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From the Archive
December 2010 Review
Starting with items mentioned in the previous review, 'Hello Kitty' made another appearance on a set from Japan, issued in May, and as with last year's set there are two panes of 10, one with 50y. values and a larger one with 80y. Dear Daniel is not much in evidence, but is on a couple of the 80y. ones (left). The set was issued for the Shanghai 2010 Exhibition. I also came across what is almost certainly a 'cinderella' set of 4 strips each of 4 stamps, supposedly local issues, bearing the legend 'Northern Territories 2009'. I cannot think why Japanese stamps would have an English inscription, but they are amusing, somewhat stylised images of cats and we illustrate one here (right). The Northern Territories refers to the southernmost of the Kuril Islands, which are administered by Russia but claimed by Japan in a long-running dispute.
Also mentioned earlier was the United States' sheet of cartoon stamps entitled 'Sunday Funnies', released in July and including anarchic cat Garfield shown with his doggy friend Odie together with Beetle Bailey, Calvin and Hobbes, Archie, and Dennis the Menace. A complete sheet has four of each stamp, and there are numerous special first-day covers.
More cartoons came from the Czech Republic in October in the shape of Myšpulín the cat scientist, a character new to me and who is featured in the Čtyřlístek ('Cloverleaf') comics. He and other characters appear in two booklets of self-adhesive stamps; the cat is on the stamps (left) in one booklet and also on its cover (not shown), as well as on the cover of the second booklet (right). There are also various postal cards.
Further to the Europa 'children's books' already mentioned in the last review, Bulgaria's contribution appeared in April and included two stamps and a miniature sheet, although there were no cats on them. However, on the complete sheet of 8 stamps (4 of each value) one of the images in the margin is of an elegantly dressed girl sitting in a sort of small cart drawn by a cat (left). In addition there is a booklet containing the stamps; on the cover, and also on labels inside, is a girl sitting in a chair and reading a book (right), watched by a red tabby cat (I'm not sure it's the same girl or the same cat as in the other image mentioned above).
Another Europa issue that includes labels with cats, although again not on the actual stamps, is from Jersey. In February four stamps appeared and also came in sheets of 10 with decorated margins. Included there are the Owl and the Pussycat not in their boat, but walking 'hand in hand on the edge of the sand' and the Cheshire Cat (not shown). The latter appears as well in a montage on the cover of the presentation pack.
In July Argentina came up with a sheet of children's drawings that seems to consist mostly of labels I can see only 5 denominated stamps out of 20 items. One of the labels has a cat, or kitten, with a rainbow behind it. For some reason this label appears upside-down in the sheet, but we are showing the cat the right way up!
Also in July Vanuatu released a set of 4 stamps featuring 'Cats of Vanuatu' a first for this Pacific island nation, and very attractive they are too. One of the cats is identified, on the 100 vatu stamp (just over 1 US dollar or about 80 euro cents), as 'Boots', who has become quite a celebrity in the region, has appeared on TV and entertains tourists with his party tricks. He lives at the War Horse Saloon in the capital Port Vila, where he has learned to ring a suspended ship's bell on command as is shown on the stamp. (See our separate article about Boots.)
There are three other all-cats sets. One is from the West Indian islands of St Vincent and the Grenadines, two sheetlets, each of six head portraits of named breeds and a miniature sheet (MS) showing a traditional Siamese, which we picture here (left). The second comes from Azerbaijan in Central Asia, also a block of six portraits and an MS. We picture a playful-looking Birman from the sheetlet (outer right). Neither of these countries has issued domestic-cat stamps for several years. Then there is an attractive and colourful sheetlet of six 'Cats of the World' from Liberia (inner right), showing named breeds, also accompanied by an MS. (Note: Our illustration is from a website, as I have not yet received these stamps.)
In August Israel produced a sheet of stamps and labels of 'Animals and their Offspring'. There are three strips of three, showing hens, domestic cats, and rabbits, each strip having a central label with a stamp on each side. There are further images in the sheet margins. A separate, pictorial first-day cover was issued for each strip.
Lastly I will mention that there have been (as usual) various further cat items supposedly from Guinea and St Thomas & Prince, but these are becoming so frequent and so expensive that I am no longer going to either buy them or list them here. I am sure that they are produced simply to make money from collectors, and I very much doubt whether they actually have any postal validity in the countries whose names they carry.
As this is the last review of 2010 (and of the decade!) I wish all readers a very happy Christmas and a successful New Year.
If you would like to comment, provide additional information,
or bring any cat stamps to my attention,
please contact me,
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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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