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From the archive: September 2006 Review
Just too late for the last review, I received three souvenir sheetlets from TPGPost of the Netherlands. Two of them form an issue for the Dutch fund for aiding elderly people, and they bear a premium for that purpose. One sheet has three stamps depicting children from earlier times; the other has stamps with a monkey, a walnut (for some reason) and a tabby cat with a blue ribbon round its neck (left). The third, single sheet shows what I think are images of the city of Leiden, where TPG is based. There are five similar 39c stamps, while further images in the margins include a cat and mouse (right).**
Two other items originate from Europe, both showing cartoon cats. One is from Finland two self-adhesive stamps on a booklet pane issued late in August have humorous drawings of 'The joys of family life'. The one entitled 'Interpassive TV', with a bored-looking family in front of a blank TV screen, has a small, striped cat at the end of the settee they are sitting on.
Switzerland brings us another cartoon character to follow Kasperli, featured last time; this one is 'Cocolino'. This cat-chef is the brainchild of an artist, Oskar Weiss, and a highly regarded Swiss chef, Oskar Marti, and Cocolino came about to encourage children to enjoy good food and simple cooking that they themselves can do. Already on offer are four books of Cocolino recipes, a magazine, a fan club and various activities. The cat is blue, has two kitten kitchen assistants and wears a fried-egg blindfold!
The West African island nation of St Thomas and Prince issues frequent stamps, a number of which in recent years have included cats and other domestic animals. I've been doubtful of the authenticity of some of them, especially those carrying irrelevant Scout logos, but it seems that in fact many of them are sanctioned by the St Thomas postal authorities, and the American Scott catalogue has now seen fit to allocate numbers to them (Gibbons seem to me to be overcautious here; the last SG numbers given to any 'STP' stamps were in 1997!). A recent sheetlet of eight stamps of cats and dogs, one of each per stamp, are attractive enough; and there is a miniature sheet, pictured here, with another stamp not on the sheetlet.
All the other new cat stamps I have seen are from what in Europe is known as the 'Far East'. Following the 'Friendship' issue described in June, Japan in March this year came up with another set for 'International Exchanges and Friendship'. On the colourful and attractive strip of five stamps, designed by young people, one shows a group of young animals and birds sitting atop the globe, with a spaceship passing overhead.
North Korea has given us many previous cat stamps; the latest (I'm not sure of the issue date) are in two large sheetlets. Each contains six stamps of the same design, showing a German shepherd (Alsatian) dog and a traditional Siamese cat, but the animals in the margins differ on the two sheets.
Finally there are two Singapore cat issues that recently came to my attention (thanks to Marci and Bridget respectively for flagging up these). One belongs to the worldwide celebration in 2005 of the bicentenary of Hans Christian Andersen's birth, and again features the 'Ugly Duckling' story. There were four stamps in the set, devoted to four different Andersen tales; but it is only on the full sheets of 10 stamps of the 'Ugly Duckling' that there is a cat among other characters on labels attached to the stamps (left). The second dates from February 2006 and was issued for St Valentine's Day; again the cat is only to be found on a label in the full sheet of 10 'Togetherness' stamps (right), which are inscribed 'For local post only'.
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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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