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.