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Europe/Other : Euro Fun from the Gibbons catalogue supplement

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14 Nov 2016
The catalogue supplements printed monthly in the Stanley Gibbons house magazine often give rise to amusement - the latest issue being no exception.

France released a whimsical set back in August 2015 illustrating well-known French proverbs or sayings. Gibbons helpfully translates most of these, but comes unstuck with "Donner sa langue au chat". Most of you with schoolboy French will recognise this as a fairly close version of "Cat's got your tongue".

Not so Gibbons. They offer "Give up the sponge", not an English expression many of us will have come across.

Do they mean, from boxing, "Throw in the towel"? Goodness knows, and there's no illustration to help. Perhaps a native Frenchman among us can make sense of it all! Confuse-a-collector rating: **

It gets better. Here is an Austrian stamp of 4th April this year, issued under the generic heading "Austrians in Hollywood" - a photograph of Michael Haneke. Haneke is a renowned film director - you may have seen Funny Games, Hidden or The White Ribbon. The portrait has him flanked by a "filmstrip" design to give you a clue, but assumes you know who he is.

Gibbons doesn't. They found out a film of his was called La Pianiste (released as The Piano Teacher). So they list him as a "pianist"! Chump Rating: ***

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23 Feb 2021

re: Euro Fun from the Gibbons catalogue supplement

We used to have a cooky in France called: langue de chat. (Cat's tongue). This cooky might be seen as a sponge cake. Hence the "Give up the sponge". Maybe, maybe not. Michel

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