Cinderella stamps include all manner of adhesive printings—from fiscals and forgeries to railway stamps, advertising labels, phantom issues, and charity seals—designed to resemble official postage but invalid for actual use. The term Cinderella Stamp was chosen by the first Cinderella Stamp Club in 1959 as a reference to the mistreated and underappreciated fairy tale character. Cinderellas which have accidentally passed as true postage and appear cancelled on covers are particularly prized among collectors. While some philatelists shun these stamps because they are inauthentic, a fair number of Cinderellas are created specifically for the stamp-collecting community.

Local stamps are a special type of Cinderella that can be used as valid postage within a small, specified region, but not beyond. Historically, local stamps often preceded national stamps before unified postal services were developed, but locals were also used for small-scale courier services, like the system serving the Oxford University community in the late 1800s.

Christmas or charity seals are special stickers used to raise funds for an organization, like the adhesive stickers created for the American Red Cross during the early 20th century. Fiscal, tax, or revenue stamps are receipts of duties paid, and are generally unrelated to philately unless they authorize a specific postal sale. This subcategory is known as postal-fiscals. Railway stamps, however, did serve as actual postage for mail traveling with various railroad companies in Britain during the late 19th century.

Other Cinderella stamps have been created to mark special events, advertise products, or show support for a general cause. A particularly interesting set of patriotic Cinderellas dates from 1861, designed by the Union government to show support for the American Civil War. Two of the most sought after commemorative Cinderellas were printed by a Viennese stamp dealer to celebrate an exploratory voyage to the North Pole from 1872 to 1874. These triangle-shaped designs featured an image of a glacial landscape surrounded by a specific island name (either Cap Pest or Cap Wien), and the date.

The 1920s and '30s saw a great proliferation in Cinderella-stamps, most carrying advertising imagery or exhibition seals. The 1933 Chicago World’s Fair inspired many Art Deco style stamps, featuring images of exposition buildings or the fair's spinning Saturn logo, though none were valid as postage. The American Poster Stamp Association (APSA) even issued its own decorative Cinderellas during the 1950s.

A small but fascinating niche within Cinderellas is the protest-stamp category. These stamps are produced to offer a dissenting view of an issue or event on authentic postage. For example, in 1995, the alteration of an original stamp design featuring the atomic bomb in a set commemorating World War II was protested by individuals who created their own anti-war Cinderellas.

Finally, some Cinderellas are simply fraudulent versions of genuine stamps. These forgeries are created to fool the postal service or philatelists.

Best of the Web (“Hall of Fame”)



First shown in 2008 to celebrate the Smithsonian National Postal Museum's 15th anniversary, Alphabetilately is esse… [read review or visit site]

Most watched eBay auctions    

Australia 1938 Sesquicentenary Cinderella Complete Sheet Of 49 Mnh Very RareAustria Cinderella In Album, 99p Start, All PicturedHungary Cinderella, Collectors' "bela Szekula, Inter. Phil. Society" In Budapest_jd Poster Stamp/mattson Line To Hawaii/ship_jd Poster Stamp/see Hawaii-matson Navigation Co./ship-volcano-hawaiian Girl#072 Italy Italia Marca Da Bollo Alberghi Bob Cinderella Material 16x Pages Sb Noblespirit No Reserve 3944/37 Excellent Ww Cinderellas + Expo Souvenirs Coll!Reklamemarke/poster Stamp Big Sice87- Lj) Old Poster Stamp Train- O.s.tooth Block -the Dentifrice Sutton PrestonReklamemarke/poster StampOutstanding Boyscouts Collections Cinderella Poster Stamp Rare Delandre+ Ukraine1941 Germany Feldpost Cover Feldpost Norway? 4 V Viktoria Cinderella StampsUkraine Cinderella, 1910 Lviv School Council Labels, Complete Set, Unused109- Lj) Old Poster Stamp Surrey Spain Foodship 1939Reklamemarke/poster StampReklamemarke/poster StampUs Cinderella Stamps - Intl Stamp Expo New York - Set Of 4 Stamps - 1913 Mint HmGerald King Complete Set Of Fantasy 1867 Classic Usa Cinderella Stamps Rare86- Lj) Old Poster Stamp Train- O.s.tooth Block -the Dentifrice Sutton Preston805-lj) Old Poster Stamp- Ship- Lighthouse Margate 1912 Great Britain Triangle3 New Zealand Local / Cinderella / Duty / Revenue / Tax Stamps , (n)Ukraine Ussr 1932 10 Rub. Osoaviakhim Issue Imperf. Unused CinderellaReklamemarke/poster StampReklamemarke/poster StampGb Cinderellas 1971 Postal Strike Mail 1/- To 7/6d Sheet Of 12 Astral Creations 1937 London Stamp Exhibition Cover Cinderella Labels Air Mails Ireland (043)Gerald King 'snark Island' 1890 Island Wildlife Signed Cinderella Cover StampsGerald King 'wonderland' Original 1st Colour Emergency Inflation Stamps Imperf Gerald King 'alice In Wonderland' Looking-glass Railway Cinderella Cover Gerald King 'elizatoria' Germany Heligoland Fantasy Cinderella Stamps RareCollection Cinderellas Various Types Stamp Duty Revenue AustraliaKindness To Animals - By Windox Ltd. England - Full Set - CinderellaPoland Ww2 Postcard Polish Forces Fieldpost Postal Seal Cinderella (3)Poland Ww2 Postcard Polish Forces Fieldpost Postal Seal Cinderella (5)Reklamemarke/poster Stamp LotEkko Radio Reception Stamp, Wins, New York CityPoster Stamp ––– Cinderella Label Advertising Reklamemarke ––– UsaPoster Stamp ––– Cinderella Label Advertising Reklamemarke ––– NorwaySpain/lugo 1927 Ii National Fruit Exhibition Poster Stamp/label NhReklamemarke/poster StampReklamemarke/poster StampReklamemarke/poster StampGerald King Snark Island ( S.i.) 1d Victoria. Gb CinderellaLocal Post Stamps - Squire Dispatch~shrub Oak - Set Of 8 - Varying ConditionGerald King 'wonderland' Joined Strip Of 4 Stamps Experimental Design Very Rare Gerald King 'alternative Lundy' Rare German Occupation Cinderella Stamps Go1Poster Stamp ––– Cinderella Label Advertising Reklamemarke ––– GermanyHungary Cinderella, Dealer Advertisements, "1914 By Urai J. Forry" Cinderella Mix I-1) Trading/savings/coupon Stamps 45 Diff, Scarce, RareUs Poster Reklamemarke Stamps Collection 1930 Ny Mi Chicago Tn Wi Pa Oil Nj Us Poster Reklamemarke Stamps Collection Exhibition Fair Centennial Exposition1937 Us Exposition Poster Stamp Collection Flower Pa Ia Chicago Oh Wa Oil ScoutsHungary Cinderella, Phil. Stores Ads. "amateurs' Sales Co-operative" In BudapestDenmark Vintage Card With Miniature Examples 1921 10 Ore Red Cross Overprint Hungary Cinderella, "2nd Hungarian Philatelist Day" In Budapes In 1925Denmark Vintage Card With Miniature Examples 1921 5 Ore Red Cross Overprint 93- Lj) Old Poster Stamp Jugendstil La Capricieuse J.chamberry ParisPoland Ww2 Postcard Polish Forces Fieldpost Postal Seal Cinderella (1)Reklamemarke/poster Stamp LotReklamemarke/poster Stamp Lot