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December 2013 Review
There's quite a large selection of domestic-cat stamps to mention this time, so again I think it will be easiest to take them in alphabetical order of the issuing countries. We start, then, with Alderney in the Channel Islands, which in July issued a sheet of six honouring famous children's author Beatrix Potter and showing scenes from her life. On the 71p value she is seen sketching a ginger cat sitting in a basket, described by the postal authority as part of her work for Peter Rabbit, although there are other opinions about this.
Belarus, also in July, produced a sheetlet of six for the State Puppet Theatre; there are no cats on the stamps (which are all the same), but 'Puss in Boots' appears in the sheet margin (left). From Bulgaria there's a set of kittens of named breeds, two sheetlets of four with two designs on each. Pictured (right) is a Somali kitten from this group, which dates from late October.
China (People's Republic) produced a nice set of four in August, which are actually the first 'dedicated' cat stamps from the country, although there have been several incidental cats on earlier stamps. Breeds are named and we show a Li Hua (or Dragon Li, or Li Mao, or various other names), the first time it has appeared on a stamp. These cats are described as strong, full-bodied, very intelligent and may possibly have become domesticated via the Chinese mountain cat.
From Croatia comes a stamp to mark the centenary of the publication there of the novel The Brave Adventures of Lapitch by Ivana Brlic-Mazurenic; it was made into a children's animated film in 1997 under the title The Little Shoemaker hence the stamp design. Again there's no cat on the stamp, but a fat grey one is among the images in the margin of a sheet of nine, issued early in September (left). It's more than 10 years since there were any cats on stamps from the West Indian island of Dominica, but now there is a brightly coloured set of six plus MS (miniature sheet) with stylised drawings of a black, white and orange cat (right) in various positions. Itís a 'fun' set, also from early September.
From Germany I found a private-post stamp of unknown date issued by a company called Citykurier, which operates in some cities, notably Munich which is probably the headquarters. Grenada has a new set of cats in the form of a souvenir sheet with four stamps and a separate MS; the breeds are named and we show the Bengal (outer right). I don't have an issue date for this set. Also from Grenada are a souvenir sheet and an MS celebrating the birth of HRH Prince George not really where you'd expect to find a cat! but the cat and fiddle from the nursery rhyme are in the margin of the sheetlet.
In May Hawai'i Post came up with a set of four stamps and an MS showing cats; of course as a part of the United States the islands use US stamps, but there is an inter-island service that issues its own stamps. The $3 value shown, with a Russian Blue cat, prepays the difference between the overnight rate ($6) and the same-day rate of $9.
The Isle of Man is back again with two recent issues that include cats. The first is from July and reproduces headline stories of The Times newspaper, to mark that paper's 225th anniversary. One of the six stamps commemorates the island's postal independence in 1973 and includes a small black-and-white reproduction of four of the first stamps, including the 10p value picturing a Manx cat (outer left). There's also a sheet of 8 such stamps that ties in with this year's 'Europa' theme of Post Office Vehicles. The second IOM set, released in October, is for Christmas and reuses designs from earlier years, with some modifications. The lowest value of 40p reproduces the main part of the 14p design from 1990 of a child posting a letter (inner left); the original had a black cat (with a tail!) by the letterbox, but now the back of the cat is cut off, so it can't be seen that it has a tail (well, Manx cats don't have tails ...). An attractive sheet from Japan, issued in April and called 'Season's Memories of my Heart' (whatever that means!) has ten stamps with flowers and children, and one of them includes also a small tabby cat (right).
Korea (North) produced a sheetlet of four stamps and four labels to mark the 9th China International Garden Festival, which took place from July to September in Beijing. The labels appropriately show flowers, and one includes a cat looking up at the flowers (outer left). The stamps (all the same) reproduce, with a different value, one of Yi Am's 'animal paintings' set of 1978 from the same country, with a black-and-white cat chased up a flowering tree by two puppies (inner left). Latvia has featured cats on its Christmas stamps before, and this year again one of the two designs includes two cats up on the roof of a house and another being held by the child.
Another West Indian island, Montserrat, issued in November a souvenir sheet of four stamps showing kittens, with another in the margin, and also an MS with one stamp, all under the title 'Cute Kittens'. The breeds are named and we show here a bicolour tabby (left). Niger released a stamp that is labelled as showing a Cymric cat (right), a breed that hasn't appeared very often on stamps it's basically a long-haired Manx, although some consider it to be a separate breed. However, the cat depicted doesn't look much like a Cymric, although some examples of the breed do have a tail. I don't have any other information about the stamp.
Yet another West Indian country, St Vincent and the Grenadines, has come up with a domestic-cat stamp; this one appears as part of a set of souvenir sheets entitled 'History of Art' surely a rather ambitious project! One of them is subtitled 'Art nouveau' and has three stamps, of which one is a well-known poster by cat-lover Théophile Steinlen. 'Le chat noir' was a nightclub opened in the Montmartre district of Paris, France in 1884 by impresario Rodolphe Salis, closing in 1897 not long after his death. It's best known now from Steinlen's poster, which was produced to advertise a proposed tour of the cabaret acts to other towns. On the stamp the bottom of the poster isn't seen, so leaving out Salis's name and the cat's tail.
Tanzania has issued many cat stamps in the past, but the last I can find were in 1999. Now there are two souvenir sheets, each with four 2000/- stamps and another cat in the margin, under the title 'Our furry companions'. The images, several of them close-ups, aren't named (left). Finally Togo has come up with the interesting juxtaposition of 'cats and goldfish' on a set of four stamps + MS; two of the stamps show cats and two goldfish, while the one pictured (right) is from the MS and is entitled 'Ryukin in the aquarium'. Ryukin is a Bengal cat. The stamps date from July.
We wish all our readers a very happy Christmas and a peaceful New Year in 2014.
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