Cats on Stamps
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From the Archive
December 2003 Review
In March 2000 I began a series of articles for The Cat, the bimonthly magazine of the UK Cats Protection organisation, about new and recent stamp issues from around the world on which any domestic cat appeared. The column appeared at intervals until towards the end of 2003 when it was decided to discontinue it, but all are now available from our archive (see the Feline Philately index).
I shall now be continuing the series here at Purr 'n' Fur three, possibly four times a year.
This first article will bring the information up to date, from August until December 2003, and will include a listing of all stamps I know of that include cats for the year 2003.
Appearing just too late for that final Cat article was a set of six stamps from France in August under the title 'Destinées romanesques', a title I am still trying to translate satisfactorily. It features characters from French literature, such as Esmeralda, The Count of Monte Cristo, and Claudine. I believe this last to be one of Colette's characters, and so there is a grey, long-haired cat by her side. There is also a sheetlet that includes all six stamps against an elegant 'period' background.
It is quite usual for cat stamps either not to reach these shores for some time after issue, or for them not to come to my attention as including cats. One such was issued in March 2003 by the Republic of China (Taiwan), and has four stamps entitled 'Caring Hearts' and including intertwined hearts. Love for animals is depicted as a girl with cats and dogs.
Serbia is now an independent nation again, and during 2003 an attractive sheet of 16 stamps appeared picturing famous Serbian actors. One of them, Ljubinka Bobic, who died in 1978, is shown holding a pretty white cat (left, but you'll probably have to buy the whole sheet to obtain it).
Looking back even earlier, to 2002, is a set bearing the name of Guinea that I had not seen before, although they could be bogus stamps. However, they are attractive and so I'll add them here (right).
Another recently discovered cat is on a stamp from the Ukraine that appeared in December 2002: these are beautiful productions showing traditional costumes (left). One of them has a family dressed for the Day of the Saviour, and there is a cat with them.
St Thomas and Prince comes up now and then with some interesting (if expensive) items, although again I would not guarantee that they are real stamps. A sheetlet of nine portrays Celebrated People old and new, an eclectic selection including the Pope and Walt Disney. It's irritating as no names are given. There is a fine cat on one stamp, perhaps meant to be the Cheshire Cat (but is that Lewis Carroll there?). Another recent sheetlet of six has three cats and three dogs, each with a small portrait of Baden-Powell and supposedly related to the 2002 Scout Jamboree in Thailand. There's also a beautiful cat in the margin of the miniature sheet (MS) to this set.
There have been several sets showing Japanese art this year, and I know of two that include cats. From Sierra Leone comes a set called Ghosts and Demons, with Kuniyoshi's 'Caricatures of Actors as Three Animals playing Ken'. At least one animal is a cat, and I think two (the other is a toad).
The MS of a group from Antigua and Barbuda is 'A Girl teasing her Cat' by Taiso Yoshitoshi (it doesn't look like serious teasing! right) From the same place there is also a set of Picasso's work, from which a sheetlet of four has a wide margin with a woman holding up a black kitten.
The Netherlands frequently shows cats on its stamps, and in September there was a colourful sheetlet made up of 10 of the best photographs used by people on personalised stamp labels. One is a handsome black-and-white cat.
Finally two issues from November: Belgium produced a sheetlet of five stamps to celebrate 50 years of Belgian television, with one showing a woman holding up a black cat (left). The second issue is from Sweden (right), where a Christmas booklet has a painting on the cover that includes a cat, although there are no cats on the stamps themselves.
As I write in early December 2003, it remains to be seen whether we get any other philatelic 'Christmas felines' . . .
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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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