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Monday, October 5, 2009

Phila-Trivia: When "Cinderella" Means More than a Fairy Tale

"Cinderellas" resemble postage stamps, but are not issued for postal purposes by a governmental postal administration. They include many different types of stamps and stamp-like labels, such as: locals, advertising/poster stamps, propaganda labels, stamps issued by non-recognized countries or governments,
charity labels, telegraph stamps, coupon stamps issued by companies, ration stamps, fantasy stamps, counterfeits, and more.
Certain types of cinderella stamps are sometimes listed in stamp catalogs. Locals, for instance, have at times fulfilled a legitimate postal function when stamps issued by the national government were not available. Often, however, locals are issued simply as philatelic products for sale to collectors. Revenues are sometimes considered cinderellas, but because they fulfill a tax function and are issued by governmental agencies, they are sometimes listed in stamp catalogs.
Advertising/poster stamps advertise a product or an event, such as an exhibition or stamp show. Propaganda labels promote a particular cause. Stamps issued by non-recognized countries or governments include those issued by rebel groups, governments in exile, shadow governments, etc., and are sold to raise money for their operations. Charity labels are sold to raise money for various charities, and include Christmas, Easter, and Tuberculosis seals. Coupon stamps are issued by companies and given to customers as a bonus when products are purchased. Fantasy stamps are usually created by artists and appear to have been issued by non-existent countries. Counterfeits include postal counterfeits, produced to defraud the postal system, counterfeits of rare stamps created to defraud collectors, governmental counterfeits of postage stamps of enemy nations produced in time of war, and reprints.
Cinderellas are a very popular collecting area, but individual items are often difficult to evaluate because a comprehensive catalog of cinderella stamps doesn't exist. There are simply too many cinderellas to list, and since anyone may produce a cinderella, compiling and periodically updating a complete catalog would be an impossible task.
Those interested in collecting cinderellas should consider joining the Cinderella Stamp Club.

Those interested in learning about investing in stamps should read the Guide to Philatelic Investing ($5), available on Kindle and easily accessible from any computer.  

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