1922 10¢ Motorcycle Delivery
Issue Date: July 12, 1922
City: Washington, DC
Printed By: Bureau of Engraving and Printing
Printing Method: Engraved
Color: Gray violet
Special Delivery stamps were pre-payments added to the regular “lawful postage” for an extra service – immediate delivery of a letter within one mile of any special delivery post office. These special post offices were those with free routine delivery service or in larger communities with 4,000 or more people.
First available in 1885, the Special Delivery service was extremely popular. At first, the service was available from 7 a.m. to midnight. The following year, the hours changed from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. The service was so successful that in 1886, every U.S. post office began to offer Special Delivery.
First Stamp With Pre-Announced First Day Of Issue
On July 12, 1922, the U.S. Post Office Department issued its first stamp with an announced first day of issue.
Prior to this event, the Post Office Department didn’t usually designate specific dates for the issue of new stamps. Only a few had a set first day of issue, and most of those were commemoratives. There were some first day covers as early as 1851, but they were not specifically prepared like the First Day Covers we know today.
A major step in the evolution of First Day Covers came in 1922. Then-Assistant Postmaster General W. Irving Glover announced that “henceforth every new stamp issued will have a designated first day of issue.” The first stamp issued under this new policy was #E12, the 10¢ Special Delivery stamp.
The Post Office Department put forth a considerable promotional effort for the issue of this new stamp. They ran a press release in several major newspapers on July 8 and sent a new stamp announcement to postmasters on the stamp’s first day of issue, July 12, 1922. This was a significant first – it was the first time that the Post Office notified collectors of the date and location a new stamp would be issued, leading to the birth of modern First Day Covers. Eventually, collectors and companies began producing their own special envelopes to bear these new stamps and have them mailed on their first day of issue.