Opinion: David Bowie’s ‘First Day Covers’

The release of David Bowie’s ‘first day covers’ was particularly emotional for me. Receiving the envelope, creamy and expensive, evoked memories of my dad having the same experience of opening pristine first day covers that he has avidly collected throughout his whole life.

The collection is comprised of stamps specifically commissioned by Royal Mail to represent the years of Bowie’s professional recording career.

The regal nature of a stamp is widely under appreciated. That morose fact could be down to letter writing crumbling to a dying entity, or the fact that people simply don’t care to spare a thought what is essentially, a glorified sticker. However, the fact that people still find the ritual of a first day cover being slotted through your letter box to be something that is exciting, even in a world of modernity and emails, is heartwarming.

Seeing many of my friends post pictures of their first day covers online, showing off our common idol in his full illustrious glory, harkened back to early school memories. Graphically atrocious holographic football stickers, attracted even those who had no idea who John Terry, Thierry Henry or Wayne Rooney were. The excitement however, overcame everybody, and building up a collection of these stickers, showing them to your friends in sly competition (I can assure you, eight year old Molly had to have the most extensive collection of anything and everything) and ultimately feeling a part of something bigger than just your sole self is a feeling even as adults we still enjoy.

The same notion of wanting to be a part of a collecting community, who will cherish these “stickers” in years to come, adorned with the face of our collective hero in Bowie is something that in the modern world we should cherish and protect as a precious, and very British past time.

I urge you to, if you haven’t already, get your hands on a David Bowie ‘first day cover’ as they are running out fast and will become collectors items. It is one of the cheapest and most rewarding mementos to remember Bowie by, and a very covetable thing in itself. You may even ignite a passion for stamp collecting that you never knew you had.

Philately is not just for Boy Scouts and Enid Blyton characters.

Words by Molly Davies

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Image via Charlie Barnes

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