February 2023

What are Cinderella Stamps?

Great Britain

So what is meant by the term a ‘Cinderella’? The term was coined by early philatelists for stamp-like labels that were; like the fairy tale character downtrodden and inferior when considered to postage stamps. 

In reality nothing could be further from the truth, many are beautifully designed and superbly printed, some by the very best security printers of the time, including Waterlow & Sons and Bradbury Wilkinson. Names I’m sure you are all familiar with.


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GB 1932 Cinderella Waterlow & Sons colour key sample labels

Unlike regular postage stamps they were privately produced and had no franking power, produced as early as the latter half of the 19th Century they were most frequently produced in the inter-war period when stamp collecting was at its most popular.


They were produced for a variety of reasons:

1.      As souvenirs of an event, those most commonly seen are for Philatelic Shows or Congresses which took place on an almost annual basis.

2.      For promotional advertising, whether that be for a private companies products, a local authority to promote tourism in their area or even on a much smaller scale by a town or village to promote a local event.

3.      To raise funds for a charitable cause, such as for a hospital, a restoration project or even to help the war effort and buy a Spitfire!

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GB 1897 Cinderella - Prince of Wales Hospital Fund

So rather than being downtrodden and inferior they are a fascinating and very interesting snap-shot of the philatelic and social history of the time, and can make a very interesting addition to any collection.


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