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An Introduction to First Day Covers (FDCs)

What are FDCs?

What they are...

A first day cover is generally an envelope with a newly released postage stamp on it and postmarked on the first day it is released for sale by the Royal Mail

Early stamp issues are mainly found on plain envelopes and occasionally on postcards. Specially designed covers only began appearing regularly from the 1950's.

What they are not...

First day covers are not the same as souvenir or commemorative covers. These are usually issued to celebrate or commemorate a special event or anniversary, rather than to mark the first day of issue of a particular stamp.

Why they are collected...

As well as the stamps themselves, the two other elements that make up a first day cover are its envelope and its postmark. Some people collect FDCs with an aim to collect every issue going back as far as possible, others to collect the stamp issue on a variety of covers and/or with different postmarks.

What makes them interesting and valuable...?

Find out more about the different cover types, postmarks and what factors affect the price and value of a cover.

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