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From the archive: March 2005 Review
Beginning this year's reviews with a little unfinished business, the United Nations 'Indigenous Art' sheetlet finally turned up and so I can illustrate it. This one was produced by the New York branch of the UN Philatelic Administration (UNPA), but there were also similar items from Geneva and Vienna; and there was an earlier series in 2003. Each sheetlet has six stamps; this one pictures part of an illustration on a lacquered Russian box which depicts Alexander Pushkin's poem On the Seashore. Here is an extract:
On seashore far a green oak towers,
You can see the white cat quite clearly, with a collar which presumably is attached to the golden chain, although that's not visible. There might be other animals, but I think there's only the one cat. You can see more of the poem here.
I can also tell you that 'Hello Kitty' and her boyfriend, featured last time, are on Fisherman's Wharf in Danshuei in Taiwan perhaps not so well known as the one in San Francisco.
There seem to be hardly any actual new issues with cats this time, although there is a new Hungarian set of four 'on the way', I'm told. However, there are still things to report. I came across a 2004 set of five pets from Cuba that I had seen no previous mention of at all; it's quite pleasant, and one stamp has two tabby cats (similar to my pair of rascals!). Other pets shown are dogs, budgerigars, a goldfish, and for some reason goldfinches. A child's face appears behind the pets.
Belgium, in the last year or two, has issued a number of what it calls 'Duostamps', which are vertical strips of five self-adhesives. They consist of pictorial labels bearing no value or country name, but each one is attached to a separate 'priority' NVI (no value indicated) stamp naming the country. A number of these issues have shown cartoons; you can see here a strip showing Garfield, 'the cat everyone loves to hate', and part of a strip of Warner Brothers characters. These are, of course, Sylvester the cat and his nemesis, the canary Tweety Pie. These strips are both from 2004.
Also from Belgium, but in 2003, I found a pair of stamps and an MS (miniature sheet) celebrating the centenary of the birth of Georges Simenon, famous for his Inspector Maigret books. One stamp concerns the film De Kat (The Cat) and pictures its stars Simone Signoret and Jean Gabin; the imperforate version is shown here. Certainly a cat-related stamp but am I imagining that those little white silhouettes in the bottom left-hand corner are meant to be cats? Maybe I am . . .
For those of you who, like me, collect anything resembling a cat on stamps, however small, here's another discovery, from much longer ago: thanks to the keen-eyed Barbara for this one! The International Festival of Humour and Satire, held in Gabrovo, Bulgaria, is well known to cat-stamp enthusiasts for the cat's ears and eyes on its logo, shown full size on a 1975 stamp and again on a 1985 label. The same logo, stylised and much smaller, is to be found in a corner of the 1987 stamp marking the Festival. This really is an elusive cat!
Remaining in Eastern Europe, another older discovery dates from 1994 and was issued then by a fairly newly independent Croatia. A strip of four celebrates the 900th anniversary of the capital city, Zagreb, and shows street scenes and buildings old and new. One stamp has superimposed on it a yellow cartoon cat called 'Maxicat', with a very large nose. Apparently he is a character from the animated films of Zagreb Film of Yugoslavia, which explains his presence here. They produced over 600 animated films in the past 40 years or so, according to Wikipedia where you can find out a bit more. It seems odd to include him in this otherwise sober set and the rest of the building at the right is on the next stamp, in case you wondered. Altogether quite an unusual group.
Some other cat discoveries have been made by Domfil, the Spanish company that produces thematic catalogues and published the second edition of their Cats one during 2004. I hope to mention these in due course, but first I have to get hold of them!
Finally for this time it's back to St Thomas and Prince, which I mentioned in the previous review. I still don't know the status of these items, but at least the latest ones don't include Scout emblems, so they look more genuine. There is an MS, presumably from an art set, showing a Japanese painting of a nude. On it are two cats: a black one on the actual stamp, and a tortoiseshell and white mostly obscured 'behind' the stamp (above left). Lastly there's an attractive sheetlet of nine cats and kittens, with more cat drawings in the margins (above right).
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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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