A First Day Cover (FDC) is an envelope or postcard with a stamp that has been cancelled by the post office on the first day the stamp was issued. This traditionally involves getting a “First Day of Issue” postmark on the stamp on the respective date, however those rules have relaxed in the U.S., and now FDC collectors can send stamped envelopes to a Special Event Coordinator to get special “First Day of Issue” postmarks. Often first day of issue stamps are placed on special First Day Cover #6 envelopes or postcards, known as cachets, that commemorate the topic of the stamp.
Collecting First Day Covers is fun for stamp collectors as it requires some participation…
First, you must be aware of the release schedule for new stamps if you plan to collect new First Day Covers. This USPS site is a good reference for U.S. stamps. Previously released First Day Covers can be found at stamp stores, antique stores and online.
Second, there are numerous topics for stamps and First Day Cover cachets. If you have a favorite theme, such as bird stamps, collecting FDCs of that theme can be fun and rewarding.
Third, getting an envelope franked with a “First Day of Issue” postmark in only done at the post office (or a special postal station) in one location traditionally. Often there’s a First Day Ceremony for a new stamp design. So if a stamp depicts a historical event, the location related to the historical event may host a First Day Ceremony. As an example, The Batman themed First Day Cover below was available at US Post Offices on October 9th, 2014 to commemorate the 75th anniversary of the Caped Crusader. This stamp release was coordinated with the New York Comic Con, where the Post Office established a temporary postal station, Gotham City Station. Parcels cancelled at Gotham City Station received a special pictorial postmark, adding another interesting aspect for stamp collectors. As a service to stamp collectors not attending the New York Comic Con, the USPS allowed customers to mail envelopes or postcards with the adhered Batman stamp to a Special Event Coordinator in New York City and then the stamps receive the special First Day of Issue postmark and get mailed to the respective address.
BCW Supplies offer several items to protect, store and display First Day Cover envelopes and postcards:
See all of BCW’s Postcard and Envelope Supplies.