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From the Archive: September 2008 Review
Following the shortage of new cat stamps last June, there are now a number to report; but before looking at newer ones I'll mention a Great Britain one from 2005 on which there seems to be a cat that hasn't been noticed before by me, anyway! It is the 57p value from the 'Jane Eyre' set from February of that year, issued to commemorate the 150th anniversary of the death of author Charlotte Brontë, and also marking World Book Day. I'm not familiar with the plot of Jane Eyre, but the stamp shows Adele, Rochester's daughter, reciting La Ligue des Rats (a fable by Jean de la Fontaine) to Jane, who thinks it 'quite unsuitable for a child'. Behind Adele is a huge black cat, with what is presumably a rat in its mouth. The same stamp, with the five others in the set, is also available on a miniature sheet (MS).
Several issues from 2007 have surfaced. One from Belgium marked Stamp Day appeared in October and depicts 'The Pleasure of Writing' by means of people writing on typewriters from different eras (and a computer for the most modern one). One of the stamps, which come in both gummed and self-adhesive forms, has a 'cat woman' working on a 1970s Olivetti machine.
Indonesia produced two presentation folders in late 2007/early 2008. One, for Christmas 2007, contains four different sheetlets of stamps with attached labels of Warner Brothers' 'Looney Tunes' characters; one of them features Sylvester the cat and Tweety Pie the canary on the labels (left). A second folder, for the Chinese New Year 2559 and issued in early 2008, includes just one sheetlet of stamps, with the attached labels devoted to Tom and Jerry (right).
Ukraine also has two sets from the previous and current years. In late 2007 there was a set of 12 stamps, in two sheetlets of 6, again with labels attached, picturing various Ukrainian farm dwellings. There is a tiny cat sitting on a bench outside one of them (left). The second issue, dating from May this year, has much more obvious cats, and is a further sheetlet of 6 breeds (right) to follow the earlier one from June 2007.
Also released in May this year were single stamps from two other European countries. The Czech Republic's annual stamp 'For Children' shows an illustration from the cover of a book by the well-known Czech author Josef Capek (left). He wrote The Doggie's and the Pussy's Tales, How they Kept their House and Many Other Things in 1929 for his young daughter Alenka. Slovakia is the other half of the former Czechoslovakia, and the Slovak contribution to PostEurop's 2008 theme of 'letter writing' shows a cat busy writing a letter (right).
Hungary has produced a group of stamps featuring cartoon animal characters, under the title 'Philavillage'. Sets I and II appeared during June, while Set III, consisting of two designs, came out in July. One of this last pair shows the village baker (a pig) at work accompanied by his feline assistant (left). There is possibly also a cat on one of two stamps designed by children from Bosnia & Herzegovina; but it's one of those where probably only the young artist could say for certain whether or not he/she intended it to be a cat (right). The same two stamps are on an MS also.
This year is the 60th anniversary of the founding of the state of Israel, and more children's paintings were chosen to mark the occasion with a set of three stamps. One of them includes a small white cat sitting on a balcony rail (right).
There are 'cat portrait' sets from three island nations. Tuvalu, a group of low-lying islands in the Pacific Ocean, produced another 'Cats of the World' set a title used previously by various countries. I didn't think the breeds selected to be shown were particularly representative of the world's cats, but the sheetlet of 6 and an MS are certainly very colourful. Pictured here is one stamp from the sheetlet, which has the cats in a composite design on or near a living-room settee. It is labelled as a lilac silver-shaded Burmilla, while the MS has a pair of calico American Wirehairs in front of an open fire.
The other groups of portraits are from Grenada in the West Indies and its companion islands of Carriacou and Petite Martinique (previously known as the Grenadines). Each set consists of a sheetlet of 4 and an MS; we picture the MS from the Grenada set, which has a rather doleful-looking British Blue.
Japan's 'Hello Kitty' has put in another appearance on stamps, issued in July 2008. They are all self-adhesive; in a strip of 5 the face values are all 50 yen, while there is also a sheetlet with face values of 80 yen. The sheetlet contains a different strip of 5, together with 5 circular stamps, and there are some other depictions of Kitty in the margin. All the 10 stamps in the two strips of which we show one from the sheetlet have Kitty accompanied by boyfriend Daniel, but on the circular stamps she is on her own.
Finally this time, a new issue from Finland marks the centenary of the birth of the writer Mika Waltari and takes the form of a miniature sheet of two stamps. One portrays the author himself, while the other shows the cover of one of his books and has a black cat sitting on a wall by moonlight.
By the time our next report is due it will be nearly Christmas. Happy collecting!
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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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