What Are First Day Cover Stamps? (Meaning, Value + More)

USPS puts a lot of effort into designing beautiful stamps with mass appeal. Some stamps feature food; others have cartoon characters, and still, others show famous Americans. Given all the work that goes into these stamps, USPS makes sure to celebrate their release.

Whenever USPS comes out with new stamps, it releases a special First Day Cover featuring the stamp and a specially designed postmark. If you’d like to learn more about First Day Cover stamps, then this is the article for you!

What Are First Day Cover Stamps?

First Day Covers are envelopes affixed with a stamp (or stamps) on the first day they go on sale to the public as of 2024. On the first day of a stamp’s release, the envelope is stamped with a specially designed postmark and a cancellation stamp related to the stamp’s theme.

If you’d like to know more about how to buy First Day Covers and how much they cost, then keep on reading!

What Does A First Day Cover Generally Contain?

First Day Covers generally contain three elements: a cover/envelope, the new postage stamp (or stamps), and the postmarks.

In some cases, covers are just new, plain white envelopes. In others, they could feature a special drawing or design that corresponds to the subject of the stamps.

Further, some First Day Covers only have one stamp, while others may contain all of the stamps in a series.

Lastly, there’s the postmark. That said, simple postmarks say “First Day of Issue” and include a circular cachet with the stamp release date and city on it.

In addition to these basic postmarks, more detailed varieties fit into the stamp’s theme.

For example, a Christmas First Day Cover may include a stamped holiday message and a picture of presents.

Are First Day Cover Stamps Valuable?

In most cases, First Day Covers and stamps are not valuable because they’re mass-produced and easy to purchase, thereby eliminating any possibility of value.

However, there may be exceptions to this rule. For example, older First Day Covers or those with a unique design may have some value.

So, if you believe you’ve got your hands on a valuable First Day Cover, bring it to an antique dealer who specializes in stamps!

Does Anyone Collect First Day Covers?

Although stamp collecting isn’t the popular hobby it once was (especially amongst younger generations), First Day Covers remain one of the most collectible stamp-related items.

Further, First Day Covers are collectible because USPS works hard to choose stamp designs that will have wide appeal.

With that, USPS even has a committee whose sole purpose is choosing new designs like the popular designs of Star Wars, Elvis, and Marvel Superheroes. 

Therefore, USPS ensures stamp collectors aren’t the only ones adding to their collections by using stamps and stamp covers inspired by pop culture.

Where Can I Buy USPS First Day Cover Stamps?

Where Can I Buy USPS First Day Cover Stamps

There are a couple of ways to buy USPS First Day Cover stamps.

First, one method (the most traditional) is to obtain the first-day-of-issue postmark by mail. To do this, purchase your new stamps at the Post Office or online.

Next, affix the stamps to an envelope of your choice and make sure each cover has enough postage to meet First-Class mail requirements.

After that, address the envelopes to yourself or someone else for return through the mail.

Or, you can include an additional self-addressed return envelope that’s large enough to accommodate canceled items. Also, this envelope must have sufficient return postage.

Finally, place the envelopes you wish to have stamped into a larger envelope addressed to the following address:

FDOI – (Name of Stamp Issue)

USPS Stamp Fulfillment Services

8300 NE Underground Drive, Suite 300

Kansas City, MO 64144-9900

After applying the first-day-of-issue postmark, USPS will return the envelopes to you through the mail. Moreover, there’s no charge for the postmark up to a quantity of 50 envelopes.

But, for more than 50 envelopes, there is a $0.05 charge per postmark.

Moreover, note that you have 120 days from the date of the stamp’s release to obtain first-day-of-issue postmarks by mail.

If that sounds too complicated, you can buy First Day Covers (complete with an envelope, a postage stamp, and a postmark) directly from the USPS website.

Also, you can buy First Day Covers by calling 1-800-STAMP-24 (1-800-782-6724).

Can I Mail A First Day Cover?

If you request a first-day-of-issue postmark by mail, you can address an envelope to yourself, a friend, or a family member.

Then, after USPS stamps the envelope, USPS will send the envelope to whoever it’s addressed to.

If, however, you purchase an already-stamped First Day Cover from the USPS website, you cannot mail the envelope.

That said, because the stamp has been postmarked, USPS considers it used.

How Much Do USPS First Day Cover Stamps Cost?

USPS sells complete First Day Cover sets that include an envelope, a postage stamp, and a postmark for varying prices.

That said, prices depend on how many covers you’re buying and where the stamps come from.

So, the current prices for First Day Covers are as follows:

  • One Forever stamp: $0.99
  • Four Forever stamps: up to $4.64
  • Five Forever stamps: $4.95
  • Eight Forever stamps: $7.92
  • Ten Forever stamps: $9.90
  • One Non-Machinable stamp: $1.19
  • One Additional Ounce stamp: $1.19
  • One three-ounce stamp: $1.39
  • One Priority Mail stamp: $8.39

To learn more about USPS, you can also check our posts on Purple Heart Forever stamps, if USPS stamps expire, and what are non-machinable stamps.


First Day Cover stamps are a great way to send a little something extra to your friends or family members. Also, they’re an excellent way to dip your feet into the world of stamp collecting.

So, keep your eyes out for any new stamp designs that interest you, and don’t hesitate to place your order!

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Marques Thomas

Marques Thomas graduated with a MBA in 2011. Since then, Marques has worked in the retail and consumer service industry as a manager, advisor, and marketer. Marques is also the head writer and founder of QuerySprout.com.

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