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From the archive: March 2004 Review
A fair number of new cat stamps seem to have appeared since December 2003, so we'll present another review before there are too many to be manageable.
I came across only one 'Christmas cat': from the Netherlands, which similarly to the previous year produced a sheet of 20 self-adhesive 'December stamps'. These were in festive red, yellow and green; and one shows a cat and dog facing each other. The green panel at the bottom is heat sensitive, and warming it up causes the green to become lighter and a text to appear.
Readers of my earlier magazine articles will know that from time to time a stamp with a cat appears that no one seems to have noticed before; thanks to Bridget for noticing one from Brazil issued in September 2000 for the Sydney Olympics. This is one of a set of 40 cartoons (two sheets of 20), and it shows a feisty white cat wrestling a dog, with the dog coming off worse.
Another group of cartoons comes from Belgium; the cartoons are actually on labels attached to a costly sheet of 49c. 'priority' stamps. I thought at first these were intended to show Disney's 'Black Pete', but in fact they feature Belgian cartoonist Philippe Geluck's creation Le Chat (The Cat). You can see him at this French page. Thanks to Marci in the US for this information.
2003 marked the 25th anniversary of the death of the well-known American artist Norman Rockwell, and I have come across two recent sets of stamps dedicated to him that include cats. In 1979 the West African country of Liberia issued a long set of 50 of Rockwell's paintings of American Boy Scouts; two of those included cats, and those pictures have since appeared elsewhere.
One of them (A Scout is helpful) is now on a large sheetlet, also devoted to Scouts and containing four stamps from the Pacific nation of Micronesia. I am not showing the whole sheetlet, just the one with the cat (left). A second and similar large sheetlet of different paintings has appeared from Grenada; of the four stamps, all showing adult/children encounters, the two illustrated here include cats (right).
Micronesia has also issued a cats set, of which the MS of a Lynxpoint Colourpoint appears here. Accompanying it is a whimsical sheet of four normal cat portraits, but as a background there is a scene with a waterfall and, floating in the air above it, a group of white kittens in a hot-air balloon! A curious idea.
A set of 12 'dedicated' cat stamps from the Netherlands Antilles, issued in September 2003, has recently arrived on these shores. It's an attractive se tenant sheet; the full sheet contains two sets of 12 with four small portraits in the gutter between the sets.
Fairly standard cats sets have emanated from the West Indian islands of Turks and Caicos (four + MS) and St Vincent and the Grenadines (four singles, a sheetlet of four and an MS). Shown here are the Turks and Caicos MS of a Kurils Island Bobtail (left), and a St Vincent single of a British Shorthair (right). The St Vincent MS of an Abyssinian is also attractive.
The number of bogus, or illegal, stamps featuring cats has declined somewhat lately, but the latest issue bearing the name of Tanzania a sheetlet of nine and an MS has all the hallmarks of an illegal production. Nevertheless these labels are not unattractive; the MS is pictured here.
In my last report I mentioned some items allegedly from St Thomas and Prince; I have since found all of these to be available imperforate also, but at a high price. In addition there is an MS that goes with the 'Famous Personalities' set; it has the same cat stamp, but the background (inexplicably) seems to be some kind of nineteenth-century scene in which a vet I presume is giving attention to a sheep, watched by the shepherd and various onlookers in top hats. It would be nice if we could know the thinking behind these curious juxtapositions. Another and very pleasant 'new' MS apparently belongs to the 'Thailandia' Scout Jamboree set mentioned last time (pictured). I imagine the person depicted may be Agnes Baden-Powell, Lord Baden-Powell's sister, who founded what were then called the Girl Guides.
Finally, the first stamp from 2004 to reach me comes from Norway, in a set of three individual stamps that I think commemorate the death anniversaries of Norwegian notables. One is Christian Skredsvig marked as '1854-2004', although I presume he didn't live to be 150! Anyway, he is shown in a pastoral setting with a black-and-white cat rubbing around his feet.
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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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