La Reina Brand Old Original Orange Fruit Crate Label was Designed and lithographed by Western Litho. Co., Los Angeles in March 1952. This Early California Senorita is dressed in a flower print gown, flowing shawl, with a rose behind her ear; a comb in her hair completes the ensemble. Behind her through an arch is seen a two story hacienda, palms, eucalyptus trees and near-by mountains. The Rialto Orange Co. of Rialto, San Bernardino County, used this Vintage authentic citrus box advertising poster to label to sell their fresh orange crop. We have custom framed it in copper and glass. It measures 11 x 10 inches.
Well, I started collecting old Orange labels in 1979 when I worked in Riverside, California. The trick was to get into an old Fruit Packing Shed where unused labels could often be found in storage; left from as long as a half-century before. An old Brand "Senorita" has a fine story. I, along with a friend of mine who had been the local Sheriff once headed North in a search for the "old label". We stopped for refreshments at a nearly abandoned mining town about 100 miles North of San Bernardino. I noticed an old ramshackle bookstore and wandered over. A somewhat famous local fellow named "Three Fingered Jack" was running the store. He was "famous" because he had written a short History of the local mining towns. Of course, I bought his book and then (naturally) asked him, "Do you happen to have any of those old paper labels that used to be stuck onto the ends of the wooden fruit crates in the old days?" I was startled to see him heading for a little wooden cellar door. Down he went and emerged minutes later with a handful of Beautiful Vintage Grape Box labels. These were the Senorita Brand, a colorful work of art from a company that Three Fingered Jack had had dealings with in the old days. He seemed happy to sell them to me for a reasonable price knowing that they would become treasured and displayed works of art. As it turned out, he was quite correct. My next trip out Three Fingered Jack had passed away and his store had been cleaned out and the contents disposed of... He had passed them on just in time.
"Oranges and Mountains" Popular in crate label and post card imagery from California during the 1890’s and the early half of the last Century was the grand-scene featuring orange groves in the foreground and beautiful snowy mountains in the distance; between could be seen California Spanish Style Missions, cozy red-tile roofed homes, swaying palms and eucalyptus trees. Lemons, Oranges and Grapefruits sent to cold, freezing, blizzard prone areas and terrible rainy, drizzly, gray, depressing areas of the U.S.A. and lands beyond in handy wooden crates festooned with these small posters soon spread the idea that California had it all; sunny, warm weather and snow covered mountains “if you want ‘em”. Every corner store displayed the boxes and every kid in town took at least one crate home to use as furniture, a racecar or some other secret project. This campaign not only sold citrus fruit but also increased migration to California and raised the level of prosperity in that State.