How To Obtain First Day Covers
How to obtain Self Service First Day Covers.

You usually have 60 days (effective 2007) from the date of issue to obtain the first day of issue postmark by mail.  Purchase the new stamps from your your local Post Office, by telephone from USPS Stamp Fulfillment at 1 800 STAMP-24, and at the Postal Store Web site,

Affix the stamps to envelopes of your choice, noting that the total postage must equal the current first class rate, address the envelope, either to yourself or someone else, and place them in a large envelope addressed to the postmaster of the first day city.

Several firms and individual cachet makers offer printed envelopes with a design that is appropriate to the stamp that you can use for your self service needs.

Direct from the Postal Service.

Each new stamp announcement has an order number and pricing for buying the new stamps canceled on a First Day Cover.  The United States Postal Service services the First Day Cover using a blank, unprinted envelope, and their choice of additional stamps (if necessary) to meet the required first class rate.

The covers will be returned to the buyer in a protective envelope.

Stamp Fulfillment Services (SFS) also offers first day covers for new stamp issues postmarked with the official first day of issue cancellation. Each item has an individual catalog number and is offered in the quarterly USA Philatelic catalog. Customers may request a free catalog by telephoning 1 800 STAMP-24 or writing to:

DEPT 6270
PO BOX 219014
KANSAS CITY MO 64121-9014

Un-Official First Day Covers

Quite often, new issues are available in cities other than the first day city on the day of issue.   When this happens, there is the opportunity to get the new stamp canceled on the first day of issue in a place other than the official first day city.

Most post offices will cancel the stamp on a hand-back basis, but you may need to enter it into the mail stream.

Remember that stamps equaling the first class rate must be attached to receive a cancel.

Other Sources.

Many clubs and organizations sponsor first day covers for particular issues.  Check the ads in any stamp newspaper.

Some stamp dealers, as part of their new issue services, provide first day covers.

First Day Ceremony.

The United States Postal Service provides a souvenir program at each first day ceremony that includes a first day cancellation.

Secondary Market

There exists a huge secondary market for older first day covers.  Check stamp newspapers, stamp shows and bourses, dealer lists, plus mail and internet auctions.