Reprinted from Linn's Magazine, 1995
TONYA HARDING AND OTHERS ON FAKE STAMPS
UNASSORTED MIXTURES, By Denise Hatton
Fake stamps made by a Manhattan artist or artists were featured in articles in a New York City newspaper and magazine.
Two of the Cinderellas, an Olympic issue showing ice skater Tonya Harding and a Hate stamp, were pictured in an article by John Kalish in the April 24 New York Daily News. Other newspapers also carried Kalish's report. The Harding Cinderella shows her in handcuffs. She is wearing a skating costume. The design also includes the Olympic rings, the inscription "USA" and a 29c denomination. The Hate stamp is similar in design to the United States 1988 Love stamp showing a rose (Scott 2378). The main differences are the word "HATE" instead of "LOVE", "USA" in the right-hand corner instead of the left and a denomination of 19c instead of 25c.
Belinda Luscombe's article about the Cinderellas in the March 21 issue of the New York Magazine shows portions of five covers franked with the Cinderella stamps, including one depicting Amy Fisher (the so-called Long Island Lolita of supermarket tabloid fame) and another picturing boxer Mike Tyson. Neither article named the artist or artists who created the fake stamps, but the New York Magazine reports mentioned that the Cinderellas were sold at the St. Marks Bookshop on Third Avenue in NYC.
Mayer Vishner, an assistant manager at the book store, reported that 2000 of the Cinderella stamps have been sold since August. Vishner said that the Tyson Cinderella was the biggest seller. Other Cinderellas feature 1960s radical activist Abbie Hoffman, soul singer James brown, the Branch Davidian tragedy in Waco, the World Trade center bombing, the Los Angeles riots, the U.S. flag burning, firearms and war. Kalish described how the artist produced the fake stamps: "In the time it takes for a letter to be delivered across town, the artist can paint the design for a new stamp on a large canvas, photograph it and color photocopy it on gummed paper."
The Postal Service is aware that some of these Cinderellas have been used on mail in place of actual postage stamps. Postal inspector Mike Kmetz reported that letters bearing only these fake stamps may be returned for postage due. He also said that if anyone sent a large amount of mail franked with the Cinderellas that person could be charged with attempting to defraud the USPS. Allison Cusick, Louis Phillips, Leonard Spiro, Irving Silverfine and M. Zuckerberg sent clippings about the fake stamps to Linn's. (back to article listings)