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 & Vintage Ideal Doll Co Peter Playpal Hard Plastic & Vinyl Af98Ltd Toy Stamp & Masterpiece Gallery Monika Levening Play Dressup Doll 28" Af103# Toy Stamp & 1967 Hasbo Gi Joe State Trooper W Action Motorcycle In BoxLtd Toy Stamp & Masterpiece Gallery Monika Levening Trinity Vinyl Doll 38" Af102Ltd Toy Stamp & Masterpiece Gallery Monika Levening Bitsy Doll 28" Af104Ltd Toy Stamp & Masterpiece Gallery Susan Lippl Shannon #21 Vinyl Doll 38" Af101Ltd Toy Stamp & 1930's Ideal 16" Composition Shirley Temple Doll In Tagged DressToy Stamp & Red Line Olds 442 Magenta Excellent ConditionLtd Toy Stamp & Ideal Doll Co Patti Playpal Hard Plastic & Vinyl 35" Af100% Toy Stamp & 1950's Nancy Ann Blonde Walker Muffie Doll In Original Box% Toy Stamp & 1950's Nancy Ann Bisque Story Book Doll In Original BoxToy Stamp & 1960s Matchbox 48 Car Case Full Of Super Nice Vehicles Many C9Toy Stamp & Early 1900s Cast Iron Kress Building BankToy Stamp & 1961 Strange Tales Issue #89 Comic Book 4.5 ConditionLtd Toy Stamp & 1950s Alexander 20" Cissy Queen Elizabeth Doll W Gown OutfitLtd Toy Stamp & 1950s Alexander 17" Brunette Story Princess Doll W Cissy FaceLtd Toy Stamp & 1930's Madame Alexander 11" Composition Little Betty Face DollToy Stamp & Mattel Major Matt Mason S Friend Rare Jeff Long Fantastic Condition% Toy Stamp & 1950's Ideal Revlon 17" Tall Blonde Hair Blue Eyes P-5Toy Stamp & 1977 Mego Kiss 12 Inch Ace Mint Unused In The Box% Toy Stamp & 1930's Madame Alexander Dianne Quintuplets Set Of 3 P-2Ltd Toy Stamp & Lesney Matchbox #34 Volkswagen Camping Car 2.5" With Box Hf70% Toy Stamp & 1930's Madame Alexander Dianne Quintuplets Set Of 4 P-3Toy Stamp & 1960s Monster Slide Puzzle Mint Unused On The Original CardToy Stamp & Antique White Flame Kerosene Oil Pedestal Lamp Rare Hard To FindToy Stamp & Red Line Custom Volkswagen Us Gold W White It C9 ConditionLtd Toy Stamp & 1950s Alexander 20" Blonde Cissy Doll W Tagged OutfitToy Stamp & 1960s Bullwinkle Rocky The Squirrel Ceramic LampLtd Toy Stamp & 2014 Fr Convention Jason Wu Grandiose Natalia Fatale! Fg-14Ltd Toy Stamp & 1930's Mme Alexander 7" Tiny Betty Face Oliver Twist Doll W/boxLtd Toy Stamp & 1965 Japan Kamar Jfk Rocking Chair Windup Toy Music W Box Af76**ltd Toy Stamp & 1960's Barbie 5 Original Sheaths, Silk, Apple Print, DottedToy Stamp & 1964 Revell The Beatles John Lennon & George Harrison ModelsLtd Toy Stamp & German Turtle Mark 70 Doll Celluloid 27.5" Hg4% Toy Stamp & 1950's Ideal Revlon 17" Tall Blonde Hair Blue Eyes P-4Toy Stamp & Red Line Mighty Maverick Aqua Us Excellent Condition% Toy Stamp & 1970 Mattel Twist 'n Turn Barbie In Original Swim Suit Q-14Toy Stamp & 1960s Mattel Talking Flying Major Matt Mason Set In Original Box1972 Hasbro Gi Joe Adventure Team High Voltage Escape In Original Window Box1972 Hasbro Gi Joe Adventure Team Hurricane Spotter In Original Window Box.% Toy Stamp & 1950's Buddy L Custom Woody Wagon Mint In Original Box 11" Long% Toy Stamp & 1950's Roy Rogers Dale Evans Bag 13" Long By 9" TallLtd Toy Stamp & Vintage Rare Midge Barbie With Teeth & Wardrobe! Bonus Fg-7Ltd Toy Stamp & 1950s Vogue Tagged Doll Outfits Lot For 7" Ginny Dolls In Box #2Ltd Toy Stamp & 1930s Mme Alexander 7" Composition Tiny Betty Face Jo Doll W/boxLtd Toy Stamp & 1930's Madame Alexander Cloth Little Shaver Doll With BoxToy Stamp & 1964 Revell The Beatles Ringo Starr Model With Original Box% Toy Stamp & 1950's American Character Tiny Tears Doll 18" Tall With Extras P-6Ltd Toy Stamp & 1950's Ideal 19" Plastic Blonde Toni Doll P-92 In Tagged DressLtd Toy Stamp & 1950s Vogue 7" Blonde Ginny Straight Leg Doll In BoxLtd Toy Stamp & 1950s Vogue 7" Redhead Ginny Straight Leg Walker Doll W OutfitToy Stamp & 1982 Hot Wheels 67 Camaro Metallic Lime W Black Roof C9 ConditionLtd Toy Stamp & 1950's Ideal 12" Vinyl Shirley Temple Doll In Original Dress% Toy Stamp & 1960's Cast Iron Space Ship Rocket Coin Bank 9" Long% Toy Stamp & 1960's Mattel Twist 'n Turn Barbie With Extra's Q-12Ltd Stamp & Lot Of 6 Vintage Farm Implements John Deere, New Holland & More Hg1Toy Stamp & 1981 Disney Mickey Mouse Nintendo Game & Watch Video Game In BoxLtd Toy Stamp & 1950s Vogue 7" Brunette Ginny Straight Leg Walker Doll & OutfitsToy Stamp & 1979 Wacky Packages Uncut Full Sheet Of StickersToy Stamp & Mattel Major Matt Mason And Space Sled Set