Antique seed packets are wonderful little works of art for decorating and interesting colorful items for collecting. Though not large, there is a collector base for antique seed packets. Of the antique seed packets available you will find two predominate companies, Burt's seed packets and Card Seed Company. It is very difficult to find antique seed packets from popular companies like Burpee or Ferry Seed.
When collecting antique seed packets you will often find the same exact image is used on different company's packets. The reason being is that a few large lithograph companies would print these with just the image of the flower or vegetable and later print the company name as the packets were ordered. This is very noticeable on 1930-1950's period seed packets, Schmidt Lithography company was the major printer of seed packets during that time. Of the very early printers of antique seed packets you will find Genesse Valley Lithograph Co. who printed many of the Burts seed packets.
Burt's seed packets are probably the most sought after of the antique seed packets that are fairly available. From what I have heard the company had a very large left over inventory and decided to sell them sometime in the 1960's. They ran an ad in the Antique Trader and collectors, decorators and dealers grabbed them up. These seed packets date from the 1910's. Burt's seed packets were found in 4 sizes, three of which I have available, the larger collection packages have become tough to find. You'll also find some very early stock seed packets (no company name), which were printed by Genesse Valley and probably turned up in the Burt's seed packets find. Below are some examples of Burt's seed packets.
The Card Seed Co. packets turned up sometime in the 1970's. The story I've heard is the company went out business in the 1920's and all the old packets, store displays and posters were sealed up in an old building to be discovered 50 years later.
Card Seed Co. packets can be found in four different sizes and a variety of styles. The most popular one is the Card Seed Co. vegetable with the black border and vegetable over a black triangle, with row crops in background. These date from the 1920's. There are also a couple flower packets from that period, but these are not seen often. Genesee Valley Litho also printed these.
Of the earlier Card Seed Co. packets there is a primitively printed off white packet, also a couple similar flower ones which are smaller. There is also a series of Card Seed Co. packets from the 1900's with some nice color and background. These were printed by Stecher Litho Co. and Dunston of Dunkirk. Below are some examples of Card Seed Co. antique seed packets.