Cats on Stamps
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From the Archive
March/April 2000 Review
A colourful series of fairy tales began from Hungary in 1959 too. From left to right above, Sleeping Beauty has a small cat sleeping at the foot of her bed, and the witch in The Babes in the Wood is accompanied by her black cat. The following year, a second series included two cats: one sitting at the very end of The Big Turnip, and the other a dandy Puss in Boots. (Charles Perrault's famous Puss has appeared in many different guises on stamps; you can see some of them here.)
Belgium showed a porcelain cat in a 1960 crafts set (left), and Luxembourg a grey striped cat in 1961 in an animal preservation set (inner right). And there was a splendid set from the then Portuguese territory of Timor, illustrating native art; the top value (outer right) shows a hut on stilts, with what seems to be a cat sitting on the platform. This was not an easy set to find.
In the early 1960s, more fairy tales featuring cats appeared on stamps: from left to right above, Hänsel and Gretel from Germany, The Big Turnip again from Bulgaria, and another version of Sleeping Beauty the same design from West Germany and West Berlin, which issued its own stamps between 1948 and reunification. Another whole series of tales came from East Germany later in the 1960s, with stories shown in blocks of six; several have cats (not pictured). The Netherlands welfare sets added to their earlier cat with a Roman cat sculpture in 1962, and some kittens in 1964.
But the big event of 1964 was the first-ever set dedicated entirely to cats, a marvellous group of ten from Poland, showing our feline friends in poses familiar to all cat people. I still think these are some of the best cat stamps ever. And with them, the number of cat stamps started to multiply . . . and so we'll leave the history and move on some 35 years. Maybe I can review some from these years later on.
Continue to Part 2 of this review
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Our featured feline Chico (see head of the page) belonged to a lady in the Swiss village of Chesières who lived near the ground-floor office where I worked in the mid-1980s. Every so often he liked to pass by, spend a little time with us and check we were doing everything properly.
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Article written and first published during 2000: reproduced here by the author from February 2006