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Introduction to the First Day Cover Hobby

First Day Covers (FDCs) are special envelopes collected by people who want more than just stamps. This envelope illustrates the parts of a first day cover: a cachet, a stamp, and a cancel.

New stamp on cover Walker Evans cancel Photo and art cachet FDC for famous photographer, Walker Evans

How to Identify the First Day, of What?

First Day of Issue cancel on Wolf Trap Farm stamp.

What Does Cover mean?

In the early days before government-provided mail service, people wrapped their hand-penned correspondence in a protective cover and sealed it with wax. To envelope something means to surround or cover it. The verb envelope is now commonly used as a noun. Modern mail is delivered in ready-made envelopes.

Stamp collectors, like many people, often prefer a simple single-syllable word to a three-syllable word. They choose to call envelopes covers. Along with the phrase first day cover, you will hear philatelists talk about stampless covers, commercial covers, patriotic covers, and airmail covers.

Where to Learn More About FDCs

The American First Day Cover Society has been promoting this specialty of the stamp collecting hobby since 1955, and they have a wonderful award-winning website that tells you all about it.

How to Collect

As with many hobbies, personal preference rules the day. Any topic of interest can be found on a stamp, and often on many stamps from many countries. FDC collectors usually seek material that fits in one of these groupings:

Sc. 1940 stamp Remington FDCs Cachets by Fluegel.

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