1988 22c Cats: Abyssinian and Himalayan

# 2373 - 1988 22c Cats: Abyssinian and Himalayan

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U.S. #2373
1988 22¢ Abyssinian and Himalayan
Cats

  • Pictures two popular breeds of cats
  • First Day ceremony held at Winter Garden Theatre, home of the Cats musical

Stamp Category:  Commemorative
Set: 
Cats
Value: 
22¢, first-class rate
First Day of Issue: 
February 5, 1988
First Day City: 
New York, New York
Quantity Issued: 
39,639,000
Printed by: 
American Bank Note Company
Printing Method: 
Photogravure
Format: 
Panes of 40 in sheets of 160
Perforations:  11

 

Why the stamp was issued:  To provide a block of stamps for cat lovers, similar to the block of dog stamps issued four years earlier. 

 

About the stamp design:  The Citizens’ Stamp Advisory Committee commissioned two artists to create artwork for these stamps.  Each artist asked to make one completed painting and three pencil sketches.  In the end, wildlife artist John Dawson was selected to design the stamps.  He had experience painting cats, as his depictions appeared on the packages for 9-Lives and Alley Cat cat food.

 

This was Dawson’s first time designing stamps, though he had wanted to for a long time.  While the 1984 Dogs were pictured full body with background, the USPS wanted the cats to be depicted closer. “The committee wanted to show the fineness of the cats’ fur and the impressive look of their eyes.”  Once the paintings were completed, they were reviewed by a former show judge and member of three cat clubs.  He closely checked all the cats for fur and eye color, attitude, facial characteristics, and other details. 

 

First Day City:  The First Day ceremony for the Cats block was held at the Winter Garden Theatre in New York City, where the popular musical Cats, has run for many years.  One of the musical’s performers sang the National Anthem and Memory, a song from the show, and examples of each of the eight breeds on the stamps were present and on stage.

 

About the Cats Block:  The USPS consulted the Cat Fanciers’ Association to get a list of the most popular breeds.  From that list, as well as other sources, they selected eight breeds that offered a nice variety of appearance.  The USPS kept the stamps in a similar format to the dog stamps of 1984, featuring two cats per stamp.

 

The USPS was particularly pleased with the Cats stamps and made them the centerpiece of their winter-spring promotion, using the slogan, “Cuddlesome Collectibles.”

 

History the stamp represents:  Descended from African wildcats, domestic cats have lived alongside humans since at least 7500 BC.  They are valued for companionship as well as their ability to control rodent populations.  In terms of the total number owned, today cats are the Western world’s most popular pet.

 

There are over 70 different breeds of pet cats – but they are all technically a single species.  Domestic cats are still closely related to their wild ancestors and share many traits, like being flexible and nimble.  They are adept hunters, using their highly developed senses, sharp claws, and teeth to locate and catch prey.  Some scientists believe these similarities suggest pet cats are barely domesticated at all.  Many cat owners will attest that their feline friends are trainable only as far as it suits them.  And, at best, some would say cats are “self-domesticated.”

 

Studies have shown there is very little genetic difference between domestic cats and their wild cousins.  But they do differ in one big way – a genetic tendency to be docile and around people.  It is likely the cats that hunted vermin near human food stores adapted to better tolerate humans while still maintaining their independence.  For many, it is this independent nature that makes cats such rewarding and appealing pets.

 

The Abyssinian is a short-haired cat with a tabby coat.  Every individual hair is striped with different colors.  Genetics place the cats’ origins as Southeast Asia and the coast on the Indian Ocean.  However, they came to prominence in the 1860s when the first cats were brought to England from Ethiopia (then known as Abyssinia).  These cats are active and curious, and often follow their owners around.  They are usually in motion either playing or exploring. Today they’re one of the top five most popular cat breeds.

 

The Himalayan Persian cat, also known as the Colourpoint Persian in Europe, is a sub-breed of the Persian cat.  It may also be considered a long-haired sub-breed of the Siamese, as it has its blue eyes and coloration.  Work to combine these two breeds began at Harvard University in the 1930s.

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U.S. #2373
1988 22¢ Abyssinian and Himalayan
Cats

  • Pictures two popular breeds of cats
  • First Day ceremony held at Winter Garden Theatre, home of the Cats musical

Stamp Category:  Commemorative
Set: 
Cats
Value: 
22¢, first-class rate
First Day of Issue: 
February 5, 1988
First Day City: 
New York, New York
Quantity Issued: 
39,639,000
Printed by: 
American Bank Note Company
Printing Method: 
Photogravure
Format: 
Panes of 40 in sheets of 160
Perforations:  11

 

Why the stamp was issued:  To provide a block of stamps for cat lovers, similar to the block of dog stamps issued four years earlier. 

 

About the stamp design:  The Citizens’ Stamp Advisory Committee commissioned two artists to create artwork for these stamps.  Each artist asked to make one completed painting and three pencil sketches.  In the end, wildlife artist John Dawson was selected to design the stamps.  He had experience painting cats, as his depictions appeared on the packages for 9-Lives and Alley Cat cat food.

 

This was Dawson’s first time designing stamps, though he had wanted to for a long time.  While the 1984 Dogs were pictured full body with background, the USPS wanted the cats to be depicted closer. “The committee wanted to show the fineness of the cats’ fur and the impressive look of their eyes.”  Once the paintings were completed, they were reviewed by a former show judge and member of three cat clubs.  He closely checked all the cats for fur and eye color, attitude, facial characteristics, and other details. 

 

First Day City:  The First Day ceremony for the Cats block was held at the Winter Garden Theatre in New York City, where the popular musical Cats, has run for many years.  One of the musical’s performers sang the National Anthem and Memory, a song from the show, and examples of each of the eight breeds on the stamps were present and on stage.

 

About the Cats Block:  The USPS consulted the Cat Fanciers’ Association to get a list of the most popular breeds.  From that list, as well as other sources, they selected eight breeds that offered a nice variety of appearance.  The USPS kept the stamps in a similar format to the dog stamps of 1984, featuring two cats per stamp.

 

The USPS was particularly pleased with the Cats stamps and made them the centerpiece of their winter-spring promotion, using the slogan, “Cuddlesome Collectibles.”

 

History the stamp represents:  Descended from African wildcats, domestic cats have lived alongside humans since at least 7500 BC.  They are valued for companionship as well as their ability to control rodent populations.  In terms of the total number owned, today cats are the Western world’s most popular pet.

 

There are over 70 different breeds of pet cats – but they are all technically a single species.  Domestic cats are still closely related to their wild ancestors and share many traits, like being flexible and nimble.  They are adept hunters, using their highly developed senses, sharp claws, and teeth to locate and catch prey.  Some scientists believe these similarities suggest pet cats are barely domesticated at all.  Many cat owners will attest that their feline friends are trainable only as far as it suits them.  And, at best, some would say cats are “self-domesticated.”

 

Studies have shown there is very little genetic difference between domestic cats and their wild cousins.  But they do differ in one big way – a genetic tendency to be docile and around people.  It is likely the cats that hunted vermin near human food stores adapted to better tolerate humans while still maintaining their independence.  For many, it is this independent nature that makes cats such rewarding and appealing pets.

 

The Abyssinian is a short-haired cat with a tabby coat.  Every individual hair is striped with different colors.  Genetics place the cats’ origins as Southeast Asia and the coast on the Indian Ocean.  However, they came to prominence in the 1860s when the first cats were brought to England from Ethiopia (then known as Abyssinia).  These cats are active and curious, and often follow their owners around.  They are usually in motion either playing or exploring. Today they’re one of the top five most popular cat breeds.

 

The Himalayan Persian cat, also known as the Colourpoint Persian in Europe, is a sub-breed of the Persian cat.  It may also be considered a long-haired sub-breed of the Siamese, as it has its blue eyes and coloration.  Work to combine these two breeds began at Harvard University in the 1930s.