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How Are Covers Recovered?

 
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Valued Member
United States
62 Posts
Posted 11/09/2021   09:11 am  Show Profile Bookmark this topic Add Letterpress to your friends list Get a Link to this Message
Hi all I'm confused by covers. At first I assumed they were presentation cards used to present new stamps. This was because I never saw a recipient address, or a sender.

When I see covers without a recipient, how was it postmarked? What's the purpose of an envelope without a recipient?

And if collectors are mailing them out on the first day of issue, how are they getting them back? Do they mail them to themselves?

When I see "First Day of Issue" stamped below the stamp, I assume it's the postal service doing that? (See photo.) How do they know it's the first day of issue for that stamp? Do they automatically check all mail for first day stamps? That seems like a huge and fragile effort.

Thanks.
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Pillar Of The Community
United Kingdom
6127 Posts
Posted 11/09/2021   09:13 am  Show Profile Check GeoffHa's eBay Listings Bookmark this reply Add GeoffHa to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
Originally, first day covers actually went through the mail, and they still can. But as time went on, they would either be centrally handled for subscribers or handed across the counter to be postmarked. In neither case would they need to be addressed.
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Valued Member
United States
489 Posts
Posted 11/09/2021   10:20 am  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add classic_paper to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
Let's slow things down a little...

A "cover" is an envelope that has been addressed, stamped, cancelled, and sent through a mail system. It can also loosely apply to postcards and other paper goods or paper wrappers sent through the mail.

Here's a good intro to FDC's: https://afdcs.org/fdccourse.html
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Valued Member
United States
82 Posts
Posted 11/09/2021   10:36 am  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add Bluejay to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply

Quote:
How do they know it's the first day of issue for that stamp? Do they automatically check all mail for first day stamps?

"First-Day" cancellations are generally available only at the Post Office (or designated supporting site) that is the location of a stamp's first day of release - they are not available at post offices across the country. Also, "first-day" cancellations are generally created to order vs. being placed on every piece of mail handled on the corresponding day. In general, regular mail will be given the standard cancellation. Though the standard cancellation will feature the First-Day date, it will not include the "First Day" special cancellation mark. (I say "In general" because there is always the possibility of exceptions!)

So, for example, the 1960 commemorative stamp that was issued for the centennial of the Pony Express was issued at Sacramento, California. Those desiring an official First-Day cancellation of the stamp needed to send an order to the Postmaster in Sacramento; the order needed to include a self-addressed envelope. Over time, private services were started that worked with the Post Office (and now USPS) to have volumes of unaddressed envelopes First-Day cancelled for collectors; such pieces never enter the mail stream.

Today, the USPS makes pre-packaged, un-addressed FDCs available on its web site and in many locations across the country. As with the above, these unaddressed covers never enter the mail stream.

Hope that helps!


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1430 Posts
Posted 11/09/2021   12:29 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add blcjr to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
Adding to Bluejay's reply, the "First Day of Issue" postmark for some time now has been issued by USPS's "Stamp Fulfillment Services" (SFS) in Kansas City. Even when collectors are instructed to send covers to the city where the first day of issue takes place, those covers are usually sent on to SFS for cancellation (unless the collector presents them in person asks asks for hand back service). And for a long time there has been a grace period that allows the covers to be receiived and cancelled with the FDOI postmark well after the actual first day of issue (the present grace period is 120 days).

All of this is specific "philatelic" service provided to FDC collectors by the USPS and has little or nothing to do with actual mail service. Such FDCs do not go through the mail, and most of them are not even addressed.
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United Kingdom
820 Posts
Posted 11/09/2021   12:32 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add Ringo to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
When I used to buy them as a kid, many years ago, I would purchase the unused cover and the new stamps over the post office counter the day they came out, address the cover right there, stick the stamps on and hand them back to the clerk, so they would get the first day cancellation and not go in with the regular post. They'd still be delivered by the postie a few days later.
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United States
383 Posts
Posted 11/09/2021   6:05 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add Germania to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
To add to everyone else's information, most collectors like to collect unaddressed FDC's. The address usually makes the FDC less desirable.

The "purpose" of the FDC is to commemorate an event or person, whatever the subject of the stamp is. The artwork on the left half of the FDC is the cachet and is usually related to the stamp subject. Some collectors like to collect FDC's created by a particular firm or artist.

There is also a First Day Cover Society:
https://afdcs.org
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1110 Posts
Posted 11/28/2021   11:51 am  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add Kimo to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
I second Germania's mention that modern First Day Covers such as the one shown are mainly collected when they are unaddressed. An address is considered by most collectors to be a kind of damage and so their value is very minimal, even less than the minimal value most such covers have already. On the other hand, each collector can collect whatever they like and if you like addressed FDCs then you are fortunate since you can buy them in large lots for just a few cents each.
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Australia
34194 Posts
Posted 11/28/2021   5:39 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add rod222 to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
I still receive, and send stamps in (up to) 40 year old or so, First Day Covers. The Envelope paper is a degree more stiffer than current Post Office quality.
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