The Mystery of

the United Empire Loyalist

Donation Stamp

 

 With a history spanning more than ninety years, the United Empire Loyalists' Association of Canada has born witness to many of the great events of the Twentieth Century as it looks forward to many generations to come.

Throughout the years, UEL collectors have amassed a veritable museum of books, memorabilia, artifacts and documents which have been - for the most part - identifiable and authenticated.

One aspect of Grand River Branch's mandate is the collection and preservation of United Empire Loyalist artifacts for the elucidation and enjoyment of both current and future UEL's.

Enter the World of Ebay... perhaps the world's largest continuously running cyber-auction site with every conceivable product, service... even houses... being sold to the highest bidder.

The items placed for auction run the gamut from the absurd to the exotic with corresponding winning bids ranging from pennies to hundreds of thousands of dollars.  As sellers empty their attics, basements and barns, occasionally an item will appear with little to no description other than a picture.

So it is with the following stamp.  Several knowledgeable UEL's have personally seen this collectible and have been unable to explain the significance or history behind it.  A true mystery, it begs the question:

" What Is it? "



Details:                          

3.0 cm by 4.5 cm, Blue ink on white background, perforated edges, gummed back.

Engraving:

"  United Empire Loyalists

Donation Stamp

 

Lick The Stamp to

Lick the Hun

Canadian Aviation Fund

British American Bank Note Co. Ltd.  Ottawa  "

Image:

  Three bi-planes are engaged in air-to-air combat with a zeppelin, which is depicted as having been struck and aflame.

Notes:

Other than the above text and image, there is no mention of year of issue, denomination or purchase price.

Theories and Rationale:

1) The expression 'Lick the Hun' most assuredly refers to a war with Germany.

2) Insofar as biplanes and zeppelins were mostly obsolete at the advent of the Second World War, it's fairy reasonable to assume this stamp dates to the First World War.

3) 'Donation Stamp' suggests the purchaser was contributing to a war effort and 'United Empire Loyalists' implies the UELAC may have been the organizer and/or sponsor of this effort.

4) The United Empire Loyalists' Association of Canada, formally organized and granted a charter in 1914, might very well have been active during the time of the First World War which began with the assassination of the Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria-Hungary on 28 June 1914 and ended on 28 June 1919 with the Treaty of Versailles, signed by Germany and the Allies.

5) 'Canadian Aviation Fund' is less obvious, though an excerpt from National Defence Canada's website hints of the need for funding for the fledgling Canadian Aviation Corps in 1914:

"... When Canada began to organize the first overseas contingent, the Minister of Militia and Defence, Major- General Sir Sam Hughes, offered to provide the British Secretary for War with an aviation corps of six expert pilots. The Minister had to be content with sending only two officers and one NCO as members of the "Canadian Aviation Corps." CAC authorization was granted to spend up to five thousand dollars for one Aircraft including accessories. The Aircraft purchased was an American built Burgess-Dunne biplane of unique design, somewhat resembling modern swept-wing supersonic Aircraft. In October 1914, the CAC made up of three personnel and one Aircraft, accompanied the First Contingent overseas."

Canada's Air Force, History and Origins  

6) If the above rationale is accepted as plausible (albeit incomplete), one might expect a general search on a variety of search engines would make mention of this patriotic appeal for funding via private citizen donations.  Such is not the case, as even the company which may have printed this stamp ('British American Bank Note Co., Ltd.  Ottawa') cannot be found despite a fairly exhaustive search.

As this 'Donation stamp' was apparently not intended to be used as postage, historic postage stamp guides might not include this example.

Aside from a general explanation, details surrounding the issuance of this 'Donation Stamp' are desirable:

o        Was this fund-raising effort, in fact, organized and promoted by the young UELAC?

o        If so, are there any records of such a project in the UELAC business accounting archives?

o        What methods were used to sell these stamps?

o        Was this a national project which encompassed all of Canada?

o        How many stamps were sold, at what price, how much money was raised and how long were these stamps sold?

o        Is there any record of the concept origin and if so, who were the principle organisers?

Unquestionably, The Mystery of the United Empire Loyalists' Donation Stamp has a resolution... and therein lies a challenge to both our academics and the mildly curious.

Your ever-inquisitive Grand River Branch webmaster would be pleased and grateful to receive any and all explanations or theories.

Regrettably, winning prizes of cars, cruises and holidays will not be forthcoming... however, if it's any consolation... this webmaster would be pleased to reprint the explanations for the enlightenment of all.

Until then, the Mystery continues...

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  Page 1      Page 2      Page 3       Page 4       Page 5        Page 7       Page 8