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From the Archive
March 2010 Review
Quite a short review this time, as although several new cat issues are in the pipeline, only a few have come to hand so far this year.Starting with a couple of sets issued in 2009, Sierra Leone produced an attractive set in September, the first from that country for several years, consisting of four singles and a sheetlet of four. The cats shown are named breeds, mostly with quite elaborate names; we illustrate a pretty 'Asian lilac shaded silver', which is on the top-value (Le3000) single.
It's also some years since there were any cat stamps from the Pacific island nation of Palau, but now a substantial set has appeared. There are in all two sheetlets of composite designs, one of four stamps and one of six, and two miniature sheets (MSs). The issue dates are not clear at the moment; half the set has certainly been released, but I have also been able to acquire the second sheetlet. The second MS, however, has so far proved elusive, so maybe it's coming later. The image is of the one MS I have so far found.
The first cats of 2010 were from the indefatigable agents for St Thomas & Prince, who came up with yet another issue for cat- and dog-stamp collectors. The two types of animal are all mixed up on vaguely composite designs for a sheetlet of six and an MS. Personally I don't find them very attractive. Just a few days later a very colourful set of four self-adhesive booklet stamps came from Sweden. They show silhouettes of a black act in four postures with which all cat 'owners' will be familiar; our image shows the whole block of four with a first-day cancellation.
Next to appear, in mid-February, was a set of six large and beautiful cat designs in a sheetlet from Poland. For purposes of the first-day covers (FDCs) the stamps were put onto three covers, two stamps on each, with each cover bearing also a cat portrait. We picture the two stamps from one such cover, featuring a Balinese and a Maine Coon, with the first-day cancellation.
Released just as I write in March, a set of 10 first-class stamps from Great Britain commemorates the 150th anniversary of the founding of what is probably Britain's best-known rescue organisation, the Battersea Dogs and Cats Home in London. Started in 1860 as the 'Temporary Home for Lost and Starving Dogs', it moved to its present location in 1871 and gained Queen Victoria as Patron; there has been royal patronage ever since. In 1883 the first cats were taken in; today some 12,000 animals are taken in annually, funded entirely by means of public donations. The stamps picture seven dogs and three cats; they are particular animals that have been rehomed by staff at the Home. We show the quirkily named 'Mr Tumnus'.
As a couple of incidental items, I came across another of the 'Montimberenligne' issues from France (left) illustrating a cat; this tabby one was valid until 26 March so was produced towards the end of January. Of the five original designs showing cats, mentioned in our June 2009 review, I missed one and have only four in my collection, so I'm not sure whether this is the missing one or a new design. The second item, for those keen on elusive cat images, appears in the margin of the MS for New Zealand's September 2009 set for the 50th anniversary of its Children's Health stamps. Hard to see in the montage, at bottom centre of the MS, is a monochrome image of the Persian cat stamp from the 1983 Health set (right). In addition, careful examination of the official FDCs shows, in the montage at the left of the covers, a similar part image of the 1974 3c + 1c Health stamp with a cat in the foreground.
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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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