Cats on Stamps
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From the Archive
April 2014 Review
First there are some stamps from 2013 that we haven't caught up with before. Now that stamps from the Solomon Islands have been taken over by an agency there are huge numbers being issued on certain dates, far in excess of the postal needs of the country. March 2013 saw the release of a big batch of stamps devoted to various artists; I wasn't previously familiar with Paul Signac, a French neo-impressionist who apparently helped to develop the technique of pointillism. Anyway, a set of four and an MS of his work carries a cat, just off the stamp in the margin of the painting entitled 'Sunday'.
In April 2013 there was a set of five portraits of named breeds, and a miniature sheet (MS), from Transnistria a breakaway part of Moldova that's been in the news recently as a place with a large Russian population. However, the 'country', although recognised by Russia, is not recognised by others and its stamps are not regarded by the UPU (Universal Postal Union) as internationally valid. Our image shows a Neva Masquerade cat, which is a colourpoint variant of the ancient Siberian breed.
From Japan in June 2013 came a set featuring the robot cat Doraemon, who's been on several stamps before. Not being familiar with the characters I don't know what the strange creature is that he's riding on, or why there's a small band of musicians on the ground below!
Several issues appeared on dates in 2013 that are so far unknown to me. There was a set of four and an MS from Guyana, quite striking portraits on black backgrounds showing named breeds; we picture the stamp from the MS with an ocicat (left). Stamps bearing the name Uganda a set of four and an MS are a little unusual and have images of cat stamps from other countries. We show the MS here (right), which is quite attractive, but there's something about the look of the set that makes me wonder whether it really is a genuine issue from Uganda.
There's an MS of four cats, with another in the margin, from Austria (left); they resemble other issues from there that were 'personalised', although there doesn't appear to be scope for adding one's own images here. I think they're from 2013. 'Postcrossing', a scheme by which people from around the world can send and receive postcards to and from one another, has been mentioned before in connection with a Dutch stamp (see December 2011 review). Now a second 'Postcrossing' stamp has appeared, this time from Lithuania in October 2013. It may not be a very good representation, but the card shown at bottom right is a child's drawing of a cat (right). I believe this is the first time there's been a cat of any kind on a stamp from this Baltic state.
Early in November 2013 Belarus produced a sheetlet of eight stamps and four labels of animated cartoon characters; sometimes it's hard to distinguish cats in such issues, but there seem to be felines on two of the stamps and two labels. We show one of the labels, depicting the story of the adventures of Nesterka the black cat, and one of the stamps (left). The latter is entitled 'Snow White and Rose Red', and the ginger cat seems to have a human face (right), but I have no further information about the story.
Also from November is a set of three art stamps from the Czech Republic; one is 'Still Life with the Author' from 1955 by Bohuslav Reynek (18901971), in which he's accompanied by a cat (left). A reorganisation of the Netherlands Antilles a few years ago resulted in separate stamps being issued for some areas, and a set of fairy tales from Curaçao in December 2013 seems to be the first to include a cat the old favourite, Puss in Boots (right).
2014 kicked off early in January with a Great Britain set of 12 children's television characters, including two more old favourites, Bagpuss (left) and Postman Pat with his cat Jess (right). Although they've been on other items, it's the first time either of them has been on an actual British postage stamp, and it's a 'fun' set.
A fairy tale that has been on stamps before, although not for a long time, is Hänsel and Gretel, issued as part of a year-long project by Germany commemorating Grimm's tales. These stamps, a set of three showing scenes from the story, are 'semi-postals', with a surcharge for welfare funds, and of course the witch on one is accompanied by her black cat. The set was issued in early February.
At the end of January 2014 came the single stamp for Monaco's now-traditional international cat show; this year the chosen cat was a British shorthair a world champion female of the breed called Aphrodite (left). I found a Netherlands stamp with some charming kittens on it (right); this is confusing, as it bears the inscription 'December', but has also '2014-2', which I assume means a date of February 2014. I don't have any other information about it.
Finally the Grenada Grenadines, now apparently known as Grenada Carriacou and Petite Martinique, issued a set of cat portraits of named breeds that I think also dates from this year; there are two sheetlets of four each and two MSs, so ten cats in total, all under the title 'Exotic Purebred Cats'. We've pictured an odd-eyed Sphynx from one of the MSs.
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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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