First Stamp with Pre-Announced First Day of Issue

U.S. #E12 immediate delivery of a letter within one mile of any special delivery post office.

On July 12, 1922, the U.S. Post Office Department issued its first stamp with an announced first day of issue.

Prior to this event, the Post Office Department didn’t usually designate specific dates for the issue of new stamps. Only a few had a set first day of issue, and most of those were commemoratives. There were some first day covers as early as 1851, but they were not specifically prepared like the First Day Covers we know today.

A major step in the evolution of First Day Covers came in 1922. Then-Assistant Postmaster General W. Irving Glover announced that “henceforth every new stamp issued will have a designated first day of issue.” The first stamp issued under this new policy was #E12, the 10¢ Special Delivery stamp.

The Post Office Department put forth a considerable promotional effort for the issue of this new stamp. They ran a press release in several major newspapers on July 8 and sent a new stamp announcement to postmasters on the stamp’s first day of issue, July 12, 1922. This was a significant first – it was the first time that the Post Office notified collectors of the date and location a new stamp would be issued, leading to the birth of modern First Day Covers. Eventually, collectors and companies began producing their own special envelopes to bear these new stamps and have them mailed on their first day of issue.

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  1. Beautiful colors and design. They used motor cycles to deliver mail. History of first day stamps is interesting.

  2. A favorite stamp! Reminds of riding motorcycles, a different experience than driving. Enriching in ways, closed up inside air conditioned vehicles often restricts. Feeling the temperature and moisture changes with elevation and or proximity to bodies of water, even between valleys and more open areas. Not always pleasant everyday, as delivering mail, still, a nice memory inspiring stamp. The scene itself seems peaceful, warm and quaint. When life was slower, a few minutes chatting, people, maybe, felt more connected, less like strangers passing without even a glance. Thank you Mystic!

  3. Now they want to cut delivery to five days a week. The post office should have stayed a department and not become the half fed and half private organization it is now. The stamp is lovely as is the history of first day issue..

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