Cats on Stamps
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From the Archive:
August 2015 Review
There's quite a lot to catch up on since our last review, so here we go, in country alphabetical order. In February the Channel Island of Alderney marked the 150th anniversary of Lewis Carroll's Alice's Adventures in Wonderland with a set of six stamps and a miniature sheet (MS), with one showing this new interpretation of the grinning Cheshire Cat (left). October 2014 saw Argentina issuing four stamps for the birth centenary of Julio Cortázor (1914-1984), one of the country's leading writers and a cat-lover, who often featured the animals in his work. One stamp shows a stylised cat called 'Theodor W. Adornois' (right), with prominent eyes reminiscent of a certain photo of Cortázor.
In May this year Australia produced a fine set of cat portraits, not just of particular breeds but of particular cats; our image is of 'Briony' (left), an Australian Mist. The set represents a cross section of domestic cat breeds in the country. Also in May, Azerbaijan's contribution to this year's Europa theme of 'old toys' included a set of colourful bricks, with a picture of a cat on the face of the top one (right).
I don't always buy stamps from certain African countries because of the sheer proliferation of them and the consequent expense, but I acquired a 2011 set of four from Burundi that includes a Selkirk Rex cat (left), a breed we've rarely seen on stamps. Two acquisitions come from Canada: one, from May, is a set of five stamps (three with cats, two dogs) on a sheetlet entitled 'Love your Pet' and aimed at responsible pet ownership. We picture one with a cat bearing a collar, lead and discs for identification (outer right). The set was issued by the Canadian Federation of Humane Societies and there is a booklet with the same stamps, but self-adhesive and in a slightly different arrangement. Canada also issued a series of personalised stamps with cat portraits, with the one shown picturing a Siamese 'foreign white' (inner right).
Two more sets from Africa: in December 2014 the Central African Republic released a colourful set consisting of a composite sheetlet of four and an MS, both with other breeds in the margins. Our image shows a Ragdoll from the sheet (left). Then in 2015, although I'm not sure exactly when, the Republic of Congo came up with a sheetlet of four featuring less common breeds: Savannah, Devon Rex, Munchkin and Peterbald (illustrated right). This breed resulted from a pairing of a Sphynx and an Oriental Shorthair in 1994; they range from being virtually hairless to having a normal furry coat. I don't recall seeing one on a stamp before.
In December 2014 Croatia released its annual Red Cross stamp, which was a cartoon version of a dog and a cat wearing Red Cross armbands and carrying parcels (left). Cuba has produced many cat stamps over the years, and for the 'Malaysia 2014 World Stamp Expo' (misspelled 'Malasia') a set of six and an MS appeared. These have cameo pictures of various breeds in a kind of 'arty' setting; the MS shows a Cuban Blue (right). These seem to have been recognised in 2011 as native to Cuba and a possible new breed, although they are somewhat similar to Russian Blues.
Next come two items that aren't regular stamps. First from France in November 2014 there came a self-adhesive 'maxi-stamp' showing Santa Claus holding a kitten and a puppy (outer left); it came in a colourful small folder and included a code that can be read by a smartphone to access electronic games and functions. Since 2008 in Germany it's been possible to buy labels online that can be printed directly onto cover and are validated by the code. Fifty initial images have now become over 200 different ones, in various values, and I came across two from 2015 with kitten images (one pictured inner left). In December 2014 Greece issued a single stamp of a 'memorable advertisement', this one being in celebration of the long-established Greek family business of E.J. Papadopoulos, famed for its 'petit beurre' biscuits. Four children and a black cat are pictured on a vintage art poster (right).
In January 2015 Kazakhstan marked the 20th anniversary of ratification of the Convention on the Rights of the Child with a set of four stamps. They were the result of a competition open to children in orphanages, on the theme 'Heroes of Kazakh Fairy Tales'. One of the stamps includes a small tabby cat (left). Moving to nearby Kyrgyzstan, in April a small set of cats and dogs was issued, two of each. We picture the traditional Siamese on one cat stamp (inner right), the other having a Persian. From Macedonia comes a single stamp in (I think) a series about means of transportation showing a woman's 'sit-up-and-beg' bicycle: but by the front wheel is a tabby cat (outer right). This was from April 2015.
The Netherlands produced a fine series of souvenir sheetlets marking Francien van Westering's 25 years as an artist. Each sheetlet has three different stamps with paintings of cat heads, with two further cats in the margin (one pictured left). Five sheets were released in February and there is to be a sixth in September. These attractive items were sold in 'Postsets', each with three postcards with cat designs. The West Indian island of Nevis has a series of stamps entitled 'World-Famous Paintings' and in October 2014 there appeared a large souvenir sheet with three stamps, one of which is named as 'Kitten' by the German painter Franz Marc (1880-1916). Although the stamp is in vertical format (right), the actual painting shows the animal horizontally and its full title is 'White Cat on a Yellow Pillow'.
Stanislaw Ignacy Witkiewicz (1885-1939) was a Polish writer, painter, philosopher, playwright and photographer; a miniature sheet with one stamp was issued by Poland in February, reproducing part of his work 'Creation of the World'. In the margin there are two stylised cats (left). October in Serbia includes Children's Week, when the organisation responsible (not Serbian Post) issues 'surcharge stamps' and accompanying labels; it is mandatory for every domestic (inland) letter to carry such a stamp during that week. The labels are required to be paid for and affixed to every bus ticket, theatre ticket, ticket for a sports event and so on. The 2014 stamps and labels showed a family with a cat and dog holding up a banner (right).
The Solomon Islands or rather, their agency Stamperija released another set of domestic-cat stamps again in December 2014, although the previous one dates only from March that year. A sheetlet of four stamps and an MS show named breeds, with more in the margins. We picture the European Shorthair from the MS (left). A set of four stamps from Switzerland issued in March 2015 included a grey tabby cat's head (right), along with a dog, a rabbit and a hamster on the other ones.
In January Taiwan (or the Republic of China) came up with a series of ten Greetings stamps for Valentine's Day; they depicted various pairs of animals, with two kittens on one (left). There were two sets, differing only in the face values of 3,50 and 5 Taiwan dollars. Finally, for the Songkran (Thai New Year) Festival in April 2015, Thailand produced four stamps; there are no cats on them, but there is a tiny white kitten (right) in the bottom right corner of the complete sheets.
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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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