What is a cinderella? Although it has been asked before, I ask this question because there are many ‘labels' that could possibly be included within an overall definition and by way of sparking a (hopefully) interesting debate. In no particular order, I list below a number of categories, each having its own aspect of ‘legitimacy':
Private carrier stamps. Although having no legal status in the sense that they were not issued by governments and they are not valid for use for national mail services, these stamps are bona fide in that they represent the charge paid for carrying mail, packages, etc and are normally cancelled in some way when used. They include railway stamps (for carriage of mail/parcels on public trains, including tourist train services such as preserved steam railways); telegraph stamps (to show that the telegraph fees have been paid); strike stamps (used during strike action by national mail services, when private enterprise steps in); ‘island' mail (at least supposedly for carriage of mail off islands where there is no direct mail service but often not much more than a tourist feature); labels issued for ‘Boy Scout' delivered mail (or its equivalent outside the UK) and so on. More esoteric examples might include balloon mail, rocket mail or pigeon post. Early private air mail labels, for the cost of the air transport in addition to any normal post cost, might also be considered here.
Commemorative labels and souvenirs. These are usually issued by private companies or event organisers (although at least in the UK these may be printed by the same companies that produce legal postage stamps). These might include celebratory events such as coronations, royal visits or other public or private events such as festivals, trade fairs, philatelic congresses, etc.
Advertising labels. Varying from the ‘come and visit our tourist attraction' and variations on this theme (such as the ‘Our Beautiful Empire' series) to commercial productions advertising products. The printed colour example labels produced for stamp collectors in the form of 100 differently coloured ‘stamps' mounted in a folder by Stanley Gibbons some years ago could fit into this group (they are properly and professionally printed on gummed paper and are perforated). Commercial companies have also produced commemorative advertising labels for events (such as the Seagram's Whiskey labels for the Canada Royal Visit of 1939).
Political. This area includes issues such as those in the UK of Lundy Island and Sealand (a former WW2 coastal fort off the UK mainland that has declared itself independent), often where the issuer is trying to establish ‘state recognition rights' by issuing stamps (and sometimes currency). Some governments also issue labels not intended for postal use.
Propaganda. This category has affinities with the political type and is often produced by or for governments, rebels or pressure groups (such as the WW2 fantasies produced in Germany, based upon the UK 1935 Silver Jubilee and 1937 Coronation stamps and the ‘overprinted' forged UK definitives, to the anti Hitler caricatures).
Charities. Although charitable stamps, sometimes with a special surcharge, are sometimes issued by governments, charities themselves do issue their own labels as fund raisers (such as the Royal Institute for the Blind and the Lord Mayor's Fund in the UK). Christmas ‘stamps' often fall into this category.
Overprints and perfins. These are usually additions to legitimate postage stamps (although there are examples of cinderella labels that are overprinted, such as for the Canada/USA Royal Visit of 1939 on 1937 Coronation labels), these alterations are usually by a private company as a security measure against theft of its stamps (before the widespread introduction of private franking machines). In the UK and Commonwealth at least, government departments and local authorities have produced or used overprinted or perforated postage stamps, such as Official, War Dept, Service, etc; usually considered to be legitimate issues and catalogued as such (although UK local government and services overprints and perforated types are not).
Essays and trials. Strangely, these are often considered as acceptable by purist stamp collectors, even when the proposed stamp never reaches production in that form. They can include ‘losing' designs entered in a public or invited design competition for a real stamp issue to speculative suggestions for an issue that is never taken up. There are also trials (such as the ‘penny black' colour trials) produced for testing purposes but again, never being put into production.
Specimen issues. For the purposes of the Universal Postal Union, many postage stamps were overprinted or perforated ‘specimen' for distribution to foreign postal authorities (although at least in Australia, some of these were sold to the public) and these are usually considered to be legitimate stamps and are catalogued as such. Specimen overprints or perforations have also been used prior to full production for decision making consideration (perhaps more akin here to essays and trials). There are also examples of cinderella labels (such as for the 1937 Coronation) that have been so overprinted, presumably in this latter regard.
Training stamps. Produced for the training of mail service employees. These include genuine stamps overprinted with bars, etc to prevent them being used for postal service, to special labels made for the purpose (the UK ‘poached egg' stamps).
Spoofs and manufactured items. These are sometimes produced in only very small numbers (including the productions of Gerald King and others) and may be complete fantasies or be based upon real postage stamp designs. The UK limited edition (sometimes less than 50) ‘Smiler' sheets could also be considered thus.
There are doubtless other examples within each of these loose categories or of further categories, with many other examples that could be added. They range from the official to the outright bogus.
At the risk of possibly being contentious, I would suggest that for a label to be considered as being a ‘genuine' Cinderella (if that is not a contradiction in terms!), it should be produced in significant numbers and be available for open public purchase when issued but it should have no purpose other than being ornamental. I would argue that priced labels used for prepayment of any form of carriage or delivery are real ‘stamps' rather than being cinderellas, even if they are not used for a standard postal service or they are privately issued and even if the purist ‘stamp' collector or catalogue issuer chooses to ignore them. Somewhere in between these areas fall overprints/perfins, essays, trials, specimens, training stamps, etc; with spoofs being a bit beyond the pale!
Personally, I classify anything that gives the appearance of a "stamp", but not designed to be used in the postal system, the classification of a "cinderella", whether it be considered a label, poster stamp, etc. I group them all together as "cinderellas". However, I do agree the definition can become very hazy and subjective depending upon who you talk with and what country is involved.
An abbreviated version of what Wiki describes as "Cinderella Stamps" may or may not help to clarify the meaning:
Quote: In philately, a cinderella stamp has been defined as "Virtually anything resembling a postage stamp, but not issued for postal purposes by a government postal administration..."
As cinderella stamps are defined by what they are not, there are many different types and the term is usually construed fairly loosely. Items normally regarded as falling within the area are poster stamps, propaganda labels, commemorative stickers, stamps issued by non-recognised countries or governments, court fee stamps, charity labels like Christmas seals and Easter seals, most telegraph stamps, some railway stamps, some local stamps and purely decorative items created for advertising or amusement.
In my opinion, your term "...produced in significant numbers and be available for open public purchase when issued..." may not truly define a "cinderella" as I suspect there are thousands (perhaps tens of thousands) that were produced in small enough quantities that were intended for a local cause that may not have had widespread sales.
I am constantly amazed as to the various "cinderellas" posted on SCF, and I would dare say that new material is found almost daily that few have ever seen before. It's what makes the collecting of such items interesting.
As is the case with almost every aspect of stamp collecting, there are no right or wrong answers here, just go with your own preferences and enjoy the hobby.
I couldn't agree more about personal preferences and the convenience of an umbrella term (too many -ellas perhaps!), I myself collect ANYTHING, however loosely fitting the term, from the George VI era.
When I suggested 'significant numbers' and 'sold publicly' then obviously some issues might, like those for the 1937 Coronation, run into millions while those locally celebrating a small town fair, church restoration project or Xmas labels might only have a print run of a few hundred - but both are sold publicly so both would count. We come here to that nebulous thing so loved by collectors everywhere - relative rarity! The commonplace is accepted freely but we all pursue avidly those small issues or strange usages that are considered to be 'rare' - it must be something deep within our psyche! Rariety happens through chance or by deliberate manipulation but either are accepted.
It amuses me with some nationally produced collector packs or issues specifically aimed at the collector (some countries almost make a living of issuing stamps in huge numbers as a revenue raiser from collectors rather than for any legitimate postal need, even to issuing them pre-cancelled to suit those who want them 'used') or when these are touted as 'investments'! Should these be cinderellas too?
It is obviously a subjective matter too. Interesting that given I have not read the Wiki definition before (I don't use Wiki for anything) that almost all the categories I mentioned are included therein.
I was just interested in what others might feel! It also intrigues me that privately issued mail carriage labels, some types of which run for longer than many stamp issues, are not included within the mainstream area, just because they are not produced by a national postal service - often such things as railway stamps are produced by nationally owned and administered railways. Chris Wren
There have been one or two threads here specifically about 'What is a Cinderella' but I canny find them !
Nice list crwhb! I collect anything not in the Postage Stamp catalogues of the world and put them under the general Cinderella Umbrella.
I think many others do the same. If one looks at dealers lists, auction sites, philatelic websites and literature you will see they all agree and disagree. In short, to each their own. The list of cwrhb is good. there are many categories under that Cinderella Umbrella and many are explained in his post. We can agree or disagree with his list but they are all Cinderellas...except one !
Limited Edition 'Smilers' sheets were mentioned
Quote: Spoofs and manufactured items. These are sometimes produced in only very small numbers (including the productions of Gerald King and others) and may be complete fantasies or be based upon real postage stamp designs. The UK limited edition (sometimes less than 50) ‘Smiler' sheets could also be considered thus.
The sheets have postage stamps within them and [as a whole item] cannot be considered Cinderellas. Broken down, the labels adjoining the stamps would be classed as such.
I never did write my list of categories....must get around to doing it. And if anyone comes across the thread of [I think] Warrehouse, about this very subject, please post a link here.
I concede the point about Smiler sheets, I was thinking more of those similar sheets, lacking any true postage stamps, that often reproduce real stamps of an earlier age.
Doubtless there have been other threads on the question of what might constitute a cinderella, it is a question that must have crossed the minds of most of us who are interested in such things when looking at something new or something in one of the grey areas. Wherever there is a potential market, someone will come along to service the demand!
I would be interested to see any suggestions for other categories or different examples, perhaps of things I have missed out and, like londonbus, I collect anything relevant to my period of interest, including 'tribute' items or later things that hark back to the George VI era. Chris Wren
Some of the newer innovations are pushing the envelope toward Cinderella status. Personalized Stamps. See for example: http://www.post.at/en/personal_stam...d_stamps.php Also in Austria they are publishing books with stamps inside. But who would tear a page out of the book just to use the stamp?