A Cinderella-Stamp Commemorative Issue
T.H.E. Hill, the author of Voices Under Berlin and The Day Before the Berlin Wall, is an artist as well as an author. Hill has created a sheet of Cinderella Stamps celebrating the Twentieth Anniversary of the Fall of the Berlin Wall, honoring the members of the American Armed Forces in Berlin who stood guard for almost fifty years, making sure that the Island of Freedom known as Berlin remained free.
The official unveiling of the stamps took place on 9 November 2009 at the Allied Museum in Berlin, when the Museum was presented with the first sheet of stamps from the print run. David Guerra of BerlinBrigade.com made the presentation to the Museum.
(Read an interview with Hill, in which he talks about the artistic process of creating postage-stamp art.)
Cinderella Stamps are stamps that would like to go to the ball of philately, but are generally snubbed by "serious" stamp collectors, whose only interest is in stamps that will move a piece of mail from point A to point B. Cinderella Stamps are not valid for postage. They are in reality an art form that uses the medium of stamp-sized images on gummed, perforated paper. In the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, stamps of this type were also known as poster stamps. Modern practitioners of the art—of which there are many—prefer to use the term artistamps.
The image below is the layout plan for the sheet.
This sheet measures 15X20 cm.
At the left of the bottom margin of the sheet is an image of the crest of the City of Berlin with the honorific banner "Outpost of Freedom." The crest is bisected by one of the perforation lines to symbolize Berlin's other Cold-War title, "The Divided City." The bottom right of the margin hosts a faux cancellation mark for "APO 09742", the Army Post Office number for Berlin. The cancellation shows the date 9 November 2009 as the "First Day of Issue." This is the date of the twentieth Anniversary of the Fall of the Berlin Wall. In the center of the bottom margin is John F. Kennedy's world-famous statement, made in Berlin in June 1963: "Ich bin ein Berliner" (I am a Berliner). (Contrary to popular belief, this does not mean "I am a jellied doughnut.")What Kennedy actually said was: "Today, in the world of freedom, the proudest boast is 'Ich bin ein Berliner'." The men and women of the Allied Western Armed forces in Berlin felt this same sense of pride in being Berliners, perhaps, even more strongly than Kennedy, because they actually lived in Berlin, sharing the fate of those whom it was their duty to defend. In Kennedy's view, "all free men, wherever they may live, are citizens of Berlin," and, therefore, this sheet of commemorative Cinderella Stamps is for all those Americans who, like Kennedy, "take pride in the words 'Ich bin ein Berliner'."
Click on the "envelope" below for a "close-up" view of the individual stamps.
The stamps are printed on high-quality glossy white, water-activated gummed paper. The sheets are separated into individual stamps using a line perforation machine that produces 11.5 perforation holes every two centimeters. The perforations extend from edge to edge. The printer's placement technique has been optimized so as to create precise corner holes, avoiding "odd crossings," in as far as possible. An unexpected added extra for this project is that the Cinderella-Stamp printer for this project (YourStamps) is located in Berlin. That gives the stamps a greater sense of authenticity than they would have, if they were printed somewhere else.
As mentioned at the Gina Lotta Post Artistamp Museum,
T.H.E. Hill is also the designer of the "Francis Gary Powers U-2 Pilot" sheet of Cinderella stamps,
and the author of Voices Under Berlin: The Tale of a Monterey Mary.
while you are here, please take some time to learn more about both these interesting productions.