All About the Hobby of
Types of Collections: First Day of Issue (Cachets)
A First Day Cover is an envelope or other
postally stamped item bearing a cancellation date that
represents the first day of issue for that stamp. They are usually issued in
only one city and the envelope is canceled with a special
cancellation, "First Day of Issue."
The "First Day City" is generally
chosen for it's relation to the subject matter of the
stamp. The covers can
be acquired from the issuing Post Office for a period of 30 days after
the actual issue date. They can also be purchased from the USPS Stamp
Fulfillment Center in Kansas City.
are a design of words and/or graphic art which refer
specifically to the stamps subject. The purpose of the cachet
is to enhance the meaning and appearance of the envelope. They
are in fact, miniature works of art.
Booker T. Washington
Harry Ioor 1940
First African American honored on U.S.
E & M - 1999
Nobel Peace Prize
CEC - 2001
John James Audubon First Day Cover Collection
Martin Luther King, Jr. First Day Cover Collection
Covers bearing cachets, as illustrated by the three
covers shown above can be purchased directly from the cachet maker
or from stamp dealers.
Many First Day of Issue Cover collectors prefer to
service their own covers. Since First Day covers are available for
30 days from the issuing post office, one method of servicing your
own covers is as follows:
(1) Purchase the new issue from your local post office
when it becomes available. (If your local post office does not carry
the new stamp you may have to visit a larger post office in the area
that includes a Philatelic Center.)
(2) Affix your stamp/s to the upper right hand
corner of the envelope, (usually 1/4 inch from both the right and
(3) Fasten a peelable label containing your
address near the bottom center of the envelope. (Blank peelable
labels are available at most office supply stores.)
(4) Place a filler card (thin piece of cardboard)
inside your envelope.
(5) Place your cover or covers inside of a stamped
outer envelope addressed to the First Day of issue city and mail it.
Name of First Day City, State, ZIP Code-9991
(or the ZIP+4 Code given).
Note: First Day Cities and their addresses are
listed on the USPS
Website and in the various Stamp Weekly's. Artcraft also
maintains an online issue calendar which lists the addresses of the First
There is no additional payment required, however the
envelope must arrive at the designated First Day Post Office within
the 30 day time frame.
With the advent of low-cost computer graphics programs
and printers, it has become much easier for the layman to produce
well designed cachets of their own.
If you decide to produce your own cachets/artwork on
the cover, you can place your cachet on the envelope prior to
sending it to the post office or apply it after you receive the
cover back as an add-on cachet.
You can also purchase un-cacheted First Day Covers
directly from the USPS Philatelic Center (800-782-6724) in
Kansas City and then add your cachet after receiving your cover/s.
Another way to receive First Day of Issue covers is to
join an FDC Subscription Service. Many of the larger cachet
producers provide a service of this type and most of them are
listed in Stamp Weekly or BI-Weekly newspapers such as Lynn's
Artcraft, Brookman, Mystic, Julian Pugh, Kendal Bevil
and Collins are a few of the cachet makers that provide cover
NOTE: On occasion, First Day cancels are issued from
other cities in addition to the Official First Day City.
These are called Unofficial First Day Cancels. One
issue where multiple first day city cancels exist is the
Buffalo Soldiers issue.
(See the Fancy Cancels Section)