US Stamps

USPS, cachetmakers address Postal Service’s cacheted first-day covers

May 7, 2018, 4 AM
The United States Postal Service produced two cacheted covers for recent first-day ceremonies. A Postal Service spokesman told Linn’s that the covers will also be offered through the USPS USA Philatelic retail sales catalog.

By Michael Baadke

In response to an inquiry from Linn’s Stamp News, the United States Postal Service provided additional information about the cacheted covers it produced for two recent stamp issues.

A report on page 14 of the April 30 Linn’s described two new products prepared and sold by the USPS.

No. 10-size first-day covers were prepared for the Mister Rogers forever commemorative stamp issued March 23 in Pittsburgh, Pa., and for the STEM Education set of four stamps issued April 6 in Washington, D.C.

The covers were sold by Postal Service workers for $9.95 each at the first-day events.

USPS spokesman Roy Betts provided a response for the Postal Service.

“This past year several products have been created around education and geared to promote awareness around stamps and stamp collecting.

“Each product is evaluated to determine the ideal location to place the products in the market place; retail, catalog and online.

“Cachet envelopes were produced for Mister Rogers and STEM Education and will be offered in the USA Philatelic Catalog.

“We will continue to evaluate our line of stamps and philatelic products to respond to customer and market needs.”

The Postal Service shied away from creating cacheted FDCs for many years. An active collector and dealer community prepares and sells cacheted FDCs whenever a new U.S. stamp is issued.

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In a letter published in the May 7 Linn’s, Rollin Berger wrote “this may be just the beginning of a disastrous trend for the independent cachetmaker.”

Berger pointed out that “the cachetmaker must pay 50¢ for a stamp that the Postal Service pays only a fraction of a penny to produce.”

Lloyd de Vries, whose monthly First-Day Covers column is published in Linn’s, is also president of the American First-Day Cover Society.

“The American First Day Cover Society will be monitoring USPS production of cacheted first day covers,” de Vries wrote in response to an inquiry from Linn’s.

“However, we believe these two 2018 issues to be isolated incidents. The Postal Service has done this before, for occasional issues and events.

“I personally believe the high prices and nonstandard format of the USPS covers (No. 10 rather than No. 6¾ envelopes), plus the mass production, should not make these FDCs unfair competition to other cachetmakers.”