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April 2013 Review
Several of the new cat stamps this time come from Europe. First there's a not-so-new issue from the 2010 Europa / Children's Books series that seems to have gone unnoticed at the time; it's from Turkish Cyprus (the northern part of that divided island), and has Puss-in-Boots seated next to two children reading. It's one of two designs in a small booklet (just two of each design) of self-adhesives. Thanks to Renata in Italy for bringing it to my attention.
Earlier in 2012, in May, Portugal produced quite a big set (a sheet of eight and four singles) to mark the centenary of the inauguration of the first Hall of Portuguese Humorists. Most of the stamps show work that was exhibited by artists at the time all those years ago, although a few could not be traced. One of the single stamps has a design by Stuart Carvalhais showing a gentleman addressing a lady in bed, with a black cat which seems to be wearing a collar seated on the bed.
Every year since 1969 an October gathering of children called 'Joy of Europe' brings together in Belgrade children from many European countries to promote friendship through various activities and to encourage exchanges between different cultures. The 2012 stamp from Serbia marking the event showed a cat's head (right) painted by Darja Celisceva, 7 years old at the time. In October also Austria issued a 'prestige' booklet entitled 'Animal Friendship'; I have not yet acquired this, so no image is available, but I understand there are two cat stamps in the booklet.
There are two cat issues from Monaco. One is the now traditional single stamp marking the International Cat Show in January, the 2013 one being the fifth of its kind. This year's stamp shows a fine Turkish Angora (left). The second stamp was released early in December 2012 to mark the 150th anniversary of Edouard Manet's painting Olympia, which he produced in 1863. A provocative painting at the time, it was based on Titian's Venus of Urbino. Here again is a black cat sitting on a bed (right). This one, at the right of the image, can be a bit hard to distinguish. The same painting has appeared before on a 1982 stamp from Cameroon.
Staying with art, there have been some follow-ups to the stamp described last time from Togo, with a sheetlet of four more paintings and an MS including cats. On the sheetlet are: Cat Herding Ducks; The White Cat, by Bonnard; Woman with a Cat by Renoir (which has also appeared before on stamps); and Cat Encircled by the Flight of a Bird, by Joan Miró. On the MS the stamp has another Picasso, Cat Killing a Bird, while in the margin is one of Andy Warhol's blue cats with, in the background, some of Leonardo da Vinci's cat sketches.
France produced an amusing booklet of twelve self-adhesive stamps on the subject of 'Sayings and Idioms', illustrating various well-known sayings. One shows the tail and back half of a cat to show that 'When the cat's away, the mice will play' (or in this case, they'll dance!) (left). From Luxembourg I found a couple of personalised stamps with cats, bearing the name 'Meng Post'; the cartoon-type one is shown here (right).
Moving further afield, Hong Kong came up with a set of six 'children stamps' called 'My Pet And I', which dates from March. Of course one of them is a cat (left)! These are simple but quite attractive and colourful designs. The never-ending series of 'Greetings' stamps from Japan which now seem to cover all four seasons I am beginning to find rather tedious, and they are very expensive as well. I may not, therefore, pay the high cost of all future issues, just to acquire a couple of tiny cat heads tucked away among two or three sheetlets. I do not have the 2012 'Winter Greetings' set, which I could not find at a sensible price, but no doubt there was a cat or cats there somewhere. I did acquire this year's 'Spring Greetings' (right), in the usual format of five each of 50y. and 80y. self-adhesives interspersed with labels. One of the circular 50y. values has a cat head; I think there's another one, too, but sometimes I have difficulty deciding whether they're meant to be cats or bears!
We've never before had any cats from the far-flung Solomon Islands in the Pacific, but that's changed now they have joined the Stamperija agency, and so I expect there'll be dozens of thematic issues carrying their name. However, they do seem to be legitimate stamps, which is more than can be said for the huge numbers of labels produced in the name of various African countries. The Solomon Islands' issue consists of a sheet of four stamps with named breeds, and a miniature sheet with one further stamp, showing Devon Rexes (pictured). Both include further cats in the margins. One of the cats shown is a 'Bambino', which is apparently the result of breeders tinkering around and is a cross between a Munchkin and a Sphynx. Why on earth anyone would want a cat with short legs and hardly any fur I cannot imagine; what's wrong with normal cats?
Finally, a block of four very attractive cartoon-style cat stamps has come to light (thanks to Marci!) bearing the name of the West Indian island of Montserrat. The Philatelic Bureau in Montserrat say they have not produced them. So who did? I've trawled the Web without finding any trace of them. If anyone knows anything about them or where they can be obtained, please let me know!
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or bring any cat stamps to my attention,
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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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