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This one should be a lot easier to solve than last night's puzzle as the stamps are mostly first day covers.

Stamp dealer and publisher George Linn created the first first-day cover when he developed a simple text cachet for the Harding Memorial stamp issue of 1926. From those humble beginnings, the collecting of first-day covers grew into a market with sales in the millions of dollars.

Over the years, collectors have made it clear that they prefer their first-day covers (FDC) with cachets. A cachet is an informative illustration usually on the left-hand side of the envelope. Overall, cachets covering all or most of the envelope have become popular. These include the artist hand-painted covers which usually command a premium over such mass-produced fare as that marketed by Artcraft, Artmaster, Fleetwood, and other popular brands.

As supply and demand dictate the price, the limited-edition independent artist-produced cover—almost without exception—sells for more than their numerous commercial counterparts.

The one certainty in the world of first-day cover collecting is that blank first-day covers are virtually worthless in today's stamp collecting marketplace. In general, only stamps canceled with the first-day date are deemed collectible without a cachet. The First Day of Issue cancellation didn't yet exist before the middle 1920s—prior to the era when the cacheted cover came into vogue.

For those who want to learn more about the ins and outs of first-day collecting, a great resource is the American First Day Cover Society.

By John Finch on The Spruce Crafts
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