Question: Envelope with stamp and cancellation

I was at the James Dean museum this morning and picked up some of these pictured envelopes. Are they just for collecting? What are they called?


I believe they are FDCs - First Day Covers
Released on the first day of new stamp issues and comes with the corresponding postmark

I see these are numbered!


As @Seracker pointed out, these are called First Day Covers. Among stamp collectors, covers of all types are very popular. Besides postcards, I also collect First Day Covers, but only International ones. There is one big difference between FDCs produced in the US and those in other countries. The USPS does not, as a rule produce FDCs. Nearly all the FDCs produced here are done so by private companies. That being so, when that James Dean stamp came out, you have a variety of FDCs produced by different companies. Although the stamp was the same, the picture (or cachet) to the left was different.

FDCs produced in other countries are 99% governmental issue products; or “official.” Here you can see some of the FDCs I have in my collection:


@Seracker and @cliffside Thank you for helping me get a better understanding of First Day Covers.

Also, those self-made designs have its own name-- private covers.

In Malaysia, although FDCs are issued by the postal service, you can go to the post office to postmark it yourself in any combination of stamps and covers. However, stocks of the latest stamp and covers are extremely limited nowadays as most of the supplies are only online.


Another question on this - I was looking at the USPS website when the new Peanuts stamps came out and they were selling Peanuts FDC (at least I think that’s what it was) does that make it an official one if it’s sold through the post office?

@cliffside I know you’re very knowledgeable about postcards and philatelic products, so I must be misunderstanding you. Why did you say “The USPS does not, as a rule produce FDCs.” ? If you search the USPS store for “First day cover”, there are currently 58 available. The Postal Store @

I’ve bought several FDCs directly from USPS over the years. It’s true that their selection is limited and not very artistic (no beautiful accompanying illustration on the left side), but they do produce them.

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This is fdc, first day cover

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