In a recent half-hearted attempt to declutter I tried the well-know Marie Kondo trick of holding objects to see if they “sparked joy”. One item that never fails to do this, and in a specific way that connects directly to my inner child and continues to bring me joy even today, is when I hold my childhood stamp album in my hands. The Covid-19 lockdowns have seen us all spending a great deal of time at home and rediscovering old hobbies and past times. I for one, have used the time to dust down a few dormant blogs and websites, including this Penny Black 1840 blog. This has sent me back re-reading old posts and digging out that stamp album again. Looking for inspiration I also swung back around some postage stamp bloggers and to my delight discovered they were still writing. Sunday Stamps is a great way of connecting with other collectors. Viridian’s Postcard Blog regularly sets themes, as does the See it on a Postcard blog, which this week set the topic: “Cats big or small”.
Most of my childhood stamps were acquired in those big, mixed country bags, divided by themes rather than country, and mostly date from the mid-1970s and earlier. Animals and birds seem to proliferate and there are a great many stamps featuring big and domestic cats. Here are a just a few:
This simple yet striking 5 chon North Korean stamp features a Eurasian Lynx. It was issued in 1974 as part of a 9-stamp set commemorating the 15th Anniversary of Pyongyang Zoo, and included several big cats – a lion, tiger, leopard, and leopard cat – as well as a brown bear, dhole, wild boar, and red fox. Measuring 46mm square, printed using offset lithography, and issued without gum, it is just one of endless commemorative stamps issued during the 1970s in North Korea with nationalist or propagandist themes. Unfortunately, Korea Central Zoo as it is now known, which first opened its doors in April 1959 at the behest of Kim Il-sung, has been heavily criticised in recent years, with disturbing reports of a chain-smoking chimpanzee and a dog pavilion appearing online.
From big cats to little cats … or rather, kittens and cubs! The first of the next pair of stamps is also from 1974, but this time issue by Hungary as part of a set featuring designs by Ferenc Gal of young domestic animals: the 60-filler stamp on the left depicts a pair of Siamese kittens to represent domestic cats (Felis Domestica in Latin) while the 80 filler stamp on the right shows two Lynx cubs. The second stamp is dated 1976, and was designed by the same artist, but was issued as a later set featuring young wild animals.
And finally, this curious postage due stamp was issued in 1963 by the Republique Du Dahomey (renamed Benin in 1975) depicts a panther attacking a man! This disturbing image terrified me as a child! I’ve seen it in various colours and values. This is a 2 West African CFA franc value.
Do head on over to See it on a Postcard for more Sunday Cat Stamps!