US Stamps

Going beyond just collecting the new U.S. stamp issue

Mar 9, 2023, 8 AM
First-day ceremony invitation for the Railroad Stations forever commemorative stamps issued March 9 in Cincinnati, Ohio.

Philatelic Foreword by Jay Bigalke

Like me, some collectors of United States stamps aren’t always satisfied with just the unused new stamp issue for their collections.

And fortunately, additional options exist for most new U.S. stamp issues: first-day covers, digital color postmark FDCs, ceremony programs, postally used examples on and off cover, and sometimes more.

Another item to collect is the invitation to attend the first-day ceremony. Some of these are quite elaborate, and the invitation for the Railroad Stations forever commemorative stamps issued March 9 is a real standout. It is folded up and die cut in the shape of a train. The inside of an opened-out invitation is pictured nearby.

These invitations are sent to a number of individuals, but they are also sold to collectors as part of a “ceremony memento” packet that the Postal Service sells through Stamp Fulfillment Services. Browsing the ones still available, I found die-cut-to-shape invites created for the Women’s Soccer stamp just issued on Feb. 16; the Mariachi, Love and Go Beyond: Buzz Lightyear stamps from 2022; and a few more.

These mementos are sold along with a ceremony program, a pane of stamps and an FDC for the issue.

It’s a great way to get most of the items in one purchase.

To find all of the currently available ceremony mementos offered by the Postal Service, visit the online Postal Store and search for “ceremony memento.” There were 25 different options available when I checked the store in early March.

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