Cats on Stamps
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August 2016 Review
There's a bit of catching up to do since our last review at the start of the year, including some more stamps from last year, so here goes. Back in April 2015 China (People's Republic) issued a set of six stamps depicting Chinese writers; one of them, Pu Songling, has a tabby cat at his feet (left). Also in April, the small Balkan republic of Montenegro, formerly part of Yugoslavia, issued a single stamp on the Europa theme of 'old toys', showing a group of toys including a large, stuffed green cat (right).
Mrs Chippy, ship's cat on Ernest Shackleton's ill-fated Antarctic expedition of 1914/17, has appeared on a stamp before (see April 2011 review) and the well-known image of him with his friend Perce Blackborow 'colourised' this time is reprised on a July 2015 set from the Maldives to mark the centenary of the expedition.
The biennial exhibition of children's book illustrations held in Slovakia in September 2015 was marked by a single stamp produced in a sheet with various labels. Two of the labels showed Lewis Carroll-type renditions of a Cheshire cat head, seen from front and back; I seem to have ended up with just the back! The mirror writing is intentional (this image appears in Through the Looking Glass). There's also a label showing the Queen of Hearts turning into a kitten (not shown here).
In November 2015 Finland produced a miniature sheet (MS) with four 'Crafts' stamps and appropriate drawings in the margins. In the lower-left corner, next to a woman knitting, is a cat playing with balls of wool (yarn). Turkey issued a set of three domestic pets in December 2015, one of which pictures a beautiful white Turkish Angora cat (right).
Belgium issued a booklet of 10 self-adhesive stamps in January 2016, featuring kittens in five different designs, of which one is shown here (left). Also in January, another Finland issue was a booklet of self-adhesives entitled 'Together'; one of the five designs has a stylised cat and dog (inner right). March saw the 75th anniversary of the Netherlands' cartoon characters Tom Poes the cat and his friend Mr Olivier B. Bommel the bear; Tom appears on one of the two stamps marking the occasion, stepping out and saying 'It's really a good day for an adventure!' (outer right).
It's difficult to keep up with stamps from the cat-loving nation of Japan; in April there appeared 'Familiar Animal Series no. 2', which included two series of kitten stamps, ten of 52y. and ten of 82y. Our image shows part of one of the sets, with a Scottish Fold in the margin and on a heart-shaped stamp (left). Mengpost is a service producing personalised stamps in Luxembourg since 2006, and to mark its 10th anniversary three stamps were issued in May two cats, called Margot (right) and Mäischen and a dog called Goethe. The illustrations were provided by the Luxembourg national animal shelter, so presumably these pets were seeking a home.
Also in May, a striking set of cats was produced by Indonesia; it consists of two large 'freeform' sheets, each with eight stamps of named breeds superimposed on a large cat picture behind. I don't recall seeing anything quite like these before. Unsurprisingly another set of cats has appeared for the Solomon Islands, with the usual format of a block of four stamps and an MS; the latter shows a handsome Chartreux (right). These are from May 2016.
In June Denmark issued a mini-sheet of four stamps illustrating children's songs; one is entitled 'Two cats sat on a table' and shows said cats on the table disrupting some knitting, with apparently the same two shown also underneath the table. There's a kitten in the sheet margin as well. Poland released a single stamp on the subject of 'Family', with the parents, the kids, the family dog and a grey cat: this dates from June too.
We don't see many stamps from the war-torn country of Iraq, but they do exist and earlier this year (I don't have a date as yet) a set of four appeared called 'Farm Pets'. One has the tabby farm cat slinking across the farmyard behind a dog. There's also an MS, featuring reduced images of the same stamps.
Finally, coming more or less up to date, this year marks the 150th birth anniversary of much loved children's author Beatrix Potter, and in July Great Britain produced a set of ten stamps of which four are on a separate MS picturing well-known characters from her stories. One of the single stamps shows the mischievous Tom Kitten.
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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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