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Postmarks Seen on First Day Covers

Cachetmakers may have their first day covers cancelled with a choice of postmark types. The USPS sends information about these options when they announce new stamp issues.

Machine Cancel

This is the standard First Day of Issue cancel that is imprinted automatically with a steel die. The position of the cancel is usually in the same place, or may be registered slightly higher or lower upon request.

machine cancel

Rubber Four-Bar

This cancel is similar to the machine version above, except it is slightly larger and bolder. It is pressed on the envelope with a rubber stamping device. Because it is manually applied by a Stamp Fulfillment Center employee, the cachetmaker can specify where to position the cancel in relation to the stamp.

4-bar rubber cancel top cancel

Black and White Pictorial

Here is another hand-applied rubber stamp cancel, but instead of the standard four killer-bar lines, there is a picture and text appropriate for the subject of the stamp.

pictorial cancel

Digital Color

Digital color postmarks are sprayed on the envelope via laser printing technology. It is a tricky and touchy process that requires the envelope to be made of a certain type of paper and thickness. The USPS charges cachet makers a fee for this service.

color digital postmark

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