First Day Stamps

A rare Repeating Telegraph Disk signed by Thomas A. Edison, 1880. image courtesy of Skinner, Inc.

p4A ItemID B156584
A first day cover signed by Fred Astaire. image courtesy of Bill Hood Art & Antique Auctions.

p4A ItemID B179158
A first day cover for the Elvis Presley stamp signed by Al Hirschfeld

p4A ItemID D9903072
Carl Sandburg signed photograph with first day cover and Edward Steichen signature

p4A ItemID D9742050

First Day Stamps

The first day of issue is the day on which a postage stamp, postal card or stamped envelope is put on sale, within the country or territory of the stamp-issuing authority. Sometimes the issue is made from a temporary or permanent foreign or overseas office. There will usually be a first day of issue postmark, frequently a pictorial cancellation, indicating the city and date where the item was first issued, and “first day of issue” is often used to refer to this postmark. Unofficial first day of issue postmarks can also occur when a stamp collector purchases the stamps in question from a post office in the first day of issue city and then takes them (on that same day) to a post office in another city to have them cancelled. (The stamps issued by private local posts can also have first days of issue, as can artist stamps.)

A first day cover is an envelope where the postage stamps have been cancelled on their first day of issue.

Information courtesy of thefreedictionary.com and Wikipedia, February 2007.


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