‘First Day Cover’ Collection Marks 50th Anniversary of Pharmacy Stamp

American Institute of the History of Pharmacy posts the collection of pharmacist Daniel Shifrin on its website.

For many individuals interested in the history of pharmacy, November 10, 1972, stands out as the momentous day the US Postal Service issued a commemorative stamp honoring the pharmacy profession.

The American Institute of the History of Pharmacy is marking the 50th anniversary of the stamp’s issuance by posting on its website a collection of pharmacy stamp “first day covers,” courtesy of pharmacist and first day cover collector Daniel Shifrin.

Courtesy of Daniel Shifrin and the American Institute of the History of Pharmacy

In stamp collecting parlance, a “first day cover” (FDC) refers to an envelope or postal card bearing a stamp postmarked on the day of the stamp’s issuance. Sometimes the envelope or postal card used for the first day cover may contain a printed design or inscription called a “cachet” related in some way to the new stamp. These cachets may be designed and produced by specialized design firms for businesses, individuals, or organizations, with a particular interest in the commemorative stamp. Such “cacheted FDCs” are highly collectible.

Shifrin credits the late George Griffenhagen, a legendary historian of pharmacy and longtime AIHP member, with sparking his interest in philately or stamp collecting and his particular interest in collecting pharmacy stamp FDCs.

Indeed, Griffenhagen drafted the text describing each of the FDCs in the posted collection, according to Shifrin.

Example of First Day Cover

Courtesy of Daniel Shifrin and the American Institute of the History of Pharmacy

To mark the 10th anniversary of the pharmacy stamp’s issuance in 1982, the AIHP sponsored an exhibit of pharmacy stamp FDCs at the annual meeting of the American Pharmacists Association. The exhibit comprised more than 80 cacheted pharmacy stamp FDCs from the collections of Griffenhagen, Shifrin, and 2 other collectors.

The AIHP is pleased to reprise, at least in part, the 1982 exhibit to mark the 50th anniversary of the pharmacy commemorative stamp. We thank Shifrin for his assistance in making his collection available to us.

This article originally appeared on the AIHP website.

Those who would like to reach out to Shifrin with questions or more information can contact him via email (rpdanny627@gmail.com)

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