Cats on Stamps


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Cat Postmarks 4


This page introduces two types of postmark that we haven't featured before in this section:
meter marks and American 'fancy cancels'.


Meter marks

Meter mark: CDS, Burladingen, Germany, 1971 - advertising Herre elasticated knitwear As the name implies, meter marks are applied by machine and they are used in lieu of adhesive stamps that have to be affixed to the envelope — perhaps when large quantities of mail are involved. They are typically printed in red ink and frequently include an advertising slogan. Generally there are three parts to the cancellation, as seen in the complete example here: a 'stamp' indicating the postage rate used, a circular date stamp (CDS) showing the town or city of origin, and the slogan. Sometimes the first two parts are combined into one image. The example shows a fee paid of 30 German pfennigs; a CDS with a date in 1971 and the town of origin, Burladingen; and a slogan with Puss-in-Boots advertising (I think!) 'Herre' elasticated knitwear.

Below are a number of slogans (only) I have collected that include domestic cats. The quality is not wonderful in all cases, as the inking is often rather faint and/or smudged.



Meter mark: Fondation Assistance aux Animaux, Paris, France, 15-4-2000 Meter mark: Be Choosey - Go Chessie, Cleveland. Ohio, USA, 28-10-1952 Meter mark: Biokat's, Munich, Germany, 1989 Meter mark: Chatex, Lentilly, France, 1999

Fondation Assistance aux Animaux (Animal Assistance), Paris, France, 15-4-2000.

‘Be Choosey — Go Chessie’, Cleveland. Ohio, USA, 28-10-1952. 'Chessie' was a kitten image used for many years for advertising the Chesapeake and Ohio Railway Company in the USA. The image was taken from an engraving by a Viennese artist.

'Biokat's', Munich, Germany, 12-1-1989. Biokat's is a brand of cat litter.

'Chatex', Lentilly, France, 3-2-1999. The cat is on skis. Chatex makes and distributes materials for the repair and maintenance of skis.

Meter mark: Copy Cats, Loughton, England, 1997 Creations Jean-Pierre Mathou, Rodez, France, 2000 Dempa Acoustics, Knarreborg, Denmark, 1963 Meter mark: Effem BV, Veghel, Netherlands, 1980

Copy Cats, Loughton, England, 31-1-1997 (presumably a copy shop).

Créations Jean-Pierre Mathou appears to be a French company making children's furniture. Rodez, France, 13-9-2000.

'Dempa' Acoustics, Knarreborg, Denmark, 20-12-1963. No other information.

Effem B.V., Veghel, Netherlands, 4-9-1980. Effem is a part of Mars Incorporated, a consumer-goods industry, and the cancel advertises some popular brands of cat food.

Meter mark: Felix the Cat advertising The Statesman Group, North Dakota - Bagley, Minnesota, 1971 Meter mark: Hoffmann's Starch, Bad Salzuflen, Germany, 1964 Meter mark: Tel Aviv, Israel, 1996 Meter mark: Tel Aviv, Israel, 2002

Felix the Cat is used here to advertise The Statesman Group, a mutual insurance company based in North Dakota, although the cancellation is from Bagley, Minnesota, 5-8-1971.

Hoffmann's Starch, 'symbol of cleanliness', Bad Salzuflen, Germany, 13-4-1964.

Tel Aviv, Israel, 10-6-1996. The cancellation was for a local stamp exhibition on the theme of 'Books'.

Tel Aviv, Israel, 21-5-2002, from a cover produced by the Thematic Association of Israel.

Meter mark: London EC2, 1997 Meter mark: Wilmington, California, 1939 Meter mark: Silent Gliss, Copenhagen, Denmark, 1962 Herberhold of Utrecht, Netherlands, 1958

London EC2, 8-1-1997. The cancellation is incomplete, but seems to be about visiting London and shows Dick Whittington and his cat.

'Puss in Boots' cat food, Wilmington, California, 16-2-1939.

'Silent Gliss' curtain rails, Copenhagen, Denmark, 11-5-1962.

Utrecht, Netherlands, 23-6-1958. This advertises Herberhold of Utrecht, the makers of 'White Cat' batteries.

Meter mark: Cats travel company, Copenhagen, Denmark, 1993 Meter mark: Eveready transistor batteries, Nairobi, Kenya, 1976 Meter mark: Langcat enamel, Almere, Netherlands, 1981 Felix & Bonzo pet foods, Netherlands, 1970

'Cats' travel company, Copenhagen, Denmark 22-2-1993.

Eveready transistor batteries, Nairobi, Kenya 27-7-1976.

'Langcat' enamel, Almere, Netherlands 6-11-1981.

Felix & Bonzo pet foods, Netherlands 15-1-1970.




US 'fancy cancels'

American fancy cancel: Kitts Hill, Ohio, 1933 These cancellations date mostly from the late 1920s and early to mid-1930s — the time of the Great Depression in America. Postmasters in small country post offices at the time were not paid a salary, but were allowed to keep up to 50% of postal revenue the office generated. Thus it was in their interest to promote postal use, by any means possible, as even a few cents was worth having in those hard times. One method used was to produce 'fancy cancels' that people might like to see on mail they sent; but they were allowed only on registered letters (although it seems that rule was not always adhered to). A typical complete cover looks like this, and on the reverse are usually normal postmarks, known as 'backstamps', from the sending and receiving offices.

Some 1400 different fancy cancels are known, covering many topics; I have collected those I have found that include domestic cats. Some cancels were in use only for very short periods of time — perhaps a week — and therefore covers with them are scarce. This is not a complete cats collection, as I know of at least two more that I don't have.



Cat with bushy tail, US fancy cancel, 1929 Cat watching mouse, American fancy cancel, 1930 Cat with curly tail, US fancy cancel, 1932 Felix the Cat, US fancy cancel, 1932

Cat with bushy tail: single strike on cover sent from Talcville, NY to Edwards, NY on 31-10-1929 (Hallowe’en), arriving next day.

Cat watching mouse: single strike on cover from Ed, KY to Chicago on 2-6-1930. This cover is unusual in being apparently unregistered.

Cat with curly tail: six strikes in violet on cover from Cat Creek, MT on 31-5-1932 to Dublin, OH, where it arrived on 3 June.

Felix the Cat: four strikes on cover from Cat Creek, MT on 8-6-1932 to Dublin, OH, where it didn’t arrive until 14 June. This cancellation was used only from 1st to 8th June 1932.

Felix the Cat, American fancy cancel, 1931 Multiple cats, US fancy cancel, 1933 Owl and pussycat, US fancy cancel, 1928 Reversed cat, US fancy cancel, 1929

Felix the Cat in chef's hat and holding a steaming dish: seven strikes in turquoise on a cover sent from Felix, Alabama on 9-1-1931. There are several backstamps; the cover went through the 'Air Mail Field, Atlanta, Georgia' on 10 January, was stamped at Los Angeles on 12 January, and finally arrived in San Francisco, registered section, on 13 January.

Multiple cats: ten strikes altogether, in blue, on a cover sent on 31-10-1933 (Hallowe'en) from Washington Park, IL to Atlantic City, NJ and arriving on 3 November.

The Owl and the Pussycat: three strikes on cover from Elkton, KY to Sharon, PA, sent on 14-11-1928, taking two days to arrive.

'Reversed' cat (white image in black frame, which is unusual): six strikes on cover sent on 28-10-1929 from Manawa, WI to Genesee Depot, WI, where it arrived next day. Seems to be Hallowe'en-themed, with an owl sticker and a bat sticker.

Spotted cat, US fancy cancel, 1930 Black cat, American fancy cancel, 1932 Black cat, US fancy cancellation, 1930 Cat and witch, US fancy cancel, 1933

Spotted cat: three strikes in violet: posted from Ed, Kentucky on 2-1-1930 and arriving next day in Indianapolis.

Whiskered black cat in violet circle: this cancellation is said to be known only on unregistered covers. A single strike is on a cover sent on 31-10-1932 (Hallowe'en) from Washington, IL to Chicago. The airmail envelope bears the legend 'special flight'.

The same whiskered cat but without the circle, three strikes: sent again at Hallowe'en, 31-10-1930, from Worth, IL to East Lansing, MI, where it arrived next day.

Cat and witch on broomstick: single strike on Hallowe'en cover with pumpkin cachet, sent from Ed, KY on 31-10-1933 to Akron, OH, arriving next day. The post office in Ed operated from 1898 until 1941, when it was closed.



Cat Postmarks 1
A gallery of cancellations from places with names containing the word 'cat'

Cat Postmarks 235
Pages of cancellations for special occasions

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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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