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December 2012 Review
Well, although there weren't many new cat stamps for the last site update, there are plenty now! I think it will be best again to put them in alphabetical country order.
First comes Aruba, part of what was until fairly recently called the Netherlands Antilles but has now split into separate entities, although Aruba has produced its own stamps since 1986 when it became autonomous. A new set of eight cat stamps was issued in September; they are designed in pairs in the shape of cat's eyes and we show one pair.
Australia has produced two special presentation folders of stamps with labels in recent months. The first, in June, featured Hello Kitty, with ten 'balloon' stamps and ten different Kitty labels. The second is from October and comprises two sheets, each of ten stamps and each attached to a label with one of Beatrix Potter's animal characters. One sheet includes Tom Kitten, and the other has Miss Moppet, shown here with the attached stamp (right). The issue is to mark the 110th anniversary of the Potter stories.
Austria has issued several personalised stamps with cats in the past few years, and this charming new one reached me recently (outer left). In April there was a booklet of ten different self-adhesive stamps showing various domestic pets from Belgium; one depicts a British Blue cat with its typical chubby face and orange eyes (inner left). In September there was quite a similar set from Finland, although with fewer stamps. One has the playful tabby kitten pictured here (right), and there are also two cat labels on the pane.
There have been two single stamps from Germany that include cats. One in June noted the bicentenary of fairy tales by the Brothers Grimm, with part of the design showing the Bremen Town musicians and also Puss-in-Boots (left); the other, from July, celebrated animal shelters and included an upside-down cat head, a dog and a goldfish (right).
I don't usually include issues supposedly from places like Guinea-Bissau, which I regard as 'dubious' to say the least, but this cat-shaped MS is a bit of a novelty (left). I don't have an issue date. In April Ireland commemorated the bicentenary of the death of Bram Stoker, author of the Dracula tales; two single stamps appear also on a miniature sheet, which shows a cloaked figure entering a cinema (inner right) while a small black cat scurries away in fright in one corner (outer right).
The Isle of Man has produced several sets in the last year or two that include the famous Manx cats, and in May there was one more, although it's only an 'incidental' appearance. Apparently Manx couple Robert and Linda Kelly amassed, during 40 years, a large collection of memorabilia from the island, and the set of six stamps shows some of their favourites. The £1-10 value depicts a commemorative plate, produced in 1962 by Kettlesprings Kilns Alliance, Ohio, USA for sale as a fund-raiser for the 1963 North American Manx Association Convention in Chicago. It features the International champion Manx cat 'Ginger-Manx of Glen Orry' (a Chicago cattery) playing 'Ellan Vannin' on a piano! Ginger founded a line of champion Manx cats.
As ever, Japan continues issuing philatelic cats! I was wrong to say last time that there had been no 'Winter Greetings' set in 2011; there was and this time it comprised three strips each of five self-adhesive stamps, with face values of 50, 80 and 90 yen respectively. One of the 50y. stamps has a ginger kitten hanging onto a Christmas wreath (inner left), while there is also a tiny cat head (and a rabbit) on one of the 90y (outer left). Almost inevitably Hello Kitty and Dear Daniel have also made another appearance (right), with ten 50y. and ten 80y. on two sheets, although some of the designs are repeated.
In 2011, although I don't have an issue date, Sierra Leone came up with an attractive design showing a cat sitting on a rock (left); I think it formed part of a larger series of depictions of Chinese art. Although the design includes a Chinese inscription, there is nothing in English to indicate the artist. Slovakia's children's day on 1 June was the occasion for the release of a single stamp showing a large, pink birthday cake with various designs in the icing around it: one is a stretching cat (right).
On 1 April 2011 Tajikistan marked the Lunar Calendar Year with a pair of stamps, one of which has a tabby cat and a baby rabbit nestling in a crescent moon (left). The stamps are on an MS complete with a spaceship and an astronaut! Picasso's well-known painting 'Cat Devouring a Bird' (right) makes an appearance as one of four of his works on an MS from the West African country of Togo, with the cat overflowing a little off the stamp into the margin.
The Pacific island nation of Tuvalu issued a strip of five named cat breeds (accompanied by a similar set of dogs) in August. Here we picture the silvery-coloured Burmese from the set (left). From Ukraine comes a stamp in a series of folk tales from that country; this one rejoices in the name 'Zaliznonosa Bosorkanya' and includes two rather odd-looking gentlemen and a black cat (right). Attached is a second, smaller stamp showing the gentlemen on horseback, and I think it's possible the cat's head is peeping out of their satchel, but it's too small to tell. The stamps were issued on 1 September.
Finally we note that Great Britain has included a cat on one of its seven Christmas stamps this year (right), available from early November. These are in self-adhesive form, but are also to be found on a miniature sheet (below) as conventional gummed stamps.
A merry Christmas and a happy New Year to all our readers!
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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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