Are these stamps valid for postage?
No. They are local Cinderella stamps and they cannot be used in place of Royal Mail stamps. However, they can be placed on envelopes and packages in addition to UK postage stamps.
What’s a Cinderella stamp?
A Cinderella stamp is anything that looks like a stamp but isn’t issued for postage by a government administration. Some of these are for local posts, such as Lundy and the Summer Isles. Others are propaganda issues, and some are fantasy issues. Many Scottish islands have a history of producing Cinderellas.
If they’re not used for postage, what’s the point?
Some collectors don’t care for Cinderellas, while others are very interested in them. We take the view that Cinderellas can be as fascinating as any other stamp.
We might ask what the point might be of Royal Mail creating so many issues that are obviously intended for collectors rather than postal use, or ask what the reason might be for issuing stamps for uninhabited rocks such as Staffa and Eynhallow. However, Islay is a bit different. We have a decent sized population and a thriving cultural scene. We issued the first set as a bit of fun in 2017, but we discovered that people across the world were actually interested in collecting them and so a new hobby was born!
So, you create these for collectors?
Yes and no.
Clearly some people find them very collectable. But we’re not simply creating the usual thematic issues to appeal to collectors – we’re trying to capture something of Islay’s character and history. Every stamp we create is intended to celebrate something about island life. All the photography and artwork is undertaken by ourselves. We work in photography and graphic design, so we see this as an opportunity to use our professional skills to showcase what Islay has to offer.
We think that high quality stamps reflect positively on the island. So, while we’re very happy to sell our stamps to collectors the primary motivation is to celebrate the island we love. We also love the idea that some islanders use these stamps on their mail as an expression of local identity.
Is this a money-making initiative?
Again, yes and no.
Obviously we hope to make some money – we have already donated profits to the Church of Scotland and the RNLI and we imagine we will raise money in future for other charities. But no, we’re not doing this to earn a living – it’s a hobby and something we enjoy doing.
Do you issue stamps for anywhere else?
We will only create stamps for places we have a connection with – we certainly have no plans to produce a plethora of local issues for places we don’t know. We’re committed to focusing on Islay, with an occasional (once a year) issue for Colonsay.
Are you connected with any of the other people and organisations who issue local Cinderellas?
No, although since we began creating Islay stamps we have been contacted by some of them. All of them are independent of each other, and have their own reasons for creating their local stamps.
How many issues are you planning to create?
We think four a year (plus the Christmas issue, for which local people are invited to submit designs) for Islay seems about right.
I like your stamps and I want to collect them. How do I know when there are new issues?
Great! You can keep checking the website, or alternatively send us an e-mail and sign up for our quarterly newsletter.