Cats on Stamps
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From the archive: June 2006 Review
There are a couple of pieces of unfinished business to begin with, and the first is from back in 2003! In that year Brazil introduced a great sheet of 12 personalised stamps with labels on the topic of 'Gatinhos' (kittens, or pussycats), although this issue only recently came to my attention. I am most grateful to Sandra in Sao Paolo for taking the trouble to obtain a set of these excellent stamps and for sending them to me; not only that, but on the labels is her beautiful cat 'Madonna von Sonnenauge' ('Madonna of the sunshine eyes'). I'm pleased to show here one stamp and the label with the lovely Madonna, and one row of the sheet together with the top margin can also be seen if you click for the enlargement.
Then at Christmas 2005, Finland's stamp for the festive season, issued in October, showed Santa in his chair reading letters and with little animals on the chairback. These look to me a bit like the Dog Hill Kids, who appeared on a Finnish set in 1995; anyway, they are dangling a little cat above Santa's head by its front paws.
In the February review I mentioned that there was a second set of stamps issued by Universal Mail of New Zealand, and this is now to hand. The group of 10 self-adhesives has five with cats or kittens and five with dogs or puppies; one of the cat stamps is illustrated (left). Also in February one of the biannual British stamp shows, Stampex, took place in London and a special sheet of the Great Britain 'Occasions' stamps with labels was produced, together with a cancellation. One of the labels was a tabby cat's head (right); thanks to Bridget for noticing this and sending me an example.
Following those from the Marshall Islands and St Helena reviewed earlier, the large number of worldwide stamps for the 200th birth anniversary of Hans Christian Andersen included a cat also on the 'Princess and the Pea' design from the Bahamas. I still can't find a mention of any cat in the story, which is quite short, so I guess this is just 'artistic licence', maybe to make the stamp more interesting. This set dates from November 2005.
Also from 2005 (July), another cat surfaced on a sheetlet of 10 stamps from Japan that has as its only non-Japanese inscription '2005/2006 Deutschland in Japan'. Pictured are some Meissen porcelain figures; the one shown here appears to have a cat at the harlequin's feet. I don't find it an entirely convincing cat, but given the bird being held aloft I guess it would be logical. According to Cat Mews, from where I obtained the information, the sheetlet marks a German-Japanese exchange-year programme.
Then Albania produced a colourful strip of four featuring the irrepressible cartoon characters Tom and Jerry; Tom (right) is on three of them. I believe these date also from 2005.
Moving on now to this year's issues the Republic of China, otherwise known as Taiwan, in March came up with the second part of its Pets series; the first part was reviewed here in February. This time the matching group of four stamps comprises a Siamese and a white Persian (outer left), as well as Labrador and St Bernard dogs. The following month saw another issue from the same country that includes a cat (inner left), this time a sheet of 20 children's drawings with one of a cat and kitten.
In Europe, Belgium released some more sheets in its series of 'Duostamps', consisting as before of priority stamps with pictorial labels attached. This one features animals, including the kitten group shown here (left). France released an attractive set of four domestic animals on stamps during April; one has a young girl cuddling a kitten (right). The same four stamps appear on a miniature sheet (MS) with a composite design; they depict a foal, a lamb and a puppy as well as the kitten.
Apparently the puppet Kasperli is well-known in children's stories in Switzerland, which gave him his own stamp in May. No cats there, but on the accompanying sheet of 10 of the same stamp there is a line of pirate characters trooping across the top margin including a striped cat with an eyepatch. We picture the relevant part of the line here (right), and also the Kasperli stamp (left).
It's not all that long since the Mediterranean island of Malta issued its fine set of first-ever cat stamps (see June 2004 review), and now a couple of years later they have come up with a sheet of 16 domestic pets of all kinds, from a Shetland pony to tropical fish. Two of them show cats, the traditional Siamese pictured here and a handsome tabby.
Still in Europe, Slovenia has used cats in the design of its 2006 Europa stamp, issued on 19 May. The Europa theme for this year is 'the integration of immigrants as seen by young people', and a competition was held in Slovene primary schools to find a suitable design. The clever winning design was by Sara Popovic, although we are not told her age. The stamp is printed in sheetlets of 8; shown here is the bottom row of a sheetlet, which includes two stamps and three labels. There are pawprints in the top margin.
African stamps with cats are thin on the ground this time, and I have come across only one issue that is, apart from a so-called Malawi one that seems to indicate that country, too, has joined the ranks of those for which bogus stamps have been produced. The genuine production is from The Gambia and features some more children's artwork, but with a difference. Under the generic title 'Kids Did It!' there is a caption stating that each young artist earns a royalty for the reproduction of their artwork, and a portion of the proceeds will support children in need worldwide. The children responsible for this miniature sheet range in age from 6 to 14 and are named. This seems a very worthwhile approach if indeed it does what it claims; it is based in San Diego, California. You can find out more about the project at the Kids Did It! website.
Finally, on 1 June Australia released a set of five stamps depicting the adventures of 'Postie Kate' on her daily rounds. On one of them there is a little black cat with the family greeting her as she delivers their mail.
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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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