How to collect First Day Covers
One of the attractions of the First Day Cover hobby is that it appeals to a wide spectrum of collectors, and the collector has a multitude of options available for building a FDC collection. Also, with a wide variety of cachets usually available for each stamp issue, at prices from $1.00 to over $150.00, collectors have the luxury of selecting First Day Covers they can afford.

Some collectors focus on certain topics – medicine, art, sports, Olympics, architecture, literature, animals, National Parks, Presidents, Black Americans – the list of possible topics reaches into the hundreds. The collector can then decide whether to collect just a representative sample of cachets for the stamp, or to attempt to have a complete collection of all cachets for the stamp.


Baseball Topic

Scout Topic

FDOI Hand Cancel
Other collectors concentrate on collecting all the works of specific cachet makers. Cachet makers like Artcraft, Artmaster and Farnam began producing First Day Covers in the 1930’s, thus the task of trying to build an entire collection of the older cachet makers can be quite a challenge.

House of Farnam Cachet
Anderson and Ioor produced the same cachet in different colors for the same stamp.

Anderson Cachet - Green

Anderson Cachet - Blue

Anderson Cachet - Black
Some First Day Cover collectors specialize on collecting unofficial First Day Covers; and some cachet makers, notably Collins, Carol Gordon, Pugh and Gamm, routinely produce cachets with unofficial cancels.

Collins Hand Painted Cachet

Unofficial Cancel

Disney Topic - Unofficial Cancel
Another way to collect FDCs is to collect FDCs issued in the collector’s home state or city.

Collecting “First Cachets” is another popular sub-set of the hobby – where one tries to obtain the First Cachet produced by as many different cachet makers as possible.

1st C. E. Nickles Cachet

1st Artcraft Cachet
Some cachet makers produce interesting “combination” covers, where they add related stamps, which help tell a more complete story about the new stamp. Military issues could be augmented by earlier Army, Navy issues that relate to the new issue. Combination covers reflect the increased effort by the cachet maker to produce an attractive, informative cover.


Combination FDC
A “semi-official” First Day cover is one cancelled in the official First Day city, but with a cancel other than the official “First Day of Issue” cancel. Often a semi-official cancel is a pictorial cancel from a stamp show or a post office station in the city that obtained prior approval for the pictorial cancel.