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    

1907 Type 2 Christmas Seal Tied On Postcard Mailed Dec. 24 Wayne Pennsylvania1908 Poughkeepsie New York Local Christmas Seal Used On Rppc Mailed To Ma Noblespirit No Reserve {3970} Valuable Christmas Seals, Collection & Cinderellas1907 Type 2 Us Christmas Seal (w. "happy New Year") Unused Block Of Four, No GumFrance Ww1 Patriotic Delandre Military Poster Stamp Collection Infantry ColonyBritish Seals, "25th Philatelic Congress Of Great Britain" In Cambridge In 1938Cinderella/poster Stamp 27.6British Seals, "stamp Exhibition" In London In 1940 Victoria Frank Stamps (37)Half Day, Illinois - Pink Poodle Farm - Restaurant Ca. 1920s - Dog Poster StampFrance Cinderellas #29 - Automobile Club With Red Cross And ZeppelinNoblespirit No Reserve Interesting Ww Vintage Labels & Cinderellas 1907 Type 1 Us Christmas Seal Unused Block Of Four – No GumAustralia Cinderella Stamps - 3 X A.i.f (aif) Wwii Propaganda Stamps Lundy Island Stamps Cinderella By Gerald King UmmCentenary International Philatelic Exhibition Poster Stamps Set Of 12Cinderella/poster Stamp 26.61946 Philatelic Expo Poster Stamp Aps Chicago Il Chipex La Salle Hotel LabelCinderella Ivanhoe Patriotic Fund 3d On Contributors CardGermany Cinderellas #141 - Kolonien Hohenzollern YachtBritish Seals, "stamp Centenary Exhibition": In London In 1940Original Wwii Propaganda Poster Stamps / Decals: Defend Your Country / War Stamp(i.b) China Cinderella : Tourist Issue 3 Candarins1942 Wwii Hearst Publications Disney Combat Insignia Poster Stamps 1-25 Doc's Local Post Lindbergh Air Mail 5 Sheets Uptown 13231Cinderella/poster Stamp 27.6Ww1 Telephone Orders Chas F Clough Selby & Victoria Usa Poster Stamp Lot 131Ww2 Australia Block Of 4 X 1 D Lady Gowrie Cinderella Stamps MuhU.s. Fabian's Phantom Post Local Post Stamp, Second Sherlock Holmes Issue, N/hCinderella/poster Stamp 26.6British Seals, "stamp Centenary Exhibition": In London In 1940 W/o'prtCinderella/poster Stamp 27.61948 Philatelic Expo Poster Stamp Ohpex Ogden Hill Club Chicago IlThailand Registered Etiquette Poster Stamps/covers Registration Label CollectionAviation Switzerland Ww2 Military Air Force Poster Stamp Collection Delandre TypRhodesia Airways 1c Newspaper Stamps (block 4) Unmounted Mint (jy040)States Of Jersey Selection Of Specimen Revenue Stamps To £500 (mnh)Military Telegraph Stamp Provisional 0.25 Piastre On Q. Victoria 3d Stamp (mnh)Ss193 Gb Wales Talyllyn Railway Advert Stamps Labels Superb Mnh Um Complete PaneAustria Cinderellas #5 - Christliche Sociale Partei(i.b) Cinderella Collection : Sealand Royal Family CollectionAustralia 1950 Anpex Multicoloured Cinderella (aborigines) Block 12 Never-hingedIsrael Judaica Kkl Lot Of +90 Cinderella Poster Stamp SionismVery Scarce Spain Civil War Refugee Poster StampsBritish Seals, "29th Phil. Congress Of Great Britain" In Birmingham In 1947British Seals, "stamp Centenary Exhibition" In London In 1940 (i.b) Cinderella Collection : The Scottish War Memorial (qmaac)Wwii Home Front Poster Stamps, Decals: Save Rubber, Keep It Under 40, Bonds1942 Wwii Hearst Publications Disney Combat Insignia Poster Stamps 26-50 Cinderella Trading/savings/coupon Set Of Lit Bro’s Trading StampsAustria Early Tourrism Riviera Poster Stamp Label Sheet (x25)(i.b) China Cinderella : Tourist Issue 3 CandarinsLundy Island Stamps Cinderella By Gerald King Umm(i.b) China Cinderella : Tourist Issue 1 CandarinUsa Food Order Coupon Booklet Pane Mnh Revenue Or Cinderella Stamp 616aSpain Rare Civil War Christmas Poster StampCinderella Poster Stamp Set 1914 Memphis Tn Cotton ConventionAustralia - 1940's Anzac Club New York 12 X Cinderella StampsDenmark Poster Stamp Tango CigarettesDenmark Poster Stamp Emil Brandts Wine Shop