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The group, two of which are shown here, is composed of seven used and one unused envelope. Each features one or more characters from the book which, says the auction house, are beautifully hand illustrated in the style of Sir John Tenniell.

Party time

Featured are The Mad Hatter’s Tea Party (above); The Cheshire Cat as a court page; The Parrot in legal robes; The White Rabbit in a playing card tunic (also above); The Dodo; The Mad Hatter; Alice riding side-saddle on a stag and an unused envelope showing The Mad Hatter running.

They were sent to a GJ Allman Esq and all but one have been used in Ireland. Sent from Dublin to Galway, they feature Queen Victoria 1d stamps.

Four of the envelopes bear a family crest In Tenebris Lucet Fido embossed on the flap, which may help identify the illustrator. The vendor is a direct descendant of the addressee and they have been in the family for almost 150 years. The vendor’s grandfather emigrated from Ireland to Australia and presumably brought the envelopes with him.

Abacus is offering the envelopes individually: seven with an estimate of Aus$500 and the unused example at Aus$250.

While the group is being sold in Australia, those in the UK will have a chance to view the envelopes in September. Torsten Weller from Abacus is taking all eight to show at the Stampex philatelic exhibition at the Business Design Centre in Islington from September 12-15.