The Peninsular and Oriental Steam Navigation Company (P&O) has a celebrated history dating back to the 1830s. It was incorporated by a Royal Charter in 1840, and its name therefore includes neither "PLC" nor "Limited". The initials "P&O" are among the most familiar anywhere, and its house flag, older even than the Company itself, is one of the best known. The history of its first century is encapsulated in the heraldry of its Coat of Arms, granted in 1937, while throughout well over 160 years it has been a premier British shipping company, and in its time the largest and most varied in the world.
The P&O house flag is the Company's oldest symbol, incorporating the Royal colours of Portugal and Spain, the countries of the Iberian Peninsula to which its earliest services ran in the 1830s. The flag is now familiar all over the world, flown on ships, offices and depots on six continents.
The P&O Coat of Arms, granted in 1937 but based on a badge used for several decades previously, combines the Royal colours of Spain and Portugal, and thereby its "Peninsular" origins, with an "Oriental" rising sun as a crest, and with devices - a lion, elephant, dragon and kangaroo - which signify Britain, India, China and Australia, the countries linked by its Imperial mail services until the Second World War.
This gorgeous wee TRINKET BOX is fashioned in machine-finished brass and carries the old COAT OF ARMS engraved on the lid. It is just 31/8" square and stands just under 2" high on small ball feet with the interior finished with a purple velvet lining. Beautiful condition. Circa 1930-1940.