Explore History With US First Day Covers From 1951 to the Present

Collecting first day of issue stamps attached to envelopes and bearing the first day postmarks can be a fascinating hobby. The United States Post Office releases stamps with a variety of themes, so you can easily find first day covers that interest you. When you shop for affordable U.S. first day covers from 1951 to now on eBay, you can often find ones that come with a cachet telling you more about the significance of the stamp.

Types of new and used first day covers released in only one city

While many first day stamps are issued nationwide, the United States Postal Service selects particular cities for others, including:

  • Palace of the Governors - This first day cover from 1960 features a turquoise rotary press coil stamp of the Palace of the Governors. It was released in Santa Fe, N.M.
  • Olympic Village Games - This first day cover released on February 18, 1960, from Olympic Valley, Calif., celebrates the Squaw Valley Olympic Games. This cover is unique because this post office was specially established for the games.
  • 50-star U.S. Flag - This first day cover featuring a Giori Press stamp was released on July 4, 1960, in Honolulu, Hawaii, recognizes Hawaii's admission as a state.
  • Windmills - This series of 11 stamps issued in Lubbock, Texas, on February 7, 1980, features different styles of windmills from across the United States.
  • Coral reefs - This series of four stamps issued in Charlotte Amalie, U.S. Virgin Islands, on Aug. 26, 1980, shows the four types of coral found in U.S. waters.
Who was featured on first day covers?

Many different people have been featured on first day covers from 1951 to now. Many of them are politicians or soldiers, like George Washington, General Bernardo de Galvez, Thomas Jefferson, and Patrick Henry. Famous women, including Dolley Madison, Frances Perkins, and Helen Keller, have been featured on first day covers. When you shop on eBay for U.S. first day covers, you will also see many objects, like inkwells and violins, showcased. Other first day covers showcase a particular location, like the Seattle's World Fair. Still other covers feature organizations, like the Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts.

What are some errors seen on first day covers?

A variety of errors have been spotted on first day covers, including:

  • Dag Hammarskjöld invert - Released on Oct. 23, 1962, these 4-cent stamps have an inverted background.
  • AMERIPEX missing black ink - On this series of four first day stamps, the fourth stamp in the series issued on May 22, 1986, is missing its black ink.
  • Disney stamp - Many different errors can be found on this stamp released on Sept. 11, 1968. Numerous ones have faded-looking ink, while on others the ink is too bright.
  • James Michener stamp - This stamp released on May 12, 2008, is often missing various colors, especially blue and magenta.