Boer War Page 91q

Rare Boer War Discoveries
Below are some of the key items the Canadian Boer War Museum has added to its collections
in its ongoing efforts to preserve important Canadian heritage memorabilia from this period.

Great Canadian Heritage Discoveries 2005

Victorian & Edwardian Canadian Pin Trays
Great Canadian Heritage Treasure
Pin Tray, Col. William Otter, 1900
Tin tray - Size - 2.75" x 3.75"
Found - Pottageville, ON

Fabulous Find 2002: Col. William Otter

A very rare pin tray featuring Canada's own Commander of the First Contingent, that showed up at a rural Ontario auction.

It is extremely rare to find memorabilia plates, jugs, cups, tins, or busts that feature Canadian officers (though British figures are common).

This fabulous pin tray of Col. Otter, and a beaver, stems from a glorious time when women did lots of sewing. If you had a hole in a sock it would be mended instantly - with the aid of Col. Otter, no doubt, holding the pins - unlike nowadays, when, if you show up with a hole, the Mrs. just shrugs, throws out the sock, and you have to wait, wearing a mismatch - days or weeks - till she goes shopping...

Some claim the tray was designed to hold pins for women doing sewing; others say it was used to hold tips in finer drinking establishments.

Because pins or coins would be placed in them, their fine metal portraits are often disfigured from usage, like Otter's. It is rare to find them in exquisite shape like the others shown here.

(Please note the resemblance to Canadian history professor Desmond Morton, whose great grandfather he is!)

BP: Right, discovered in 2004, is a pin tray featuring "RSS Baden-Powell," also from 1900, when he was simply a famous Colonel, not a Lord. The tray is in immaculate shape, suggesting someone treasured this, rather than used it in the 100 years since it was issued.

Bobs: Below, a tray for Lord Roberts, also in fabulous shape. There is more memorabilia on Lord Roberts available than any other Boer War figure. Still a tray - especially in this shape - is a rare item to find.

Great Canadian Heritage Treasure
Pin Tray, RSS Baden-Powell, 1900
Tin tray - Size - 3.25" x 4.25"
Found - Dundas, ON
Labeled Elliot & Fry Photo,
Great Canadian Heritage Treasure
Pin Tray, Lord Roberts, 1900
Tin tray - Size - 3.25" x 4.25"
Found - Dundas, ON
Signed A LLoyd & Sons Ltd., London
Below left, is another exquisite antique pin tray of Lord Roberts, in immaculate condition, from a time when everyone wanted a "Souvenir" of the war in South Africa, to display in their homes.

The Globe Toronto & Bobs: An ultra rare discovery is another "Made in Canada" pin tray, produced as an advertising memento of the war, by "The Globe, Toronto, Canada's National Newspaper." It features a "bust" of Lord Roberts looming over the old Globe newspaper building in Toronto, Ontario.

This tray is made of much heavier tinware than the other items because it may have been meant as a small ash tray. Unlike the other pin trays, this shows signs of heavy usage, including evidence that cigarette stubs were once "butted out" on the General.

Great Canadian Heritage Treasure
Pin Tray, Lord Roberts, 1900
Tin tray - Size - 3"d
Found - Dundas, ON
Great Canadian Heritage Treasure
Pin Tray, The Globe & Lord Roberts, 1900
Tin tray - Size - 4"
Found - Milton, ON
Signed, The Globe Toronto, Canada's National Newspaper
Great Canadian Heritage Treasure
Ceramic Pin Tray, Lord Roberts, The Army, 1900
Ceramic dish - Size - 3.25"
Found - Toronto, ON
Signed The Foley China, England, Rd#354781

Lord Roberts - The Army: The tiny ceramic pin tray left, featured a common Foley pattern, used to celebrate "The Army" with Lord Roberts at the centre, protected by a colonial infantryman and a volunteer, two major groups who came to defend the Royal Lion on top. In their honour it is labelled: "Colonies - Supporters of the Empire - Volunteers,"

Some soldiers, like Fred Living (right) - who was killed at Paardeberg - wrote back as special correspondents to fill in their readers with all the happenings on the battlefield.

Newspapers, like the Globe, carried regular columns on the progress of the war, and the exploits of Canadians serving in South Africa.

This pin tray is in a bowl shape, being a full inch deep and wonderfully scalloped. It is just over 3" wide.

In spite of its tiny size, it gets the full Foley treatment on the back, and the label "England," introduced by British china manufacturers like Wedgewood after 1891, until regulations enforced the "Made in England" designation in 1921.

The registration mark can be looked up in an antique reference book and tells us that this piece was made in 1900. It is not a modern repro.

The Soldier's Monument: Another rare "Canada specific" item, featuring the "Soldier's Monument, London, Canada, In Memory of the South African Heroes" was probably meant as a pin tray too, since it is very shallow, and is only a tiny 5" across. It could have no other use, though it's amazing mint condition - without a scratch - makes one wonder. But then perhaps maybe it was bought by a husband for his beloved, hoping she would get the hint - about his socks, that is. Apparently this proved not a fruitful exercise. Even in those days, some women just refused to sew... But it left us an immaculate Canadian Heritage item. And another version, below.

World War I: Only a dozen years after the Boer War ended, World War I began, and new pin trays were trotted out, featuring Lord Jellicoe, head of the British Navy, and General French, head of the Army, flanking Lord Kitchener who was Minister for War. The latter two were Boer War generals.

Great Canadian Heritage Treasure
Ceramic Pin Tray, Boer War Monument, London, ON 1907
Ceramic plate - Size - 5"
Found - St. Thomas, ON
Signed, Victoria Austria
Great Canadian Heritage Treasure
Ceramic Pin Tray, Boer War Monument, London, ON 1907
Ceramic plate - Size - 5"
Found - Brantford, ON
Great Canadian Heritage Treasure
Pin Tray, Earl Jellicoe, Lord Kitchener, Gen. French 1914
Tin tray - Size - 3" x 4.25"
Found - Dundas, ON

Victorian & Edwardian Canadian Royalty Pin Trays
Great Canadian Heritage Treasure
Pin Tray, Queen Victoria's Diamond Jubilee, 1897
Tin tray - Size - 3" x 3.75"
Found - Clappison's Corners, ON
The Diamond Jubilee: Pin trays had already been introduced before the war, to celebrate Queen Victoria's Diamond Jubilee, honouring her for sixty years on the throne.

Coronation - 1902: Queen Victoria died in January 1901; her son, who had been Prince of Wales for about 60 years came to the throne as Edward VII with the beautiful and popular Queen Alexandra. The ceramic pin tray (below) celebrates their coronation in 1902.

Great Canadian Heritage Treasure
Ceramic Pin Tray, Coronation Edward VII, 1902
Ceramic dish - Size - 3.5" x 5"
Found - Toronto, ON
The Coronation 1902: Pin trays were also made in ceramic shapes of different kinds. A common one was this extremely small and shallow "Coronation" tray (below) of Edward VII and Alexandra, falsely labelled "Crowned 26th June 1902."
Great Canadian Heritage Treasure
Ceramic Pin Tray, Queen Alexandra & King Edward VII, 1902
Ceramic tray - Size - 3" x 5.5"
Found - Toronto, ON
Unsigned, Labeled "Crowned June 26th 1902"
Lest you think this is therefore rare, be reminded that the date had been set perhaps a year beforehand, so that preparations could be begun. That also benefitted all the ceramic producers of memorabilia items that would sell like hotcakes when the big event arrived.

Two days before the coronation Edward was stricken with perityphlitis, and needed a serious operation. When he recovered, he was finally crowned on Aug. 9, 1902. Since then almost all the memorabilia has the wrong date.

The rare item, in this case, is the one with the right date.

Below, the shame of a pin tray, one of the most beautiful faces in the world scratched by pins, like her heart was stabbed by Bertie.

Coronation 1911: Bertie died in 1910 and was followed by his son, whose coronation was celebrated with another ceramic pin tray below left.

Great Canadian Heritage Treasure
Ceramic Pin Tray, Coronation George V, 1911
Ceramic dish - Size - 4.5"
Found - Toronto, ON
Signed BO& NS, England, AD 1858

Below, we have finally left the realm of pin trays. This is as shallow as the coronation tray above, but is extra long.

We are probably looking at a card tray featuring a very common "Dominion of Canada" pattern, showing 7 provinces, and manufactured in 1897, in commemoration of the Queen of Canada's Diamond Jubilee, to which Prime Minister Wilfrid Laurier went.

The trip paid off; he came back as "Sir" Wilfrid Laurier, knighted by the Queen of Canada.

Great Canadian Heritage Treasure
Ceramic Card Tray, Queen Victoria, 1897
Ceramic dish - Size - 3" x 8.5"
Found - Milton, ON
Labelled Dominion of Canada, Stamped Reg'd 1900

c Goldi Productions Ltd. 1996 & 2000