Stamps have over the years been a representation of the country, the times or period they are in, as well as to recognize outstanding individuals and monuments. Stamps may be used to describe a nation. They change over time, and there are stamp collectors who like to collect stamps as they change, including those from the past. First-Day Covers are part of that collecting history.

75th Anniversary First Transcontinental Railroad.

First-Day Covers

You may be wondering what exactly these are. It is just a fancy phrase to refer to stamps used on the very day they are rolled out. Thus they are usually still stuck to the envelope or postcard that they were sent in. That is it.


Issuing of new stamps was understandably a huge deal back when sending letters was the main and only form of communication over a distance. The excitement of new stamps being issued is like today’s drama over a new, exciting app on an electronic device. This is not to say that issuing of new stamps does not bring excitement today, as it still does, but nowhere near the level is it was.

Collecting these first-day covers first began as a challenge for the collectors to search for and get stamps on letters that were posted on the very first day the specific stamp was issued by the postal authority. People have been collecting them since then, and they were dubbed ‘First Day Covers.’

Collectors started to add these First Day postage stamps to their collections. The best thing about these covers is that they can be found almost anywhere in the world and tend to be less expensive. The idea of getting the stamp issued and postmarked on the first-day available, in addition to being on a particular envelope or postcard also appealed to many as it gives the stamp a background, like finding a lion in the wild.

Cmd John Barry

US Postal Service Marketing

With the growing interest in First Day Covers, the US postal service worked to make it easier for collectors. They do this such as by announcing or publishing the time when new stamps will be released. The dates posted are not just for one round of new stamps but several series shortly.  Collectors are allowed to give envelopes or postcards of their choice to enable them to get the stamps on the very first day of issuance before they start rolling them out to the other people.

First Transcontinental US Air Mail under Contract 1927

The prepared envelopes usually have illustrations and designs known as cachets. This depends on the taste of the collector, as some may prefer the background of the postage stamp to be bare, while others prefer a more artistic sort of background. The First Day Covers go for different prices, depending on their history, with some going as high as 120000USD at auctions. Those without addresses are usually valued higher than the bare first day covers.

Stamp collection is a fascinating hobby, as it may lead you on a discovery journey of different histories. If you have an interest in it, you may pursue it, and get to hunt for First Day Covers.

Scouting First Day Issue