In recent years, I have developed an interest in "commercially used" Irish postcards and covers. While First Day Covers are collectable, I personally feel they lack the autenticity of commercially used covers...ie a national or international (air mail) cover. It always seems to grandiose to call these covers or postcards "postal history".
In terms of Ireland, the first commemoratives were produced in 1929 and while it was a three stamp issue....most issues from 1930 to 1966 are two stamp issues (in national and airmail or parcel rates).
There is of course an element of social history. These commercial covers (often edged in black for mourning) have survived from the 1930s, 1940s and 1950s.
First day covers from the 1930s are rare and very expensive.
They are still relatively expensive to 1960.
In terms of commercially used covers, the national rate examples seem to appear at fairs and eBay
in Britain and Ireland....but understandably I see airmail covers being sold in USA.
Over the last year I have bought a lot of 1930s, 1940s, 1950s commercial covers. They have been cheap...around 25pence each.
Having five or six covers of some issues is rewarding. They look good in an album, alonfgside the traditional mint and used examples.
They add context...texture to a collection.
And it makes me feel that I have stamps and covers that are actually on display while others are simply in storage and I can change the "display" in an album.
The 1934 GAA single stamp issue is a typical example. I have maybe four commercial covers.
I was changing the cover on display in my album ...I chose one sent from Ireland to Britain ...and I noticed a note on the back of the envelope. It simply said "do you like the new stamp?".
On checking the catalogue....I discovered that I own a 1930s First Day Cover. Not illustrated of course but a nice clear First Day canellation.
What is it "worth"?
Well realistically there are two prices....the price I would get for it and the price I would have to pay for it.
It is irrelevant anyway. It is maybe the only genuine lucky find that I have had in over forty five years collecting Irish stamps.
Maybe I would be offered £50 but that would be less that "retail".
It will of course never be sold....
It is just nice to be lucky for once.