Bulgaria, Airmail Etiquette, 1989

This morning we have a nice bit of postal ephemera in the stamp drawer: an airmail stamp from Bulgaria issued in 1989. I removed this from an envelope that also had an interesting Bulgarian stamp affixed to it and kept it because I thought it was charming in an of itself. 

This is not technically a stamp, though; it is what philatelists call a cinderella—a label, sticker or stamp that looks and feels like a stamp and may serve some purpose within the postal system, but, in most cases, does not indicate postage paid as a stamp does. Cinderellas are usually discarded by collectors and are not catalogued the way postage stamps are, but there are a lot of handsome examples out there.

There are many types of cinderellas—poster stamps, charity stamps, revenue stamps and so on, as well as special purpose stamps indicating a piece of mail will be ferried by air, or rail, or some other means. Our Bulgarian example is a bit of “airmail etiquette.” These have become superfluous in postal systems, as most mail now travels by air. But there are plenty of vintage etiquettes floating around that are as attractive and collectible as the stamps they accompanied on letters sent abroad. As I come across more I will share them here. 

Bulgaria, Historic Sailing Ships Stamps, 1986

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I am in love with these stamps. They are some of the first stamps I collected and in pretty crummy condition (I’m now a bit pickier about the condition of stamps I collect). They’re also part of a six stamp set which I have yet to complete. Though these were issued in 1986 they share some stylistic similarities with these Bulgarian stamps issued two decades earlier—a folky design aesthetic and a minimal but vivid palette that I’ve come to love in stamps from Eastern Europe in general.  

Bulgaria, Folk Stamps, 1966

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This afternoon in the stamp drawer we have a charming set of six Bulgarian stamps issued in 1966. 

I’ve had difficulty finding information about these stamps; their designer, unfortunately, seems to be unknown. The series commemorates the season of spring in a distinctly Eastern European mid-century folk style. Definitely some of my collection favorites. 

I welcome any additional information about this set or its designer in the comments section below.