What are Cinderellas?

The simplest definition of a cinderella is any stamp or stamp-like item whose inclusion is not allowed in F.I.P. sanctioned exhibitions.

The more romantic definition is that just as in the fairy tale Cinderella was not allowed to attend the Royal Ball, the cinderella stamp is not allowed to attend the exhibition.

Once upon a time, revenue stamps were also excluded from competition, but that was changed several years ago. However, since revenues were included in the ranks of cinderellas for many years, they are still considered by some to fit into the cinderella category. Widespread acceptance of revenues (or fiscals) into the world of traditional philately is still not complete, and very few countries even have their revenue stamps listed in the major catalogues. The United States (in the Scott U.S. Specialized) and Sweden (in the Facit Specialized Scandinavia) are the only two major country catalogues with extensive revenue listings, and some other specialized catalogues have partial listings of revenues (primarily where revenues had been authorized for some postal uses). Luckily for the revenue collector there are a host of regional or single-country catalogues now available that list revenue stamps.

The following is a list of different types of cinderellas and their definitions. (Click on the title to see examples)

REVENUE STAMP: A stamp that indicates that a specific or general tax has been paid. - generally denominated in currency. Revenue stamps exist with many different duty types, some are very unusual.

TAXPAID (Revenue) STAMP: A stamp that indicates that a specific or general tax has been paid, usually used on consumer products, most commonly tobacco and alcohol - generally denominated by product count, weight or other measure.

LICENSE or ROYALTY STAMP: A stamp that indicates a license or royalty fee has been paid - may or may not be denominated.

DUES STAMP: A stamp that indicates membership dues (for a club, trade union, organization etc.) have been paid. Also includes membership fee stamps.

LOCAL (or CARRIAGE) STAMP: A stamp that pays for postage within a certain area only, including privately produced issues as well as government issues. Locals must be accompanied by a regular postage stamp if the letter is to travel outside of the local area.

Private & Semiofficial Airmail, Rocket Mail, Railway & Express company, and Shipping company stamps are all types of Locals, but carriage of the letters was restricted to a specific mode of delivery.

TELEGRAPH & TELEPHONE STAMPS: Stamps used to indicate that a fee has been paid for transmission or transport of a telegram, or to prepay telephone service time.

SAVINGS STAMPS: Stamps that were purchased and accumulated to pay for future purchase of goods or services. Frequently used to facilitate the purchase of savings bonds, especially war bonds.

BOGUS & FANTASY STAMPS: As the name implies, but Bogus stamps are usually make-believe stamps from real places and Fantasy stamps are usually make-believe stamps from make-believe places.

POSTER STAMPS: The easy definition of poster stamps is any stamp (non-denominated) created to advertise or commemorate a product or event. The evolution of the poster stamp is that it was originally a miniature version of a poster issued to advertise or commemorate a product or event. According to Charles Kiddle: "The main characteristic of the true poster stamp is integrity of design". What this means is that in order for the poster stamp to effectively convey its intended message, then the design and color scheme must be carefully chosen in order that such a small piece of paper can catch one's eye and get the message across. The bottom line is that in some cases the poster stamps worked and in some cases they did not. However, they are all collectible for one or more reasons. Poster stamps tend to be highly topical in nature, and an individual stamp may appeal to several collectors for different reasons. Generally speaking, poster stamps now include any advertising stamps as well as exhibition stamps (commercial as well as philatelic), patriotic and political stamps, military propaganda stamps, tourism promotional stamps and other similar stamps. A very popular area of poster stamps is artist-signed (or identified) poster stamps. While many poster stamps show a signature (or monogram), even more do not, making it a challenge to discover the artist who designed a particular stamp. Many of the world's most well-known graphic artists of the late 19th and early 20th century designed poster stamps, and there are many collectors who specialize in specific artists or schools of art. Known in Germany as Reklamemarken, in France as Vignettes, in Denmark as Samlermærke.

CHARITY STAMPS: As the name implies, these are stamps issued and sold by charitable organizations to raise funds to aid and advance their goals. Sometimes called "Seals" as in Christmas Seals, Easter Seals, etc. There is some crossover between this group and the poster stamp group in the area of Military propaganda issues. During the two World Wars (primarily) there were many stamps issued ostensibly to raise funds for charitable works such as rebuilding war-ravaged cities and towns or to aid families of veterans. Many of these issues were, in fact, bogus fund-raisers and so they fit more into the category of poster stamps even though they are denominated and appear to be charity issues.

LABELS: The term "labels" is sometimes interchanged with "stamps" or "seals", but a label is best described as a (usually) imperforate sticker that is applied to a product package to inform one as to the contents of the package. Labels can also include "baggage labels" which are usually large, and were intended to be placed on luggage, to advertise a hotel or mode of transport.

SEALS: Again, a term sometimes interchanged with "stamps" or "labels", but in the purest sense a seal is evolved from the impressions made on hot wax which was dripped onto a letter flap to seal the letter. Seals are usually now called "letter seals" and are usually round, with or without scalloping on the edges, and may be embossed. These were most commonly used by various governmental departments, but they were also used by companies to advertise their businesses, as well as some commemorative examples.

ETIQUETTES: These are usually small, rectangular "par avion", "air mail", "express" or registration stickers. The air mail etiquettes are quite numerous, and were issued by governments, airlines, and private printing companies. Generally the ones issued by governments or private printers are the most utilitarian in nature, but some of the airline issued etiquettes are pictorial, often depicting airplanes.

TOY STAMPS: Toy stamps were produced primarily for children, either by themselves or as part of a game, in which the children could set up a make-believe post office. Always smaller than traditional postage stamps, some toy stamps mimic actual postal issues, while others are complete fantasies in design. Toy post offices also often contained the other accoutrements commonly found in a real post office, such as cancelers, postal stationery, postal forms, and even post office signs. There have even been some toy postage stamps issued as advertising media. Known in Germany as Kinderpost, in France as Post Enfantine, in Denmark as Børnenes Postvæsen.

STICKERS: Generally these would be small, usually die-cut, adhesives that do not specifically promote a cause, event or product, but are decorative in nature. They were/are sold by stationers or other stores, for use in decorating letters, envelopes, etc.

This list is certainly not guaranteed to be complete, and I am sure that some of you may disagree with some of my characterizations, but it is intended to be only a general guide. There are many stamps that can cross over between two (or more) categories. I have tried to keep the definitions fairly simple and straightforward, but if anyone has any questions, comments, clarification or criticism I welcome you to share them with me. I fully expect to append or amend this list periodically.




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