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Christmas Gifts to the Troops - Boer War


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Good Afternoon Everyone.......

Just a few pictures with regards to the other types of tins that were Christmas Presents to the Troops.....

Only this time to The Boer War......

Had to add this after reading about the Princess Mary's Tin...... A friend has a large collection of these Princess Mary's Tins including and officially issued silver one.....

Mike

Edited by QSAMIKE
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They look like Cadbury Chocolates! That is the coolest thing I've seen all day.

Yes it is the Cadbury...... They were the only one to use the wood shavings as a buffer and also put in a picture of the Queen but not in all tins.......

I also have full Fry's and Rowntree's tins....... Just missed out in a full Scottish tin due to a computer glitch.......

Mike

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Yes it is the Cadbury...... They were the only one to use the wood shavings as a buffer and also put in a picture of the Queen but not in all tins.......

I also have full Fry's and Rowntree's tins....... Just missed out in a full Scottish tin due to a computer glitch.......

Mike

That is really something. I just read the history of the Cadbury company on their website. They have been around since 1854 and supplied candy to troops since 1900. From what I can see, they are the oldest continuously running candy factory in the world. Almost 200 years!

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They were a Quaker Family and have always remained true to the non-violence teachings of that sect. During both WWs

thay served as medical orderlies and stretcher bearers - suffering many casualties. Mervyn

Good Morning Mervyn........

All three chocolate companies / families were Quakers and it was only at the personal request of Queen Victoria that the chocolate boxes and contents were made......

Mike

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Those tins are great Mike. I had a 1900 tin in my hand once, it contained some chocolate and newish looking straw. The little old lady in the shop wanted far more than it was worth and wouldn't haggle, so I left empty handed. I sometimes wish I had bought it even though it would have been daylight robbery.

Tony

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Thank You for the kind comments......

The medals I am looking for are few and far between now so the tins and other collectables are the things that keep this old boy happy LOL......

Mike

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Queen Victoria's Chocolate Gifts for her Men at War

In 1899, British soldiers and sailors were in South Africa, fighting the second Boer War1 which lasted from October, 1899 to May, 1902. Queen Victoria was concerned about the morale of her army and navy and wanted to do something to lift their spirits. She had heard that officers had gained much pleasure in receiving gifts from home so she decided she would send chocolate, a luxury item to the majority of people in those days. She would send chocolate to all of her army and navy serving in South Africa (including Australian contingents) as a Christmas/New Year gift in 1899/1900.

Joining Forces

The chocolate manufacturer, Cadbury, which since around 1854 had a Royal Warrant to supply Queen Victoria with cocoa and chocolate, was contacted and requested to produce the royal bars of chocolate, each in its own individual tin. This put Richard and George Cadbury in a dilemma because as Quakers they were pacifists and did not agree with the war. However, they did not want to refuse a request from the Queen. To prevent their confectionery rivals from accusing them of going against their principles, Richard and George's solution was to invite fellow Quakers, Joseph Storrs Fry 2 and Joseph Rowntree in a temporary three-way partnership to complete the order.

The Tins

Forty thousand tins, designed and made by Fry, were produced in two different sizes. The larger of the two tins is 15 x 9cm (6 x 3½ inches) and it has a gold-coloured rim around the edge of the lid; this contained two layers of chocolate. The slightly smaller or rather thinner tin, which measures 16 x 8cms (6¼ x 3¼ inches) has a blue rim around the edge of the lid, and contained one layer of chocolate. The design on the lid of both sizes is the same; in the middle of the red lid of the tin is a gold-coloured embossed picture of Queen Victoria's head. To the left is Queen Victoria's insignia, and to the right are the words South Africa 1900 and is inscribed 'I wish you a happy New Year' and signed 'Victoria' running along the bottom.

It was decided, by all three companies, that the tins would carry no brand name. However, Queen Victoria was not amused about this decision; she wanted her army and navy to know that she was sending them quality British chocolate. As a compromise, the Cadbury name appeared on interior packaging of the chocolate. The tins remained unbranded.

It can be assumed that the soldiers and sailors appreciated their gifts, some of which were saved, often complete with the chocolate bar as a souvenir, or as a gift for their mother, wife or girlfriend.

Tin Full of Mementoes

The empty tins had a more sombre use for the men who died in battle: the tins, containing their few personal belongings, were sent home to the fallen soldier's or sailor's family.

The tins were not big enough to hold much, depending on which size the tin was used. They may have included items such as medals, talisman, coins, jewellery, photos, documents or letters and the soldier's identity disc, also known as a 'dog tag', which was first used in the Second Boer War.

Collector's Item

The tins have become collectable items. While some have been kept in the family, as treasured items, other are sold at boot sales, antique shops and fairs, and quite regularly on eBay. The monetary value of the tins is dependent on their general condition, and whether or not they contain the original chocolate. The smaller of the tins, with the blue rim around the tin, are said to be scarcer, and are therefore more valuable than the larger version.

Some of the tins are displayed in museums, particularly those specialising in Second Boer War memorabilia.

Mike

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Mike,

Thank you for sharing this detailed write up. What prices have you seen for items in excellent to good condition?

Good Morning Paul

That is a very subjective question.......

There are prices for the two different sizes of boxes and then again if they contain the chocolate or not...... So you are looking at 8 different prices for good condition to excellent examples......

But I will try.....

I have normally kept records only for full tins.......

Mint to Excellent Condition / Complete with Contents - Cadbury - $381.00 US, April 2014

Excellent Condition / Complete with Contents - Cadbury - $363.00 US, February 2013

Excellent Condition / Complete with Contents - Rowntree - $724.00 US, May 2013 (Complete with several letters and cap badge)

Very Good Condition / Complete with Contents - Rowntree - $220.00 US, November 2008

Good to Very Good Condition / Complete with Contents - Fry's - $236.00 US, December 2012

Empty Tin Very Good to Excellent - Large Size (92mm x 152mm x 22mm) Rowntree and Fry - $146.00 US 2011 / $226.00 US July 2014

Empty Tin Very Good to Excellent - Small Size (81mm x 158mm x 22mm) Cadbury - $92.00 US 2010 / $215.00 US 2014

There is also a book on the subject that shows up on ebay occasionally called:

The Story of the Queen's Chocolate Tin by Lenaid Kebar, Copyright 1997

Mike

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At one time in the shop we had the Queen Victoria tin with chocolate untouched and in it's original straw. The back of the

tin was scratched with the message that it had been delivered to the Adjutant - a Captain - in Mafeking and during the Siege.

Presumably they must have managed tins for all of the British Combatants ? Mervyn

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Very nice collection of chocolate and cigarette tins. I have seen the Boer War Cadburys tin quite a few times at car boot sales and flea markets. Always highly priced though. I have in my collection some Cadbury chocolate tins from Coronations and KGV Jubilee. I know these are non military but thought I'd share them with you.

Top left is 1902 King Edward VII Coronation, right is 1911 King George V Coronation. Inside is a note marked, present from the Mayor of Borough of Kensington, London.

Bottom is King George V Silver Jubilee 1935 from the Mayor of Coventry.

All i believe contained chocolate but contents long gone.

Edited by muckaroon1960
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Great to see these, the Victoria tin at top left is the one I see for sale. The Devons tin is superb and must be a rare one I assume.

Yes the Devons box is very very rare and hard to find........

And yet they have shown up on ebay......

Mike

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  • 5 years later...

Good Evening Everyone...….

As everyone knows that the Princess of Wales and later Queen Alexandra was very interested in the British Soldier and Sailor especially the wounded.....

I have heard of rumors that she also commissioned a Chocolate box in the same theme of the Victorian box but the war ended before Christmas.....


These boxes had been started to be manufactured with some of the boxes completed but not filled..... A halt was put on the manufacture and the boxes that were made were filled and saved, I understand that later they were distributed to the soldiers that were still in hospital due to wounds rec'd during the war.....

I have never seen one before but have found the following and if true hope that this is one.....

One other piece of information that I have is that this size and shape of box with the same picture ( with the exception of the Christmas 1902) was given to wounded troops in W.W.1..... The WW1 box has a paper label which is often lost or torn off where as this one is painted.....

Hope someone out there has some good news for me.....

Mike

 

Thanks to Nevill on the ABW form I have found out this......

Mike,


The chocolate tins were presented to widows and orphans of soldiers who had died in South Africa, during a Christmas dinner on 27th December 1902. Invitations were sent out to 1,545 guests (668 widows and 877 children). The dinner took place at the Alexandra Trust, Old Street, London.


39 widows and 42 children were unable to attend, and their gifts were forwarded to them. An article in the Yarmouth Independent (3rd January 1903) states that widows received boxes of chocolate, and orphans toys. Those involved in the organisation & execution of the dinner also received the chocolate tins. This suggests that roughly 700-800 tins were issued.
 

Neville

 

 

QUEENALEXANDRIA.jpg

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