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For broadcast on CBS Radio Network stations 
February 24-25, 2001:

The stamp is NOT in the mail.

The Stamp Collecting Report, I'm Lloyd de Vries.
When a new stamp is issued, the U-S Postal Service 
designates a date on which the stamps will be put on sale. 
Sometimes there's even a little ceremony, and some 
collectors try to get envelopes with stamps and 
cancellations showing this first day date.

They're called "first day covers."

For the last few decades, collectors have had several 
weeks to obtain these cancellations, so chances are 
these first day covers weren't actually in the mail on 
the first day, but, still, the date had a significance.

But the recent rate-change stamps that came out in 
January have brought even that into question: They 
weren't available on their issue dates. Even the main 
distribution and sales facility in Kansas City didn't 
have them, nor other sales units that cater to 
collectors. As for regular post offices, forget it.

So now, just what does that First Day Of Issue mean...
if the stamps weren't really issued on that first day? 
Was it REALLY a "first day?"

And that's stamp collecting this week. 

I'm Lloyd de Vries, CBS News.

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