Choicest Strains, Vegetable Seeds, Farm Seeds, Grass Seeds, Flower Seeds. Illustrated Catalogue post Free, Seed Wharehouse, 399 George St., Sydney. The cover is addressed to F. Evans Esq, Cambridge, Tasmania and it does not have a stamp but the postmark reads: POSTAGE PAID SYDNEY/ MR 6/ 1905/ 1D/ N.S.W. and there is a reception postmark of CAMBRIDGE/ MR 10/ 05/ TAS (Figure 1).

The reverse side features Anderson’s “Rainbow” Sweet Peas and the exquisite picture of the flowers do justice to their name. “A splendid mixture including the best English and American varieties. Colours extremely beautiful charming new shades a dazzling display. Sow Autumn & spring ¼ lb 4/-: 1 oz. 1/6 Packets 6d & 1/-. Postage Paid (Figure 2).

The price for the cover was given as AU$ 150. A 1924 64 page catalogue for Anderson’s Seeds and Plants (“of interest to heritage gardeners and collectors alike”) was described as extremely rare by a well-known Australian bookseller and was available for AU$ 450. Anderson Seed company was established in 1863.The Railton Bros, Seedsmen & Nurserymen of 273 Swanston Street, Melbourne had a less flamboyant cover with the bantam green ½d and a pair of the red Queen Victoria postmarked with the double circle MELBOURNE/ PM/ 2 15/ 25 4 05/ 19 postmark and sent to an individual (not a firm) in France (Figure 3).

The only information I found on this company was a black & white photo of poor quality taken when Railton Bros of the above address had a stand at the Royal Melbourne Show 1906-7.

The next two covers were of particular interest because they were both sent to well known American Seedsmen/Plantsmen. The Law, Somner & Co. of 139-141 Swanston St., Melbourne (Telephone 729), established 1850, and purveyors of “Tip-Top” Seeds, Plants, Bulbs, Fruit Trees used the blue 2d N.S.W. stamp and a penny red Victorian stamp (both inverted on the envelope), postmarked MELBOURNE / 18/ 4. 30A-3 JE 11/ VICTORIA to Mr. Luther Burbank, Santa Rosa, California, U.S.A, with an additional purple stamped PAID (Figure 4).

Luther Burbank (1849-1926) was a famed horticulturist who made his home in Santa Rosa for more than 50 years. He conducted plant-breeding experiments that brought him world renown. He introduced more than 800 new varieties of plants including over 200 varieties of fruits, many vegetables, nuts and grains, as well as hundreds of ornamental flowers. In California his Birthday (March 7) is celebrated as Arbor Day and trees are planted in his memory. His photo is shown in Figure 5.

The cover from F.H. Brunning Pty Ltd, Victoria Seed Warehouse, 64 Elizabeth Street, Melbourne, Wholesale and Retail Seedsmen, Established 1857 was sent by the R.M.S. Makura in 1918 with the blue 2½d roo on map of Australia from Melbourne to the well known seedsmen Messrs. C.C. Morse & Co., 737 -759 Front Street, San Francisco, Cal, USA (Figure 6).

The C.C. Morse company was particularly famous for the development of the Sweet Pea, and it has been covered in another paper (JOHN LEWIS CHILDS & C. C. MORSE, PLANTSMEN) discussing two Seedsmen/Plantsmen of the USA, on this website, filed under Miscellaneous.

Categories: Advertising Covers