The hidden date for this stamp can be found on the thigh of the fencer. It is printed with a light reddish ink that can be hard to see.
Pushbutton destruction has made combat sports seem like pleasant anachronisms. However, such activities have a physical and some say a moral value. The Olympic combat sports are represented in these semi-postals by boxing, fencing and judo. Swords were so effective in war that they were recognized as power symbols. Sword carrying is said to have created certain social customs. A friendly handshake immobilized the sword hand. Buttons are on the right side of men's clothing because in cold weather it was necessary to hold the right hand inside the coat to keep it warm and ready for combat. Prior to 1500, swords were heavy instruments used to hack through armour. The premium was on strength rather then skill. Guns made armour obsolete. When freed from heavy encumbrances, warriors became more agile and evasive. A lighter weapon was called for and the long slim rapier appeared. Sword fighting became more scientific and fencing masters set up schools all across Europe. Lessons were costly and strictly private so as to preserve the secrecy of techniques. In Canada, fencing was popular in the years before Confederation. Skill with a sword was useful because people occasionally fought duels. After 1949, the sport grew substantially, spurred on by fencing masters who immigrated from Europe. James Hill of Toronto designed these stamps.