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VERITAS Samuel Stevens & Co. Australian Line for Melbourne, Australia, from Battery Wharf

Date: 1865
Overall: 165 x 103 mm
Medium: Engraving on paper.
Credit Line: ANMM Collection Purchased with USA Bicentennial Gift funds
Object Name: Clipper card
Object No: 00008628

User Terms

    This card features a wood-cut coloured illustration on white enamel card. It was an advertisement for the clipper ship VERITAS travelling from Boston to Melbourne under the Australian shipping line, Samuel Stevens & Co. The card features an illustration of the shipping line's house flag, flanked by the American and Australian Coat of Arms.
    SignificanceClipper ship cards of the 19th century rarely survive as they were often discarded when the ship sailed. This card illustrates maritime trade and commerce in Australia during the mid-19th century.
    HistoryClipper ship cards were one of the advertising methods used by ship owners to promote their vessels and transport schedules. In colourful print and bold designs they publicised the supposedly superior qualities of each vessel, often using images of maritime scenes, mythology, patriotism and women to promote their cause. The cards were largely manufactured during the late-19th century and were designed to be handed out at the docks. They were brighter and more appealing than the newspaper advertisements of the time but often used similar wording. They could be printed in up to seven different colours including blue, red, green white, black, brown, and yellow. Some printers also used gold, bronze and purple.

    The majority of clipper cards were produced when the popularity of the clipper ship was dwindling and merchants were opting for faster steam powered vessels. Clipper ships were largely active between 1845 and 1875. Their design concentrated on speed instead of cargo capacity, which was a great benefit for shipping companies eager to transport goods quickly. The sleek and graceful ships generated a sense of romance, competition, national pride and innovative technology. They were a symbol of American modernity and fundamental to the expanding global economy.

    The VERITAS was a British ship of 632 ton register that was used on the Australian trade route during the mid-19th century. In 1865 it was under the command of Thomas Carrey carrying freight and passengers.

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