HMS Nancy gets stamp of approval

  • Trina Berlo, Staff
  • |
  • May 31, 2012

    In the mail. Ron Watson and Manfred Leimgardt at Nancy Island with a display of the stamp commemorating the HMS Nancy as part of the War of 1812 bicentennial. Watson illustrated the ship and Leimgardt, a member of the Georgian Bay Coin and Stamp Club, holds the licence for the stamp. Staff photo: Trina Berlo
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  • WASAGA BEACH – Manfred Leimgardt, a member of the Georgian Bay Coin and Stamp Club, is the proud proprietor of a stamp featuring the HMS Nancy.In the winter, Leimgardt was meeting with Wasaga Beach Provincial Park staffer Marilyn Beecroft, brainstorming about how to promote the upcoming War of 1812 bicentennial.

    “I thought it would be a great idea to come out with a national stamp commemorating the event,” said Leimgardt.

    Over the years, river sediment accumulated around the charred hull of the ship after the HMS Nancy was taken down by the Americans in August 1814, eventually forming Nancy Island.

    The historic site, operated by Ontario Parks, will be an important part of the 200th anniversary celebrations over the next two years.

    Leimgardt, a Stayner resident, said he contacted the office of the postmaster general in Ottawa to see about creating an HMS Nancy stamp.

    The idea was to use an illustration of the ship by Wasaga Beach artist Ron Watson, an illustrator for the Canadian War Plane Heritage Foundation in Hamilton, Canada’s largest aviation museum.

    Watson had completed seven coloured pencil drawings last year, commissioned for the new welcome centre at Nancy Island, which opened officially on May 24.

    Six drawings depict the characters pivotal to the British defence, including the ship’s cook, a Native, a French Canadian, a red coat, a seaman and Lt. Worsley, the captain of the Nancy.

    “They all played an important role in defending the Nancy,” said Watson.

    He also completed an illustration of the Nancy herself.

    Leimgardt said he sent the drawing of the three-masted schooner to Ottawa for review and it was approved in two weeks.

    “They said it was a great idea, and the stamps arrived,” said Leimgardt. “They are selling themselves.”

    He said 3,000 have sold and so far and they are only available at the Welcome Centre.

    The stamps are valid and cost $2 each, to cover the cost of printing. They hold a current market value, meaning right now they are equal to a 61-cent stamp.

    Leimgardt said all letters mailed from Wasaga Beach with the HMS Nancy stamp will be postmarked with a special commemorative seal that has also been approved by Canada Post.

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