Hi, I have been looking into the world of Cinderella stamps recently and while they are very intriguing, I am left wondering if they are really worth anything? - D. Roper
Ah, the Cinderella stamp, it divides the world of philately like no other. Defined as "virtually anything resembling a postage stamp, but not issued for postal purposes by a government postal administration", there are those that feel that Cinderella stamps should not be classed as stamps at all.
However, there is a dedicated group of collectors within the philatelic community who covet these stamps for their often brilliant designs, rarity and for the fascinating history that surrounds them. With a range of types and uses, they certainly provide an interesting area for those that feel like straying from the norm.
Cinderella stamp collectors are some of the most dedicated around, as the majority of the stamps are not worth much at all (at least not on the scale of regular issue postal stamps), meaning that their collectors are solely devoted to their area rather than the value of their collection. The market for Cinderella stamps is also very volatile, with those that are popular and valuable quickly falling from favour at the drop of a hat.
Those that do tend to hold their value well are local stamps, such as those issued on the British Channel Islands. Local stamps originate from more remote areas of the world that the national postage service did not reach, leaving the locals to create their own stamps, most of which had a genuine postal function. The Zemstvo stamps of Russia are probably the best known local stamps and can sell for tens of thousands at auction.
Some would also consider revenue stamps as Cinderellas, though this is widely contested by collectors.
Overall, if you are dedicated to your collecting rather than investment, you will find Cinderella stamps to be highly rewarding, with thousands of varieties available, each issued for a specific purpose. However, making a return from these stamps can be difficult and only the very best examples will offer the potential of real profit.