C is for Cinderella Stamp - Page 1

A Cinderella stamp is any non-postage stamp. The oft-neglected stepchild of the postage stamp, a Cinderella may look like a stamp, but it won't carry the mail. The category includes locals, labels, tax stamps, fiscals, poster stamps, charity seals, forgeries, fantasies, phantoms, revenues, etc. Some are more elaborately designed than the postage stamps they imitate. The hard-core philatelist scorns any stamp that didn't carry the mail, but others find these philatelic by-ways fascinating and rewarding. Philatelic Exhibition Seals are a popular sideline among stamp collectors. The heyday for Cinderellas in the U.S. was the 1920's and 1930's, when many beautifully designed engraved examples were produced.

Keep in mind that the perspective of this exhibit is that of the formal stamp collector, or "philatelist", for whom anything that is not an officially-issued postage stamp is beyond the pale. This includes, as I have mentioned above, many items that are officially-issued, but not valid for postage, such as Revenues or Tax Stamps (such as the stamp on a pack of cigarettes, or on that tag with the ominous warning that is attached to every pillow and mattress).

One of the attractions - or turnoffs - of collecting Cinderellas is that there is no such thing as a "complete" collection, since in most sub-categories of this area, there is no catalog of what exists, and almost no way to compile one. Anyone can create a stamp to advertise or promote a product, and thousands of businesses, societies, event promoters, and individuals have been doing so for over a hundred years. The area is rich and varied, and the samples below merely scratch the surface of what is available.

BELOW is a diagram I borrowed from Art Groten's column in the ATA journal.
Art borrowed it from Swedish Cinderella maven Esbjorn Jansen.
I am in awe of the conciseness and completeness of this chart.
I can think of nothing he has left out, and I have not even a slight quibble with his choices.
It is a work of art.

Click to enlarge

Click on any image below to view a high-res version


To a non-philatelist, the general term for Cinderellas is "Poster Stamps", since many were based on posters of their era, or are large and poster-like in their design. The Poster stamps above are all from the "classic era", from 1890 to 1920.

I have created these other pages on specific categories of poster stamps:
Click here to access my web page on Poster Stamps in general.
Click here to access my web page on Poster Stamps of the 1933 Century of Progress Expo in Chicago.
Click here to access my web page on Poster Stamps of the 1901 Pan-American Expo in Buffalo.
Click here to access my web page showing Trains on Philatelic Exhibition Seals.
Click here to access my web page about a mysterious set of Cinderellas that show a bicycle.
Click here to access my web page about the souvenir sheets of stamps created to advertise Mrs. Stewart's Bluing.
Click here to access my web page about the poster stamps created to advertise the Chicago International Live Stock Exposition.
Click here to access my web page about the poster stamps with certificate numbers issued by the National Poster Stamp Society.
Click here to access my web page about the 1936-1951 Poster Stamp Bulletin of the National Poster Stamp Society.
Click here to access my web pages of classic German poster stamps, as originally published by Blogger Frank of Cologne, Germany.


Today the initials "APSA" can mean "Australasian Pig Science Association" or "American Pediatric Surgical Association" or any of many other names (those are real organizations - try a Web search) but in the early part of the 20th century they meant the "American Poster Stamp Association", which was one of many very active national and international organizations of Poster Stamp collectors, and of course issued many stamps of its own. The closest analog to that organization today is the

Poster Stamp Collectors Club

which publishes an informative and entertaining quarterly Bulletin.

The other current organization for collectors of Cinderella stamps is the CINDERELLA STAMP CLUB of the UK.
They have an extensive website, at http://www.cinderellastampclub.org.uk


Here's a classy way to announce a change of address. A friend of mine created this block several years ago, then posted them on all her mail for a while to inform her correspondents. Modern computers and color copiers have put this sort of self-expression within the reach of almost everyone, though I suspect few of us have the level of talent and creativity shown here.

Philatelic Exhibition Seals

Philatelic Exhibition Seals are popular among stamp collectors, since they were created as souvenirs of philatelic events,
hence have an official connection to the hobby. A favorite way of collecting them is on souvenir covers like the one below.

Several things make this cover particularly appealing to a collector: First, the cinderella is "tied" to the cover
by the postmark and cancel; second, it was cancelled at the exhibition for which it was issued; and third it is simply
attractive - all the elements fit together nicely.

Some of the finest US philatelic cinderellas ever created were produced by Henry Grimsland
for Chicago's North Shore Philatelic Society during the 1930's and 40's -
click on the image above to view a collection of those.

Some of the finest non-US philatelic cinderellas ever created were produced for the
Vienna International Philatelic Exhibition (WIPA) of 1933 -
click on the image above to view a collection of those.

Rigastamps has published online the Fields-Picklo catalog of Philatelic Exhibition seals, HERE.
It is sorted only by issuer, whereas I would like a sort by date as well, but it's an excellent resource, nonetheless.

Home B is for Bisect <<< Contents >>> C - Page2 Credits

All Letter images Copyright © 1997, 2000, SF chapter of AIGA
All text Copyright © 2000, William M. Senkus

Send feedback to the author: CLICK HERE

Revised -- 12/22/2018