Poster stamp
The poster stamp was an advertising label, a little larger than most postage stamps, that originated in the mid-19th century and quickly became a collecting craze, growing in popularity up until World War One and then declining by World War Two until they are now almost forgotten except by collectors of cinderella stamps.


The unofficial nature of poster stamps has led to debate about exactly what is and is not a poster stamp. One definition has been "labels without postage stamp values, not good for postal service; advertising labels or charity labels."


The first poster stamps were inspired by the invention of the postage stamp
Postage stamp
A postage stamp is a small piece of paper that is purchased and displayed on an item of mail as evidence of payment of postage. Typically, stamps are made from special paper, with a national designation and denomination on the face, and a gum adhesive on the reverse side...

. A perforated label was produced in England in 1864 to celebrate the 300th anniversary of Shakespeare's birth and in Italy a label was produced in 1860 to celebrate Garibaldi's expedition to Sicily during the campaign to unify Italy. Commercial interests soon realised the publicity potential of the stamps and they were quickly adopted for the promotion of every type of product and cause. Poster stamps were also widely used by both sides during World War One as political propaganda
Propaganda is a form of communication that is aimed at influencing the attitude of a community toward some cause or position so as to benefit oneself or one's group....



As late as the 1930s they were still being used to promote political and other causes. In 1937 Irene Harand
Irene Harand
Irene Harand was an Austrian human rights activist and campaigner against antisemitism.Harand was born a Roman Catholic in Vienna and was an early organiser of protests against Nazi Germany's persecutions of Jews...

 published a series of anti-Nazi poster stamps portraying the contributions made by Jews to civilisation over the centuries, and adhesive labels of all kinds that are not postage stamps continue to be produced today to promote particular causes or events.

Further reading

  • Blase, Ch. J. Hungarian Poster Stamps and Similar Cinderellas: A narrative and illustrated catalogue. Alton: World Poster Stamps, 2000. ISBN 1901959252
  • Kiddle, Charles. Ludwig Hohlwein
    Ludwig Hohlwein
    Ludwig Hohlwein was a German poster artist. He was trained and practiced as an architect until 1906 when he switched to poster design. Hohlwein's adaptations of photographic images was based on a deep and intuitive understanding of graphical principles...

    : The poster stamps
    . Alton: World Poster Stamps, 1999. ISBN 1901959155
  • Schmidt, Walter., ed. "The Poster Stamp Report" in The Cinderella Philatelist, Journal of The Cinderella Stamp Club
    Cinderella Stamp Club
    The Cinderella Stamp Club was founded on 5 June 1959 in London, England, and is an association of philatelists, amateur and professional, whose interests lie in local stamps, telegraph stamps, railway stamps, revenue stamps, fiscals, forgeries, bogus and phantom issues, Christmas, Red Cross, TB and...

    . ISSN: 0009-6911
  • Steele, H. Thomas. Lick 'em, Stick 'em; the Lost Art of Poster Stamps. New York: Abbeville Press, 1989. ISBN 0896598993

External links

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