Over the years, I’ve talked about these companies who produce overpriced products for the philatelic market. They will remain nameless because I don’t need an army of attorneys knocking on my door.

The US material sometimes has a “First Day of Issue” cancellation on the cover. Yet many FDC collectors shun these items. Why? The cancellation is not a genuine First Day of Issue postmark from the USPS. That’s why!

Think of it this way. It’s an added expense to take these thousands of covers (or cards) and have the official First Day of Issue cancel applied. There is a chance too that some of the material is damaged in handling or the cancellation isn’t just right. Instead, these companies provide their own First Day of Issue postmark. In short, it’s a facsimile of the original cancellation.

The USPS doesn’t care. These companies are using mint stamps for their covers which the USPS will never deliver. They are happy to make 100% profit on those stamps. And the cancellations aren’t used to defraud anyone.

If you look at the First Day of Issue cancellations used by these companies, you can see the differences. Up until the 1990s, the USPS used both handstamp and machine cancellations for FDCs. The handstamps might be a little uneven in appearance depending on how the pressure was applied. They may be a little off center and not perfectly even. The machine cancellations, like most machine cancellations, are a greyish-black ink.

But the FDCs produced by these companies have facsimile cancellations that are printed by a printing press. They are an intense black color with almost no variation. The cancelations have very thick bars. They look too good to be true and they are!

In some cases, the circular date stamp (CDS) is locaed significantly above the killer lines with the “First Day of Issue”. In the genuine first day cancels, the CDS and killer lines are even with each other. On the facsimile cancellations, they are not aligned.

Sellers are amazed when I tell them that they are facsimile cancellations. They are not true FDCs in the purest sense of the word. These sellers have cancelled stamps on cover. That’s about it. There are probably some FDC collectors who collect this stuff, which is fine. But many FDC collectors want the real McCoy, not an imitation cancellation.

The same is true with other postmarks, say, for the American Bicentennial collection (or whatever theme the collection has). The collection has covers postmarked from Philadelphia, New York, and other towns and cities connected to the American Revolution. However, those are not genuine USPS postmarks. They are cancellations created by these companies. These covers never saw the inside of the post office they are purported to be from.

It is even worse with worldwide covers. They too use facsimile cancellations. And in many cases, the stamps were produced by some firm who has a contract to print “stamps” for that country. In some cases, the stamps came straight from some printing company and never saw the country they purport to be from. The cancellations are made up too. To me, you have a “fantasy” cover from Senegal (or whatever country it is). If the stamp or postmark could talk, they would say, “Where is Senegal? Can you show me on a map? I’ve never been there.”

Unfortunately these companies made lots of money selling overpriced philatelic creations to unknowledgeable collectors. When these collectors go to sell, they get pennies on the dollar because there is very limited demand for this kind of material. The cancellations are not genuine cancellations at all. That’s the reality of the market for this kind of material.