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”)

Alphabetilately

Alphabetilately

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    

Ltd Toy Stamp & Red Line Olds 442 Red Excellent ConditionLtd Toy Stamp & Red Line Woody Hot Pink Bright C9 ConditionLtd Toy Stamp & 1965 Fantastic Four Issue #45 Comic Book Cgc 8.0 ConditionLtd Toy Stamp & 1950's Smith Miller Parts & Accessories Lot #c31Ltd Doll Stamp & Vintage Barbie & Mod Francie Clothing & Accessories Lot P-95Ltd Doll Stamp & #3 Blond Barbie In Box With Brown Eyeliner Original Hair! P-105Ltd Toy Stamp & Smith Miller & Doepke Fire Laddder Truck Frames & Parts Lot#c25Ltd Toy Stamp & 1950s Nichols Stallion 45 Mark Ii Plated Metal Cap Gun W BulletsLtd Toy Stamp & Hot Wheels Flying Colors Super Van Mint On Unpunched CardLtd Toy Stamp & 1964 Tales Of Suspense Issue #57 Comic Book Cgc 7.5 ConditionLtd Toy Stamp & 1940's Us Zone Germany Jumbo Elephant Tin Litho Wind-up ToyLtd Doll Stamp & Vintage Brunette Raven Ponytail Barbie In Swimsuit! Nr! P-108Ltd Toy Stamp & 1960's Ertl International Truck Cab Lot#e75Ltd Toy Stamp & 1964 Tales Of Suspense Issue #52 Comic Book Cgc 7.5 ConditionLtd Toy Stamp & 1958 Mattel Shootin' Shell Showdown Cap Gun Set W 3 Guns In BoxLtd Doll Stamp & Blonde Bubblecut Barbie1965 Vintage Evening Splendor #961 P-70Ltd Toy Stamp & Red Line Flying Colors Mustang Stocker Enamel WhiteLtd Toy Stamp & 1950s Tonka Farm Stake Truck Very RareLtd Toy Stamp & 1950's Smith Miller Mack Hood Ornaments Horns & More Lot #s7Ltd Toy Stamp & 1950s Mattel 11" Fanner 50 Cap Gun Pair W Leather Double HolsterLtd Toy Stamp & 1950's Smith Miller Bank Of America Armoured Truck Lot#e70Ltd Toy Stamp & 1920's Unique Art Jazzbo Jim On Roof Jigger Tin Litho Wind-upLtd Toy Stamp & Red Line Grass Hopper Medium Blue C9 ConditionLtd Toy Stamp & 1965 X Men Issue #12 Cgc 7.0 Condition% Ltd Toy Stamp & 1960 61 Registered Nurse #991 With Midge Barbie DollLtd Doll Stamp & 1959 Vintage Barbie Picnic Set Outfit #967 P-63Ltd Toy Stamp & 1950s Lionel #736 Train Engine & Tender Fantastic In BoxesLtd Toy Stamp & Red Line Mustang Boss Hoss Blue W White Int C8 ConditionLtd Toy Stamp & 1950's/60's Vintage Tonka Working Cement Mixer In Nice ConditionLtd Toy Stamp & Red Line Corvette Orange Us W White Int C9 ConditionLtd Toy Stamp & 1940's Us Zone Germany Arnold Monkey On Tricycle Tin Wind-upLtd Edition Doll Stamp & 1959 Vintage Tm #1 Barbie Commuter Set Outfit #916 P125Ltd Toy Stamp & 1950s Leslie Henry 11" Gene Autry 44 Cap Gun & Leather HolsterLtd Toy Stamp & 1950s Hubley 9.5" Texan Jr. Cap Gun Pair W Double Holster #1Ltd Doll Stamp & 1967 Twiggy Doll & Twigster & Twiggy-dos Outfits #1185 #122Ltd Toy Stamp & 1964 Tales Of Suspense Issue #49 Comic Book Cgc 8.0 ConditionLtd Doll Stamp & Blonde Bubblecut Barbie In 1963 Vintage Senior Prom #951 P-68Ltd Toy Stamp & Red Line Fire Eater Mint On Unpunched CardLtd Toy Stamp& 1968 Matchbox Official Collector's Case And 48 Vehicles Lot A1Ltd Toy Stamp & 1950's Doepke Mg Silver Sparkle Finish Lot#e62Ltd Toy Stamp & 1950's 60's Tonka Rubber Tires Huge Lot #c27Ltd Doll Stamp & 1968 Vintage Barbie Sparkle Squares Outfit #1814 P-114Ltd Toy Stamp& 1966 Matchbox Collector's Case # 41 And 38 Vehicles Lot A5Ltd Toy Stamp & 1950's Smith Miller 5 Truck Frames Lot#s2Ltd Doll Stamp & Blonde Francie Doll In 1966 Vintage Francie Style Setters P-86Ltd Toy Stamp & 1976 Kenner Bionic Six Million Dollar Man & Oscar +critical LegsLtd Doll Stamp & 1959 Vintage Barbie Suburban Shopper #969 P-75Ltd Toy Stamp & 1963 Fantastic Four Annual #1 Comic Book Cgc 6.0 ConditionLtd Toy Stamp & 1950's Smith Miller 12 Tires Hubs & Axles Lot#t6Ltd Toy Stamp & 1965 Journey Into Mystery Issue #112 Comic Book Cgc 8.0Ltd Toy Stamp& 1983 Matchbox Official Collector's Case And 48 Vehicles Lot A2Ltd Toy Stamp & 1950s Hubley 9.5" Texan Jr. Cap Gun Pair W Double Holster #2#ltd Toy Stamp & 1950s American Flyer Engine No K325 W TenderLtd Doll Stamp & 1960's Ideal Tammy Doll In Original Box With Lots Of Clothes#ltd Toy Stamp & 1940s Britains Lead Zoo Animals In The Box No 11zLtd Toy Stamp & 1964 Fantastic Four #2 Annual Comic Book Cgc 6.5 ConditionLtd Toy Stamp & Hot Wheels Flying Colors Street Rodder Mint On The CardLtd Doll Stamp & 1960 Vintage Barbie Friday Night Date Outfit Complete #979 P69Ltd Toy Stamp & 1963 Marvel Avengers Issue #2 Comic Book Cgc Graded 7.0Ltd Toy Stamp & 1964 Strange Tales Issue #126 Comic Book Cgc 7.5 Condition