First day of issue

First day of issue

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.

A first day cover (FDC) is an envelope whereupon postage stamps have been cancelled on their first day of issue. Depending on the policy of the nation issuing the stamp, official first day postmarks may sometimes be applied to covers weeks or months after the date indicated.

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, or when stamps are affixed to envelopes that are simply dropped into the mailstream on the first day and receive that day's normal postmark.

(Computer vended postage stamps issued by Neopost had first-day-of-issue ceremonies sponsored by the company, not by an official stamp-issuing entity. [ [ Covers ] ] Personalised postage stamps of different designs are sometimes also given first-day-of-issue ceremonies and cancellations by the private designer. The stamps issued by private local posts can also have first days of issue, as can artistamps.)

Postal authorities may hold a first day ceremony to generate publicity for the new issue, with postal officials revealing the stamp, and with connected persons in attendance, such as descendants of the person being honored by the stamp. The ceremony may also be held in a location that has a special connection with the stamp's subject, such as the birthplace of a social movement, or at a stamp show.

Event covers, instead of marking the issuance of a stamp, commemorate events both big (say, the launching of a space shuttle) and small (say, the opening of a supermarket). A design on the left side of the envelope (a "cachet") explains the event or anniversary being celebrated. Ideally the stamp or stamps affixed relate to the event. Cancels are obtained either from the location (e.g., Cape Canaveral, Anytown) or, in the case of the United States, from the Postal Service's Cancellation Services unit in Kansas City.

The earliest known use (EKU) of a stamp may or may not be the same as the first day of issue. This can happen in several ways:
* Stamps may be inadvertently sold or stolen, and cancelled on an envelope or package by unaware postal officials prior to the first day of issue.
* Minor changes, such as a different perforation, may not be noted by officials, and no one knows when they first went on sale. This is also true of some major stamp issues, especially during periods of civil unrest or if government records have been lost.
* Some earlier stamps, especially high values, may not have found any customers using them on the day of issue, or those uses have been lost. EKUs for these may be weeks or even months after the official first day.The search for EKUs of both old and new stamps is an active area of philately, and new discoveries are regularly announced.

First day digital color postmark

In 2004 the United States Postal Service announced plans to introduce first day digital color postmarks to be used to cancel some first day covers for commemorative stamps in 2005. [ [ Revolutionary First Day Digital Color Postmark Creates Unique Collectable ] ] The postmarks are designed by the artist or art director who designed the stamp itself.

The Digital Color Postmark is still used on select issues. For example, the 41 cent Year of the Rat stamp issued on January 9, 2008 was available in Digital Color Postmark.


Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • first-day-of-issue office — A post office (or offices) authorized to sell a new postage item on the first day of sale. (Also see hand stamped cancellation) (Also called first day of sale office) …   Glossary of postal terms

  • First Day — may refer to:In music: * First Day , a single by The Futureheads from their self titled 2004 album The Futureheads * First Day , a song by Timo Maas from the album Pictures Points in time: * The first day of the Gregorian calendar is January 1,… …   Wikipedia

  • first-day cover — first′ day cov′er n. phi an envelope bearing a canceled stamp and postmarked on the stamp s first day of issue at the postal station where it was first released • Etymology: 1935–40, amer …   From formal English to slang

  • first day cover — noun Date: 1932 a philatelic cover franked with a newly issued postage stamp and bearing the postmark of the first day of issue and an officially chosen place of issue …   New Collegiate Dictionary

  • first-day cover — /ferrst day , day /, Philately. a cover marked so as to indicate that it was mailed on the first day of issue of the stamp it bears and from one of the cities at which the stamp was issued on that day. [1935 40] * * * …   Universalium

  • first-day cover — ► NOUN ▪ an envelope bearing one or more stamps postmarked on their day of issue …   English terms dictionary

  • first-day cover — noun : a philatelic cover bearing postal markings showing that it was mailed on a first day at a first day city and that its stamp belongs to the new issue of that first day * * * ˌfirst day ˈcover 7 [first day cover first day covers] noun a… …   Useful english dictionary

  • first day — noun 1. usually capitalized F : sunday used chiefly by the Friends 2. a. : a day when the postage stamps of a new issue are first placed on sale; especially : one on which recognition of the event is made by special cancellations and often by… …   Useful english dictionary

  • first-day cover — /fɜst deɪ ˈkʌvə / (say ferst day kuvuh) noun an envelope bearing a newly issued stamp, posted and cancelled on the day of issue …   Australian English dictionary

  • first-day cover — noun an envelope bearing a stamp or set of stamps postmarked on their day of issue …   English new terms dictionary