Cats on Stamps
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March 2007 Review
To begin with here is a picture of the kitten from Belgium's 'Duostamps' Disney Animals set that I mentioned in the December 2006 review, when the stamps were not yet to hand. The set is actually called 'Disney Babes', and the kitten looks as if it is Marie from 'The Aristocats'.
Two other European cats have come my way since last time, and one isn't on an actual stamp, but is one of those marginal ones. Late in 2006 Poland issued two sheetlets of 'alphabet' stamps, with drawings in the margins, and the first one, A to L, includes a cat in the lower right-hand corner (left). (The second sheetlet margin, which came out a little later, also depicts part of a cat, but is not pictured.) The second cat is from Germany (right) and pictures Joshua the Post Cat. The story is that Joshua lived with his family and the dog Alfons, but the two animals were intensely jealous of each other. Joshua was especially miffed that Alfons had the regular job of picking up the family's mail and bringing it to them in the kitchen. Joshua thought he could do the job much better. So he contacted his cousin Mario at the post office and borrowed an impressive postal uniform and next day he delivered the mail to their front door! He now had a regular job as a proper Post Cat.
Other new stamps have all come from far-distant lands to reach the UK. Taiwan issued part 4 of the 'Pets' series, hard on the heels of part 3. This one dates from December 2006 and features an American shorthair cat and a Maine Coon (left), with a beagle and a Border collie as the dogs. I wonder how many parts are planned in this series; after all, there are plenty more cat and dog breeds to go. Japan came up with a further 10 self-adhesive 'Winter Greetings' stamps, as in 2005, and again there is a colourful cat on one of them, wearing a festive costume and ringing a bell (right).
The Philippines have not issued a set of 'dedicated' cat stamps before, although there was a 'cats and dogs' group back in 1979. That has now been remedied by an attractive set of four 'Cats of the World' (pictured left), accompanied by an MS showing a further four. These appeared in September 2006. Meanwhile New Caledonia, a French overseas territory in the Pacific, some 900 miles east of Australia, has followed its striking 2004 set of circular cat stamps with a single one depicting 'Les Comédiens de Bois', which I think are wooden puppet heads. One of them is a black cat (right); each head is featured again in the margins of a complete sheet of 10.
Thailand has produced the first cat stamp of 2007, as far as I know, in a jazzy set of four children's drawings for its National Children's Day on 13 January. The third stamp in the set of four is called 'Cats'; it won a gold prize at the 35th International Children's Art exhibition held in Tokyo, Japan in 2006, and was designed by a young lady rejoicing in the name of Miss Krongkwan Kitpipit.
Moving now to the Caribbean, in 2006 the Netherlands Antilles produced two most colourful sheetlets of personalised stamps, with palm trees, tropical birds and flowers in the margins. The stamps, six to a sheet, are quite small; on one sheet they are inscribed 'local mail' and on the other (same designs) 'international mail'. One design says 'Hello' and has a little tortie-and-white kitten; others have a puppy, flowers, a teddy bear, hearts, and a dolphin and have different inscriptions.
Cuba has given us several cats in recent years and now another one has appeared. This is a set of six and an MS entitled 'Animals in the Service of Man', and shows different animals accompanied by a painting or other work of art including the animal. It's reminiscent of the Cambodia set of 2000 (see review for July/August 2001). A traditional Siamese cat is on one value, with a painting by Utagawa of a woman cuddling a cat. I'm not sure what the cat would think of being described as 'in the service of man', though!
From Ecuador in South America come its very first stamps showing cats, unless you count a rather odd-looking Picasso cat from 1981! The new set of five has three dogs and the two long-haired cats pictured. They date from 2006, but I don't have more accurate information as yet.
Moving north to the USA, I had not previously come across any of the United States Postal Service's 'photostamps' from 2005, which could be personalised with the buyer's own photos. There were some problems with the first attempt to introduce this service and it was terminated, but a second project was successful and I believe many millions of the photostamps have now been sold. I acquired a set of seven picturing cats and dogs, and one of the cats is shown here.
Finally, I came across this local, or 'citypost', stamp from the Netherlands on eBay; it was issued by Regiopost, who operate in the north of the country. I believe it comes from a set dating from 2004, but there were no other cats. That's all for now; I expect to be back with another review in a few months' time.
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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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