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The end of an era.

The Stamp Collecting Report, I'm Lloyd de Vries.

A popular stamp collecting specialty is first day covers: Envelopes postmarked on the
first day a stamp goes on sale. Over the years, theyíve become more elaborate, and today,
these F-D-Cís as theyíre called often have special cancels and designs on the envelopes
that enhance or elaborate on the stampís theme.

In most countries, the postal agency produces FDCs, but not in the U-S: Here, private
companies and individuals make the majority of them.

For more than 76 years, a mainstay of first day cover collecting in the U-S has been
ArtCraft. Now, Washington Stamp Exchange has announced it has ceased production of the
line. It just wasnít economically feasible to continue.

The ArtCraft first day covers were high quality, with engraved designs. In recent years,
color was added using a second printing process.

In its heyday, ArtCraft was wildly popular: Every first day cover collection had some,
and most still do. Every FDC collector has owned some, and many still do.

But ArtCraft was also a victim of its own success: It sold so many, through clever
marketing, that they became too common. Collectors often scoffed at them, instead of
valuing the consistent high quality.

Iím Lloyd de Vries of The Virtual Stamp Club. For more on stamps and stamp collecting,
visit virtual-stamp-club-dot-com.

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