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United States/Covers & Postmarks : First Day Covers

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seanpashby
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07 Oct 2016
12:02:02am
I have never been very interested in FDC's, but have decided to enhance my Liberty Series collection with them. What is the best thing to look for? Are unaddressed covers better than actual mailed covers? Is there a specific company that is better than others? Any help would be appreciated.
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ikeyPikey
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07 Oct 2016
07:27:44am
re: First Day Covers

Collector preference is still for cacheted, unaddressed, pristine FDCs ... but, since resale values are generally low (read "the secondary market has collapsed"), you can buy what you like without risking your "investment".

If you are new to FDCs, one thing you will want to be aware of is folks who add new artwork to old covers. You won't easily mistake a laser-printed cachet for a now-classic line-engraved cachet, but you will want to know which one you are buying.

In their favor, pristine unaddressed FDCs offer a neatly-cancelled stamp, a readable slogan, a city, a date, some nice artwork and, most important, a story to tell.

Best of all, they are TFP (Tongs-Free Philately).

Cheers,

/s/ ikeyPikey

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BenFranklin1902
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Tom in Exton, PA
07 Oct 2016
03:20:05pm

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re: First Day Covers

As Ikey said, there is little value to them so collect ones that appeal to you. The most common are the Artcraft and Fleetwood covers. There are a slew of smaller producers who had some unique styles, and some that had pretty bad graphics! I try to vary the cachets in my collection. I like smaller manufacturers, unofficial first day cancels, combination covers that use previously issued but related stamps on the same cover. I like cachets issued by an organization related to the stamp issue. Those are elusive.

I don't mind if mine are neatly addressed. I do try to vary the recipients to add interest to my collection.

The last ones I bought were in lots on eBay. I believe I paid less than 15 cents a cover.


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joelgrebin
29 Nov 2016
02:32:18pm
re: First Day Covers

I view FDC as a trip down history lane. I like to research the town of issue for its history, the topic of the stamp, the tie in with the cachet. I don't collect them for their resale value but the knowledge gained regarding the commemorating event.

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BenFranklin1902
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Tom in Exton, PA
29 Nov 2016
06:29:14pm

Auctions
re: First Day Covers

I was at a small show on Sunday and a dealer had two boxes of older first day covers, all neatly in clear plastic sleeves that he was asking 25 cents each for. The fellow in front of me bought 150 covers. Still there was enough there for me to buy 65. The dealer then took a few dollars off my total.

I avoided the main cachet makers like Artcraft and Fleetwood, except where I knew I had no cover in my collection. I was quick to pick up Anderson and House of Farnum, as well as any smaller manufacturers or non-profit type cachets. I didn't have a list of any sort, so I went by memory. I was surprised at how well I did, only one or two duplicates!

Most of the ones I got were 1930s through 1960s and mainly typewritten addresses. As said above, they'll never be worth much, but they sure are fun to look at!

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tomiseksj
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30 Nov 2016
11:13:00am
re: First Day Covers

While most FDCs have minimal value, some are highly sought after and command a high price.

I can't speak for the Liberty series FDCs but I'm quite familiar with those for the Iwo Jima stamp (Scott 929) -- the 2013 Scott Specialized valued an addressed cover with common cachet at $15.

I am attempting to acquire all 61 of the cacheted first day covers for the Iwo Jima Stamp that are listed in Mellone's Specialized Cachet Catalog of First Day Covers of the 1940's.

To date, I've been able to acquire 41 of them.

Of the remaining 20, I've only seen 5 listed for sale in over 3 years of daily searching and those sold for far more than I was able or willing to pay.

For example, this Dorothy Knapp (929-NIM) sold for $749 on November 4, 2015:

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This William Linto (929-13) went for $224.72 on October 7, 2016:

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Some of the primary drivers of value among FDC collectors, apart from condition and addressed/unaddressed are the cachet maker, the numbers produced, and first cachets.

If you're thinking about collecting U.S. FDCs, the Mellone's series of catalogs are a useful reference.


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amsd
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Editor, Seal News; contributor, JuicyHeads
30 Nov 2016
01:28:58pm
re: First Day Covers

Ms. Knapp lived just down the street from Phil, Jopie, and me. I never met her, but know of the great admiration her covers command.

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vinman
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30 Nov 2016
02:34:09pm
re: First Day Covers

I don't collect first day covers but will add one when the cachet fits into my collecting interests. Dorothy Knapp covers are probably the nicest art work but too rich for my blood. There is a book put out by Douglas Weisz "Dorothy Knapp: Philately And family". Doug Weisz is a cover/postal history dealer that attends the larger shows in the US. There are several hundred pages of copies of her covers in the book. I'll probably never own one of her covers but the book is just as good.
Vince

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BenFranklin1902
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Tom in Exton, PA
21 Apr 2017
11:52:42am

Auctions
re: First Day Covers

Scott may list a common addressed FDC for $15 but reality is most of them sell for a dollar or two. Some of the scarce ones only had a few copies produced, so good luck!

For the scarce cachets, there's always hope since old FDC collections get broken up regularly into dollar boxes by people who don't know the difference. So keep on checking eBay and boxes at shows. Ya never know when one will pop up!

I find the same thing with my New Jersey postmark collection. There will be dealers who have a Discontinued Post Office that was in service for 100 years and want $100 for the cover. Then I've found a few truly scarce ones that were in service for less than 5 years for a few dollars.

Good luck, you have an interesting collection.

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amsd
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Editor, Seal News; contributor, JuicyHeads
21 Apr 2017
03:04:01pm
re: First Day Covers

Tom's comment brings this into focus: Scott's CV for FDCs are ridiculously out of whack. Not askew, but insanely wrong. If the cachet maker isn't in demand, the FDC will not command a premium no matter what.


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philb
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21 Apr 2017
03:15:27pm

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re: First Day Covers

Yes its a shame i did not know much about our Rhinebeck neighbor Dorothy Knapp and her work while she was alive. She must have been a low key person as i never heard much about her at local stamp clubs.

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amsd
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Editor, Seal News; contributor, JuicyHeads
21 Apr 2017
03:16:37pm
re: First Day Covers

nope, and she never came to our club..... would have loved to have gotten a few of her party favors

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tomiseksj
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21 Apr 2017
03:25:25pm
re: First Day Covers

Scott isn't that far off as far as the Iwo Jima FDCs are concerned. I've purchased a total of 83 cacheted covers thus far at an average cost of $10.36.

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philb
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21 Apr 2017
06:05:41pm

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re: First Day Covers

Gawg, one of the oldtimers on Stampoffers collected only the Texas Centennial first day covers (scott #776) He paid ten and twenty dollars for some of them.

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BenFranklin1902
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Tom in Exton, PA
23 Apr 2017
03:02:21pm

Auctions
re: First Day Covers

Quote:

"Scott isn't that far off as far as the Iwo Jima FDCs are concerned. I've purchased a total of 83 cacheted covers thus far at an average cost of $10.36."



The point David and I were making... I recently bought a big load of FDCs from the 1940-1970 time frame at a show for a quarter each. Not buying an unseen lot, but got to pick them all out myself from the dealer's box. These were mostly the common Artcraft, Artmaster, Fleetwood and even some Anderson and House of Farnum covers.

Then there are the specialty dealers who offer all the odd and rare cachets. They will be offering the scarce manufacturers and charging $10-20 each. When you have 50 different cachets for a single issue and find one you don't have, you're inclined to pay $20 for it. Even these dealers will have website sales with everything 25 or 50% off at times.

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tomiseksj
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24 Apr 2017
10:27:10am
re: First Day Covers

The point was not lost on me, neither, it appears, on Scott.

Here is a small portion of the FDC listing from the 2017 Specialized. The vast majority of the covers have CVs listed in the $1 to $2 range (covers in VF condition, sound stamps with fresh color and good centering, unaddressed and with the most common cachets). I don't see this as being insanely out of whack (at least any more so than the $0.25 retail floor for the common stamp); however, I am only interested in FDCs of a single stamp and typically don't purchase other FDCs.

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You'll get no argument from me that material which isn't in demand won't command high prices and that most dealers will opt to sell inventory that doesn't move for minimal profit. I also agree that most common material can be had at a fraction of catalog value and that collectors will often pay a premium for difficult to find material. A prime example is this cover, which sold on ebay on January 3, 2017 for $899.

Image Not Found


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BenFranklin1902
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Tom in Exton, PA
24 Apr 2017
02:46:02pm

Auctions
re: First Day Covers

We are all in agreement.

When I was a youngster my father taught me the whole thing about supply vs demand. I remember him saying that if every stamp collector saved a sheet of 50 mint commemoratives, then we'd need 50 times the number of collectors to all have one and make that stamp rare!

Little did we know the hobby would go the other way and we'd have a small fraction of the collectors that lived back then!

And I think collectors did over collect back in the good ole days. It's still not uncommon for me to buy a cover hoard and find a dozen to many more of the same cover, addressed to the same guy from the 1940s. That means all those covers have been stuck together in a box for 80 plus years. They've never even been in a collection!

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amsd
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Editor, Seal News; contributor, JuicyHeads
24 Apr 2017
03:20:31pm
re: First Day Covers

Steve, your illustrated Iwo Jima cover is a Knapp cover; her FDCs are in great demand, and have prices commensurate with demand and rarity

David, who like Phil, lives down the road from where Dorothy lived

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philb
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24 Apr 2017
08:36:35pm

Auctions
re: First Day Covers

If we ever find a shoebox of Knapp handpainted..will that deflate the market ?

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