Coney's Stamps


Piper Cub FDC

First Day Covers

When the United States Postal Service (USPS) issues a new postage stamp, collectors may obtain a souvenir of the event known as a First Day Cover (FDC). A FDC is a plain or decorated envelope affixed with a new stamp which is cancelled on the day the stamp is initially placed on sale by the post office. This date often has a special significance with the subject depicted on the stamp (e.g. the anniversary of an event). In the United States, the USPS selects one location, usually related in some way to the subject matter of the stamp, as the place for the official first day issuance ceremony and the location where the new stamp is first released to the public. A "first day" cancel will indicate the post office in the city where the stamp was first issued (the "issuance city").

Instead of a blank envelope with merely an address and stamp affixed, many FDC collectors prefer a cachet (pronounced "ka-shay") cover, which is an envelope decorated with a printed design which usually relates in some way to the subject depicted on the stamp.

Collectors may purchase cacheted first day covers from stamp dealers, or may create their own unique cacheted covers.
Should you wish to expand the scope of your stamp collecting hobby to include the collection of FDC's, here are some ways you can go about obtaining these highly popular philatelic items:

How To Obtain New-Release First Day Covers from the U.S.P.S.

1. Customer Affixed Envelopes
Here are the instructions for the most common and least expensive way for collectors to obtain FDC's:

(a) Purchase the newly-issued stamp at your local post office;
(b) Affix the stamp to an envelope (cover) of your choice and address the cover to yourself. The address should be located in the lower portion of the cover and enough space should be left at the top right hand corner of the cover for the cancellation;
(c) To ensure a clear cancellation mark, insert a cardboard index card in the envelope. Tuck the envelope's rear flap inside the envelope;
(d) There is no charge by the USPS for applying the First Day postmark;
(e) You usually have 30 days from the date of issue to obtain the First Day of issue postmark by mail from the USPS;
(f) Place the cover into a larger envelope and send it to the postmaster in the city where the stamp was officially issued for the first time. This address is often different for every new stamp issue and may be obtained from the US Postal Service.

Press releases announcing new stamp issues are published on the USPS Web site several weeks before these stamps are issued, together with the address to which requests for FDC's should be sent for any particular stamp;
The fully serviced (cancelled) FDC will be mailed back to you by the relevant post office.

2. Direct from the USPS.
The USPS Stamp Fulfillment Service offers for sale first day covers for new stamp issues through the quarterly USA Philatelic catalog. These are blank covers (without cachets) with new stamps affixed and postmarked with the official "First Day of Issue" cancellation. The FDC is returned to the buyer in a protective envelope. Each item has an individual catalog number for ordering purposes. You may request a free catalog by telephoning 1 800 STAMP-24 or writing to:

DEPT 6270
PO BOX 219014
KANSAS CITY MO 64121-9014

3. Other Sources

Many stamp dealers, as part of their new issue services, provide first day covers for sale, as do many stamp clubs. Also, check out stamp newspapers and Internet auctions for other sources of FDC's.