An article highlighting the Lady McLeod issue – “the most expensive Cinderella in philately” – graces the cover of the July-August issue of The Canadian Philatelist (TCP), the official bi-monthly publication of The Royal Philatelic Society of Canada.
Authored by Richard Logan, the article pays tribute to a mail steamer called the Lady McLeod, which provided a much-needed postal service across the Gulf of Paria between the Port of Spain and San Fernando on the island of Trinidad.
The local economy was expanding rapidly with an influx of immigrant workers from Asia to harvest cocoa and sugar crops. The cheap labour stimulated growth, which prompted desperately needed communication to market the island’s bounty.
The Lady McLeod was put into service to carry letters, officials, magistrates and police across the bay. She also provided a link with ocean-going vessels, which transported the produce to international markets.
Throughout this remarkable history, a label and stamp were developed, both of which are much sought after by philatelists around the world.
“The number of Lady McLeods actually existing is not known; however, it is believed that the number includes some 26 mint never hinged, 24 used, and 39 on cover, although some of these may be bogus,” writes Logan, whose article is found on page 208 of TCP. “Forgeries do exist and buyers are advised to obtain a certificate of authenticity by a reputable authority.”
Sales of the iconic Cinderella stamp are “rare and even copies with minor damage fetch a high price,” he adds. “Mint never hinged copies sell for more than 50 thousand U.S. dollars; pen cancelled copies for about 12,500 U.S.; skinned off copies sell for less than that; and covers go for anywhere from five to nine thousand U.S. dollars.”