Wonderland (Cinderella)

Wonderland (a State of Mind, reached only by the young at heart), previously known as Cardia, was for centuries a feudal territory ruled at various periods by one of four royal houses, Hearts, Spades, Diamonds, and Clubs. Late in the 18th century the Heart dynasty became undisputed rulers by means of a Grand Slam, thus relegating the other three houses to subservient roles within the kingdom. This state of affairs continued with little change apart from minor knavish skirmishes until January 27, 1832 (Lewis Carroll's birth date), when the country was declared a protectorate under the British Crown and renamed Wonderland.

The local monarchy (houses of cards) finally collapsed in 1865 following a revolution instigated by a visit of Alice Liddell, an event which led to great confusion.

The realm was laid waste by marauding Jabberwocks, Jub-jub birds, Bandersnatches, and other undesirables until December 1871, when the terrain was divided in 64 shires (sixty-four squares on a chess-board) by two rival royal families, Red and White, between whom existed a perpetual civil war.

Philatelic artist Gerald King has created a whole range of Lewis Carroll fantasy stamps. The first series was prepared in 1965 to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the publication of "Alice's Adventures in Wonderland," in which all of the action takes place during the afternoon of a single summer's day. A second series with more designs followed later, and a book "Alice Through the Pillar-Box" was published in 1979. "Alice, the Millennium Collection," (series three) a complete update, was released in 2000.

Mr. King's prolific imagination has invented over 200 stamps and more than fifty covers. His collection has been exhibited at Chicago's Ameripex and Stampex in London.

The Dead Letter Office label shown here is believed to be the only official seal issued by Wonderland. Other varieties of the label are known including examples on blue and violet papers, imperforates, and proofs.

Catalog: King #42 Type 12A

Date issued: 3 PM on a July afternoon in 1865

Printing: Black

Perforation: "11 and a bit except for those that might be if they were so, and if so they might be, but as they're not, they ain't" (from Tweedledee)

Inscription: "OFFICIALLY SEALED / WONDERLAND / DEAD LETTER / OFFICE" with Dodo bird image in the center surrounded by a fancy scrollwork frame

Control Number: None

Description: Gerald King created fantasy cover sent from Pool of Tears, Wonderland to Dinah, (Alice's Cat), Armchair, the Parlour in 1865 bearing on the reverse a single Wonderland Officially Sealed Dead Letter Office seal which has an image of a Dodo bird in the center. Markings on the front of the envelope include red "Recovered from Pool of Tears" and fancy black "Damaged by Salt Water" handstamps. The reverse has a magenta manuscript "Insufficiently Addressed" notation, as well as an "Undelivered for Reason Stated" straightline marking at upper right tying a green Wonderland 9w (9 wink) Medicine Tax stamp, and a fancy circular "Dead Letter Office" with "R.I.P" surrounding a skull handstamp at left that also ties the Dodo DLO label. Cover is signed "G. M. King" on the back.

A terrific cover from Gerald King's Alice in Wonderland series. Scarce as Dodo's teeth! Curiouser and curiouser...

Design of Dodo DLO label is based on Newfoundland's 1905 King Edward VII portrait seal, Scott OX1, Unitrade OX1.


Thanks to Mr. Gerald King for his generous permission to quote liberally (and literally) from his "Alice: The Millennium Collection" catalogue for information on the history on Wonderland. Be sure to check the References page for more information about these two titles.

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© Copyright 2015
by T. Hirn

Updated September 27, 2015