First Day Cover Preparation Instructions
Courtesy of the United States Postal Service

First day covers are a unique facet of philately. A first day cover is an envelope affixed with unused stamps bearing at a minimum the current first-class postage, having a postmark indicating the first day of issuance city and date. They can be simple covers (a stamp affixed to a plain envelope), or cachets comprised of thrilling creations of the imagination. Beautiful hand-painted designs spring from the minds of school children and professionals alike; computer-generated creations are becoming more and more common. The designs are all created around a theme related to the stamp affixed on the cover.

In producing first day covers, customers normally have 60 days from a new stamp's date of issue to purchase stamps, affix them to covers, individually address covers and mail them to the first day of issue city. Covers are then canceled, overwrapped for protection, and delivered back through the mail stream.

Customer Affixed Envelopes

Customers may purchase the new stamps at their local post office or from our USA PHILATELIC catalog,, or by calling 1 800 STAMP 24. They affix the stamps to a cover of their choice and address the covers to themselves or to others. The address should be located in the lower portion of the cover. Enough space should be left for the cancellation, which is approximately 3 1/2 inches long by 1 inch tall. In most cases, the cancellation will barely touch the lower portion of the stamp. On a block of four stamps, the "FIRST DAY OF ISSUE" will usually be placed in the perforation between the stamps.

Stamps should be affixed ¼ inch from the right side and ¼ inch from the top of the cover. The cover must have at least one of the newly issued stamps affixed to it in order to receive a first day of issue cancellation. We will provide cancellation on covers with previously issued stamps along with the current issue; however, the stamp with the latest issue date will determine the cancellation provided.

Each cover must have sufficient postage to meet current First-Class and/or Foreign First Class requirements. Covers bearing previously canceled stamps and postmarks may be serviced, provided that sufficient additional new (mint) postage, equal to the current First Class rate or Foreign First Class rate, is attached. A previously canceled stamp cannot be canceled again.

Cachet envelopes bearing a design referring to the commemoration of a special event are available through cachet manufacturers or stamp dealers. These covers will be serviced; 6 1/2-inch cachets are preferable.

There is no charge for applying the First Day postmark.

Each cover must have a "filler" card of Postal card thickness or index card inserted inside, with the flap tucked in.

Requests for customer-affixed covers should be sent to:


If a cover is damaged, or if you do not receive all of your covers, submit a full description of your order to the address below. The description should include the stamp issue, a description of the envelope, the number and placement of stamps, quantity of covers, and any other information that may assist in locating or replacing your covers. Requests for exchanges or claims must be received within six months of the issue date. Damaged covers, and claims for non-receipt should be sent to:

PO BOX 499992
KANSAS CITY MO 64144-9992

Postal Service Affixed Covers

Stamp Fulfillment Services offers First Day Covers for new issues through the USA Philatelic catalog. These are blank covers (without cachets) with new stamps affixed and postmarked with the official "First Day of Issue" cancellation. Depending on the size and/or number of stamps affixed, covers are sold in one of three standard sizes: small (#6 3/4) for single stamps, many se-tenant blocks and some booklet panes; legal (#10) for larger se-tenant issues, and many booklet panes. These First Day Covers remain on sale for one year from the issue date.

Orders for stamps and covers through USA Philatelic should not be included with covers sent for First Day Cancellation

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