GB First Day Covers

What are GB First Day Covers?

A GB First Day Cover (FDC) needs 3 elements to be correct

1.The Envelope (known as a cover)
2. The Postage Stamps
3.The Postmark with the same date the Stamps were issued

The Example below shows an Envelope with a Related design to the Stamps of Stephenson's Rocket.

Although this envelope has a related design, a plain envelope would still be a FDC

GB First Day Cover

The Stamps were Issued on the 12th March 1980 The 150th Anniversary of Liverpool and Manchester Railway

The Stamps are Postmarked with what is known as a Special Handstamp, (SHS is the abbreviation)

used on the same day the Stamps were issued 12 March 1980 (The First Day of Issue).

Commemorative / Souvenir Covers

First Day Covers (FDC's) are not to be confused with Commemorative / Souvenir Covers

I will explain the difference with the help of another image below

The same set of Stamps as before
The 150th Anniversary of Liverpool and Manchester Railway Issued 12 March 1980

GB Commemorative Cover

We have 2 of 3 elements correct
1. The Envelope (Known as the Cover) OK
2. The Stamps affixed to the envelope OK
3. Stamps Postmarked 9th June 1980 Not OK (The Stamps need to be postmarked on 12th March 1980, the date of issue)

The Hobby of GB First Day Cover Collecting

First Day Cover Collecting is much more than just having the 3 elements correct.

There are Hundreds if not Thousands of different combinations which you can use to compile a collection of FDC's that Interest you

By Era, Theme, Postmark Type or Region, Commemorative Stamps, Definitive Stamps, Booklet Stamps, Cover Producer or Series.

It's also a great way to learn about The History of Britain with many subjects covered, it will also improve your score on quiz night!

Yes You can Buy a First Day Cover catalogue and try to collect them all, but this might be more biting off a bit more than you can chew!

The Envelopes (Covers)

Initially First Day Covers were only available on Plain Envelopes, Around the 1930's a few illustrated envelopes started to be produced.

Like The King George V Silver Jubilee 1935, King Edward VIII 1936, Coronation 1937 all are available on illustrated envelopes

GB First Day Cover Producers:

  • Abbey

  • Arlington

  • Benham Covers Benham Covers More Information

  • Bletchley Park PO

  • Bradbury Covers

  • Brazier

  • Buckingham Covers

  • Cameo

  • Connoisseur

  • Cotswold

  • CoverCraft

  • Dawn Covers

  • Fine Art Covers

  • Forces Covers

  • Fourpenny Post 4D POST


  • Havering Covers

  • Hawkwood Covers

  • Historic Relics

  • Mercury

  • Philart

  • Phil Stamp Covers

  • Pilgrim Covers

  • Presentation Philatelic Services (PPS)

  • PTS/BPA The Philatelic Traders Society and The British Philatelic Association

  • Sheridan Covers

  • Peter Scot

  • Steven Scott

  • Stamp Publicity

  • Stewart Petty

  • Stuart

  • Thames

  • Trident

  • Wessex

  • Westminster Collection

The Postmarks

  • Ordinary First Day of Issue Postmark (known as FDI)

  • Counter Date Stamp (known as CDS)

  • Special Handstamps (known as SHS)

  • Slogan Postmarks (Includes wavy lines postmark)

  • Travelling Post Offices (known as TPO)

  • Paquebots (items posted at sea)

  • Royal Households (Buckingham Palace, Windsor Castle, Balmoral Castle, Sandringham House)

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