Cats on Stamps
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From the archive: December 2004 Review
This time I'm able to provide images of some of the items mentioned in the last review but which hadn't arrived at the time.
Here, finally (from left to right above), is the Turks and Caicos Joan Miró painting with cat, The Farmer's Wife, and also the Malaysia 2003 Children's Day stamp with the striped tabby cat at the bottom. In addition there is the Belarus sheetlet from October; this is a very well-produced item, in my opinion. I am still awaiting the United Nations heritage issue.
I have also been able to obtain the two Taiwan (Republic of China) Harry Potter sheetlets. Apparently they were originally to be available only in Taiwan, but then the authorities are said to have relented and agreed to sell some abroad. My usual dealer told me he would have them by the end of September, but it was mid-December before they arrived. I acquired my copies elsewhere. Anyway, they depict scenes from Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban I confess that, although I saw the first two Potter movies, I gave this one a miss. But the important thing as far as we are concerned is that one sheetlet includes 'Crookshanks the cat', a long-haired, red tabby, Persian-looking character. If anyone cares to let me know what part he plays in the story, I'd be pleased.
'Hello Kitty' has turned up again on a couple of miniature sheets, also from Taiwan. They were released on 24 September and on them Kitty is accompanied by her boyfriend, called 'Dear Daniel'. The one illustrated shows them on Fisherman's Wharf (in San Francisco?), whereas on the other they are enjoying a coffee at an outdoor café with a skyscraper behind.
On 1 October Canada came up with its first-ever 'dedicated' cat stamp in a 'Pets' group of four. These are self-adhesive stamps appearing in a booklet pane; the shape does not allow easy trimming, so the blue on the image is part of the background colour. As well as the two cats in a comfortable-looking armchair there are goldfish in a bowl, a rabbit and a dog.
From Ireland came, in September, part 3 of a continuing set of Irish National Gallery paintings, including The House Builders by Walter Osborne. Two young girls are sitting at a table, and to the right (on the stamp) of the one in blue, there is on the floor a very small cat. It is hard to enlarge it clearly, but the Cats on Stamps Study Unit has confirmed with the gallery that the painting does indeed include the animal.
Belgium has come up with two more cat stamps to add to the several it has already produced. The first forms part of a pair (both pictured left) issued for Hallowe'en, and shows an evil-looking black cat with a witch (of course!); as yet I don't know exactly when they appeared. The other Belgian cat is on a miniature sheet, issued during October, and marking already! the 'Belgica 2006' stamp exhibition (above right). Several animals, including a cat, are shown; this also is an attractive production.
It's some years since South Korea gave us any stamps with a cat, but now there is one entitled 'Philatelic Week special', labelled 'Congratulations' and showing a group of cheering toy animals. One of them is a grey cat. There is a miniature sheet with two of the stamps and several teddy bears in the margin.
St Thomas and Prince, the island country off West Africa, has produced a bewildering array of MSs, and blocks of four stamps, showing cats and dogs or has it? I find it difficult to assess whether these are genuine or illegal issues; I tend to regard most issues with irrelevant Boy Scouts logos as illegal; but not all these have such a logo. Anyway, one stamp, showing what looks like a Maine Coon, is illustrated here and if anyone has any further information, do please let me know.
Lastly, a couple of Christmas issues that include cats, if not actually on the stamps themselves. The autonomous Finnish islands of Åland always produce an interesting Christmas issue: this year's has Santa doing his rounds in a snow-covered landscape. There is a 'gutter-pair strip' of ten stamps with pictures in the gutter; one of them shows Santa with his lantern, striding out and followed by a large tabby cat. I don't think you can obtain the cat except by getting the gutter-pairs strip.
Great Britain, like many other nations, has issued its annual Christmas stamps, this time designed by Raymond Briggs of The Snowman fame. As in recent years they are in self-adhesive form. In addition one of the popular 'Smilers' sheets of 20 stamps this one entitled 'Christmas Delivery' has been prepared, with a similar number of labels. Two labels on the sheet show a rather smug-looking black cat on Father Christmas's left shoulder: and if you look carefully you can see that two further labels show him from the right, with the cat's tail visible on his right shoulder.
A very happy Christmas and holiday season to you all. We expect to be back around March 2005 with a new 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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