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First Day Covers (FDC) — 2016 Ordering Calendar

What are First Day Covers? | Collecting First Day Covers | Obtaining First Day Covers

FDC 2016 Ordering Calendar


July 6Star Quilts Stamps
FDCs to Star Quilts Stamps, Special Events, PO Box 92282, Washington, DC 20090-2282
FDC dead;ome September 6

July 13Jaime Escalante Stamp
FDCs to Jaime Escalante Stamp, Special Events, PO Box 92282, Washington, DC 20090-2282
FDC deadline September 13

July 15Pickup Trucks Stamps
FDCs to Pickup Trucks Stamps, Postmaster, 5640 East Taft Road, Syracuse, NY 13220-9810
FDC deadline September 15

July 31Henry James Stamp
Henry James Stamp, Special Events, 22403 Randolph Drive, Dulles, VA 20103-9998
FDC deadline October 1

August 2Pets Stamps
FDCs to Pets Stamps, USPS Attn: Marilyn Wassell, 1001 East Sunset Road #2009, Las Vegas, NV 89199-9998
FDC deadline October 2

August 4—Songbirds in Snow
FDCs to Songbirds in Snow Stamps, United States Postal Service, Attn: Ruth Traynor, PO Box 2089, Portland, OR 97208-2089. 
FDC deadline October 4

August 12Apples Stamp
FDCs to Apples Stamp, Cancellation Services, 8300 NE Underground Drive, Pillar 210, Kansas City, MO 64144-0001.
FDC deadline October 12.

August 19Patriotic Spiral Stars Booklet
FDCs to Patriotic Spiral Stars Booklet Stamp, Attention: Terri Davenport, 800 West Broad St, Falls Church, VA 22046–9998.
FDC deadline October 19

August 19Patriotic Spiral Stars Coil
FDCs to Patriotic Spiral Stars Coil Stamp, Cancellation Services, 8300 NE Underground Drive, Pillar 210, Kansas City, MO  64144-0001.
FDC deadline October 19

September 2Star Trek Stamps
FDCs to Star Trek Stamps, Special Events Coordinator, 380 West 33rd Street, New York, NY 10199-9998. 
FDC deadline November 2

Note: The usual rule applies, that to service your own covers you are to purchase the sheets and attach them to covers of choice before sending them in. However, individual mint souvenir sheets are available only in the USPS 2015 Yearbook, which costs $64.95. Options are to purchase an uncut Press Sheet of 12 souvenir sheets (cost $24) or to purchase an uncacheted cover with the sheet affixed from the USPS for $4.50.  Another option is to purchase a serviced FDC cover from cachet makers, including SNN advertiser Artcraft, at  https://www.washpress.com/

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What Are First Day Covers?

First Day Covers are envelopes that bear a stamp cancelled on the first day it was issued.

Over the years the form that these covers take has changed. Covers that come down to us from the 19th century would have been those that happened to be commercially used—that is not prepared by collectors—on the first day the stamp was issued.

In many instances, even into the 20th Century for some stamps, the precise date of issue is not known, so Earliest Known, or Documented, Usages become the next best thing to FDCs.

As they were not intended to be collectibles, those early FDCs do not bear the First Day Cancellation that we see today. Instead, we see whatever cancel happened to be used where the cover was processed.

Those covers also would have come from whatever city the stamp might have been available, as opposed to the “Official First Day of Issue” sites that have become customary for most issues.

(Even today, some collectors who prefer postally used FDCs seek commercially used covers instead of those cancelled by the USPS.)

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Collecting First Day Covers

As FDCs became a popular collecting area, the Post Office Department began producing special First Day of Issue cancellations, and arranged for collectors to send in their covers to receive the FDOI cancel. Those early FDOI cancels did not bear an illustration; today, the cancellation incorporates a design that is related to the stamp subject.

At first, collectors were required to send in the covers before the stamp was actually issued. Those rules were later relaxed so that today for most stamps, collectors have 60 days after the date of issue in which to submit their requests. However, those covers must bear the stamp(s) to which the FDOI cancel is to be applied.

The U.S. Postal Service also now sells its own FDCs for a modest premium over the face value of the stamp(s); however, those covers are blanks, and do not have the cachets—that is the designs printed or painted on the left side of, or all over, the cover—that most collectors prefer. Such cacheted covers may be obtained from Stamp News First Day Cover advertisers.

Another wrinkle added by the USPS are digital color cancels. For an extra $1.50 collectors can have a specially designed color cancel instead of the standard, free, black cancel that most collectors still use.

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Obtaining First Day Covers

To obtain the FDOI cancellation on a cover of your choosing, you must send the cover with the stamp affixed in the upper right, or in a position allowing enough room to fit the cancellation on the cover. The preferred envelope size is a #6 (6-3/4" wide) and should be a sturdy, acid-free stock.

After applying the first-day-of-issue postmark, the Postal Service will return the envelopes through the mail. There is no charge for the postmark up to a quantity of 50. For more than 50, customers have to pay five cents each.

The cover also will need an address to which it should be returned. Since unaddressed covers are the standard collecting form for FDCs, a peelable label is the suggested form.

To send the cover to the address to which it must be sent for the FDOI cancel, your FDCs should be sent in an outer envelope.

Nowadays, to prevent an additional cancellation’s being applied in transit, or other damage to the cover, some collectors send along another return-addressed envelope in which the FDC can be returned by the USPS. If a cover is damaged, or if you do not receive all of your covers, submit a full description of your request to Stamp Fulfillment Services, Cancellation Services, P.O. BOX 499992, Kansas City, MO 64144-9992. The description should include the stamp issue, a description of the envelope, the number and placement of stamps, quantity of covers, and any other information that may assist in locating or replacing your covers. Requests for exchanges or claims must be received within six months of the issue date. Damaged covers, and claims for non-receipt should be sent to:

Covers sent for cancellation must bear sufficient postage to cover the First Class rate. This is important for stamps with a denomination less than that First Class rate.

In addition to the new issue for which the FD cancel is being sought, you can place other stamps adjacent to that stamp. Even used or foreign stamps are acceptable, as long as there is sufficient unused postage to cover the First Class rate, and those used or foreign stamps are affixed in such a way that they will not be cancelled by the FDOI cancellation.

Each cover must have inside a filler card of index or postal card thickness, with the envelope either sealed or with the flap tucked in—the latter being the preferred collecting format.

The addresses to which covers should be sent are supplied by the U.S. Postal Service. They are published in Mekeel’s & Stamps as they are received, and they are posted to our online: USPS New Issues Calendar.

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