Bicycle-with-sidecar envelope or……

A club member sent me a copy of a Danish First Day Cover from the series 'Stories of the post and telephone service' ( 686/7) in the series European stamps, with on it a bicycle with sidecar, at least that's what it looks like at first sight:

The Danish First Day Cover

In a closer investigation mr. van Leeuwen found a license plate on the bottom of the cycle, which gave rose to the question whether it could concern a motorcycle? On seeing the FDC I could immediately answer with a straightforward yes. Although I had never seen the envelope itself, I immediately recognised the motorcycle as one standing in the Stubbekobing Radio og Motor cycelmuseum, of the make Elleham. I once have been sitting on such a motorcycle of a Danish collector, and it is a strange experience with "nothing" between the legs.

The Danish stamp with an Elleham aeroplane

In fact Elleham was an aeroplane constructor, as can be seen on a stamp of the Danish post (12-09-1956 Mi no.363). As so many technical manufacturers those days, the aeroplane constructors were looking for other markets to spread their interests. Mr. Elleham was a techniques enthusiastic. He built motorcycles, automobiles and aeroplanes. He was also the inventor of the bread cutting machine and was the first European to fly a plane.

In 1904 the first Elleham motorcycle was completed. Elleham was inspired by the scooter-principal. His motorcycle had a French Peugeot engine of 734 cc which developed 2,75 PK. In 1909 Elleham stopped the production of his motorcycle. From 1904 to 1909 slightly over 1000 motorcycles left his factory. Whether these motorcycles were used by the post, and how much, is impossible to tell for sure, but, looking at this envelope, it will at least have been one.

Detail of the first day cover

Hans de Kloet


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