First Day Covers

Written by Amy Hall
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First day covers are envelopes that have stamps affixed to them. The stamps are postmarked on the first day of sale for that specific stamp issue. The covers can have printed illustrations on them depicting various scenes, and are considered a collector's item among hobbyists who are interested in philately.

An interesting fact to know is that the United States Postal Service does not produce official first day covers. What the U.S.P.S. does is apply the first day cancel to envelopes that are submitted by cachet makers or collectors. The illustration on the envelope is referred to as the cachet, which can be applied in various ways, and typically showcases a design or subject related to the postage stamp.

First Day Covers for Your Collection

The postal service will apply the first day cancel up to 30 days after the issue of a particular stamp, which means that some covers actually make it through the mail. For people who are serious about philately, it is more important to collect first day covers that have actually made it through the mail, as opposed to those covers that have not. However, the cachets on many covers are quite impressive, and collectors may still want to get their hands on such covers even if they have not made it through the mail.

There are organizations for collectors who have an avid interest in first day covers as well as commemorative stamps, postal stamps, and other such memorabilia. The American First Day Cover Society is one such organization, where collectors can go to correspond with each other regarding first day covers. If you are interested in learning more about covers, you can get a wealth of information through many online sites that also provide helpful links regarding stamp collecting.


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