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From the Archive
May 2002 Review
Readers have probably noticed that a number of the stamps I review are not actually brand new, some having been issued a year or more previously, and that's the case again here. The time lapse happens because stamps, especially from more distant countries, can take quite a while from their issue date in their country of origin to becoming available here. In addition, it sometimes takes time for the cat-stamp fraternity to notice or realise that there is a cat there at all!
Two issues are more recent, one of course being The Cat that Walked by Himself from the splendid Great Britain Kipling set issued in January 2002 (left) and mentioned in the previous review. The other is another first, consisting of four attractive full cat portraits from the Republic of Cyprus. The one pictured (right) is a fine grey.
More Christmas cats: on the annual Pro Juventute (youth) set for 2001 from Switzerland, with one showing Santa and his cat gazing at a wintry scene (left); and in the Micronesia Christmas 2001 issue. This latter, comprising four stamps and an MS, has on one stamp Santa riding a large cat through the sky (above right).
From the same part of the world, the Marshall Islands produced in August 2001 a sheetlet of 12 paintings for the PhilaNippon 2001 stamp exhibition; two of them are cats.
The remaining items also all date from 2001. Togo, in West Africa, came up with a sheetlet of six different breeds, plus three single stamps and a miniature sheet (MS). These are portraits mostly against a background of buildings, presumably to represent the cat's domesticity. The set is quite attractive, although the heads on the single stamps really do look disembodied! Shown is the single stamp of a Sphynx (left). From Japan came a pair of 'fun' stamps that illustrate, I believe, the admirable theme of 'Let's keep our towns safe.' They feature a girl and a boy with various birds and animals, including two tabby cats (above right).
Two of the ex-Soviet bloc republics issued stamps including cats. On one hand, Moldavia had a set of four for International Children's Day on 1 June; six-year-old Ion Sestacovski painted 'My House' very colourfully, with several small animals including a cat sitting outside it (left). Slovenia, on the other hand, had a cat with a fingerprint as its body (right) to celebrate World Animal Day on 4 October with little pawprints on the sheet margin.
Finally this time, Romania has for some time been using what I presume are surplus stocks of earlier stamps, by overprinting them with new values and all kinds of little symbols to blot out the original value. In August 2001 a group of these overprints included the 1994 kittens stamp from the 'Young Animals' set, imaginatively overprinted with a computer mouse! I obtained them from a source in Romania, who told me that these stamps are hard to find as the Post Office snapped up most of them immediately, but I do not know whether that is true or just good 'sales talk'.
It was gratifying to have my cat stamp collection featured in the 'Showcase' article in the February 2001 Stamp Magazine, which I know some readers saw. It all helps to publicise both cats and the fun of stamp collecting!
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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 2002: reproduced here by the author from August 2004