Cats on Stamps
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From the Archive
January/February 2001 Review
Thanks are due to several readers, especially Barbara Flanagan, for kindly providing information on the cat breeds that I had some doubt about in an earlier article. They all exist, even the Alaskan Snow cat.
Not all of the new issues I noted earlier seem to have reached us here yet. The Nicaragua one has, and consists of two single stamps one being the Norwegian Forest cat illustrated here and a sheetlet of six. All are on the same greenish background, and there is a large tabby in the sheet margin. There's also a pinkish-coloured miniature sheet (MS), showing a most elegant Cream Burmese. The whole set bears a remarkable resemblance to the Liberian one reviewed in July; maybe it had the same designer, although that information is not yet to hand.
From the Ghana set I mentioned, so far the only ones to have arrived are the two colourful singles shown here: a Russian Blue and an African Shorthair. (I don't know whether the latter refers to a specific breed; if so, that also is unfamiliar to me.)
Antigua & Barbuda produced a new set of designs; after the marvellous 1999 group of kittens, these are certainly 'different'. As you can see from the MS, there seems to be a marine theme rather odd, when you consider how much our average feline friend dislikes water! The accompanying sheetlet has six portraits of rather cross-looking cats (because of the water, maybe?), while the colours used bring to mind the word 'garish'.
The watery theme is repeated in a new collection from Tuvalu, but this time as a pleasant background, of blue Pacific seas and green islands, to the delicate pictures of six cats. One sheetlet has close-ups of their heads, while the second shows entire portraits of the same breeds. Both sheets bear the same text telling us a little about the island nation. There's a separate MS of a rangy, red tabby Oriental Shorthair, apparently on a beach.
In February 1999 Tanzania began a long series of Cats of the World, and the last part of this has finally become available, nearly two years later, as a sheetlet of six as well as this nice little MS of an American Shorthair and kitten. The whole series runs to thirty-four stamps and five MSs.
Another sheetlet of six, which seems to be almost the standard format for new issues at the moment, comes from Angola. It consists of what appear to be Victorian-style paintings of mischievous cats and kittens, of which one is shown here. I'm afraid I have no information at all about this issue.
Rounding off the new African sets, another one has emerged from the Republic of Guinea, although the stamps are actually dated 1999. There is a strip of three showing a Bengal, a Birman Sealpoint and a Cornish Rex; then in addition there are three pretty MSs. Each has one of the stamps from the strip, but with different-coloured borders and more cats in a uniform margin design. However, a fourth MS (pictured) has an additional stamp a Sorrel Abyssinian and a different surrounding design with some rather exotic cats (including what is printed as a Japanese Boptail), two butterflies and a couple of rodents! This is a very attractive and well-designed group.
There have been some more 'doubtful' (or illegal) stamps supposedly from ex-Russian republics such as I have mentioned before, but one small sheetlet is worth picturing, I think. It bears the name Kosova, with postage rates A, B and C on the three stamps. Whether you could go to the Balkans and actually find or use these stamps I very much doubt, but the cats are nicely pictured.
Finally, Japan is well ahead with advertising the international philatelic exhibition PhilaNippon '01. The accompanying illustration of a puppy and kitten is one of ten, free-form, self-adhesive stamps that have been issued on a panel promoting that event. The others include three birds, some pansies, two Japanese people and some 'kiddie cartoons'.
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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 2001: reproduced here by the author from June 2005