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 & 1977 Kenner Star Wars 12 Back Luke Skywalker Mint On The CardLtd Toy Stamp & 1950s Lionel Santa Fe Train Set W Diesel Engine 2353Ltd Toy Stamp & Red Line Barracuda Aqua Us W White Int With Cheetah CardLtd Toy Stamp & 1940s Madame Alexander 21 Inch Composition Doll W Original DressLtd Toy Stamp & 1920s Lionel Large Build A Loco Train 384e Engine And TenderLtd Toy Stamp & 1950s Lionel Train Set W Diesel Switch Engine 623Ltd Toy Stamp & 1950s Lionel #282 Portal Gantry Crane In The Box1959 Disneyland Submarine Voyage Silkscreen Attraction Poster & Ltd Toy StampLtd Toy Stamp & 1930s Ideal Shirley Temple Composition 18 Inch DollLtd Toy Stamp & 1920s Lionel Large 381 Train Engine For Parts1956 Disneyland Autopia Silkscreen Attraction Poster & Ltd Toy StampLtd Toy Stamp & 1977 Kenner Star Wars 12 Back Princess Leia Mint On The CardLtd Toy Stamp & 1950s Lionel Wabash Train Set W Diesel Engine 2369 In BoxesLtd Doll Stamp & 1950s Alexander 20" Blonde Annabelle Doll W Outfits More In BoxLtd Toy Stamp & Wwi Big Bang Army Tank Carbide Cannon UnusualLtd Toy Stamp & 1950s Smith Miller Unusual Early Issue Yellow Semi TruckLtd Toy Stamp & 1920s Lionel Large 402e Train Engine For PartsLtd Toy Stamp & 1976 Mego Riddler Mint On The Card1967 Disneyland Rocket Jets Original Silkscreen Poster & Ltd Toy StampLtd Toy Stamp & 1950s Lionel Train Set W Engine 671 In BoxesLtd Doll Stamp & 1950s Ideal 24" Blonde Betsy Wetsy Doll W Vinyl Body In Box1958 Disneyland Rr Primeval World Silkscreen Attraction Poster & Ltd Toy StampLtd Doll Stamp & 1950s Ideal 21" Blonde Toni Doll W Outfits & Toni Play Wave SetLtd Doll Stamp & 1950s Ideal 18" Shirley Temple Doll W Flirty Eyes Pink DressLtd Toy Stamp & 1983 Rainbow Bright Buddy Blue & Red Butler Mint In BoxLtd Toy Stamp & 1977 Kenner Star Wars 12 Back Han Solo Mint On The CardLtd Toy Stamp & 1950s Smith Miller Unpainted Mack Semi Truck For RestorationLtd Toy Stamp & 1975 Mego Fantastic Four Mister Fantastic Mint On Card1956 Disneyland Hotel Silkscreen Attraction Poster & Ltd Toy Stamp1956 Disneyland Mark Twain Silkscreen Attraction Poster & Ltd Toy StampLtd Toy Stamp & Fanner Shootin Shell 9 Inch. Cap Gun With 8 ShellsLtd Toy Stamp & 1950s Smith Miller Mack Fire Engine Semi TruckLtd Toy Stamp & 1977 Kenner Star Wars 12 Back Obi Wan Kenobi Mint On The CardLtd Doll Stamp & 1950s Nancy Ann 17" Blonde Style Show Doll W Gown OutfitLtd Toy Stamp & 1977 Kenner Star Wars 12 Back C-3po Mint On The CardLtd Toy Stamp & 1977 Kenner Star Wars Action Display W Original 12 FiguresLtd Toy Stamp & 1977 Kenner Star Wars Action Display W Original 12 Figures Lot 2Ltd Doll Stamp & 1950s Ideal 17" Red Hair Miss Revlon Doll Vt-18 W Outfits &moreLtd Toy Stamp & 1984 Hasbro Transformers G1 Devastator Decpticon LooseLtd Toy Stamp & 1950s Distler Tin Wind Up Large 10 Inch Car Works1955 Disneyland Space Station X-1 Silkscreen Poster Linen Backed & Ltd Toy Stamp1959 Disneyland Materhorn Silkscreen Attraction Poster & Ltd Toy StampLtd Toy Stamp & 1950s Pyro 21 Piece Us Army Vehicle Playset Mint In The BoxLtd Toy Stamp & 1950s Smith Miller Mack Truck P.i.e. Truck And Trailer SetLtd Toy Stamp & 1950s Smith Miller Blue Diamond Mack Dump TruckLtd Toy Stamp & 1950s Smith Miller Mack Truck Semi Truck1956 Disneyland Jungle River Silkscreen Attraction Poster & Ltd Toy StampLtd Toy Stamp & 1930s Wind Up Overland Flyer Sunshine Special Train SetLtd Toy Stamp & 1920s Lionel Large Standard Scale Tanker And BridgeLtd Toy Stamp & 1950s Smith Miller Mack Truck With Parts And Accessories1956 Disneyland Peter Pan Silkscreen Attraction Poster & Ltd Toy StampLtd Toy Stamp & 1978 Kenner Star Wars Darth Vader Case W Figures & Weapons Lot 5Ltd Toy Stamp & 1978 Kenner Star Wars Darth Vader Case W Figures & Weapons Lot 61967 Disneyland Its A Small World Silkscreen Attraction Poster & Ltd Toy StampLtd Toy Stamp & 1950s Lionel Train Set With #2056 Engine And AccessoriesLtd Toy Stamp & Mattels Chatty Cathy Doll In Box In Great Condititon1957 Disneyland Natures Wonderland Silkscreen Poster Linen Backed & StampLtd Toy Stamp & 1980's Rainbow Bright Tickle Pink & Canary Yellow Mint In BoxLtd Toy Stamp & 1985 Transformers Omega Supreme Complete In The Box1957 Disneyland Peter Pan Silkscreen Attraction Poster & Ltd Toy Stamp