2 General Information

Pictorial postmarks are event postmarks offered by the Postal Service to commemorate local community events, such as fairs, conventions, or other types of local celebrations. They are initiated by postmasters, sponsors, and organizers of events, and they may feature wording and/or graphics relating to those events.

Pictorial postmarks are provided upon request to collectors at temporary philatelic stations established at events and through mail–back service. They may not be obtained at regular stamp or retail windows.

Devices used for applying pictorial postmarks are generally rubber composition handstamps. There is no charge to the sponsor for the production of these handstamps or for the Postal Service’s staffing of the temporary philatelic station.

Upcoming pictorial postmarks are announced in each issue of the Postal Bulletin and through news releases distributed to the press and philatelic publications.

Pictorial postmarks should not be confused with “special cancellations,” which are mechanical mail processing picture postmarks approved by the manager of Mailing Standards at Postal Service Headquarters in Washington, D.C.

First day of issue postmarks that feature pictorial designs or digital color postmarks are not part this program. First day of issue postmarks must follow first day of issue mail–back service instructions found in stamp release announcement articles published in the Postal Bulletin. Second day ceremony and first day of sale pictorial postmarks must comply with the program policy and procedures described in this handbook.

Reminder: The pictorial postmark date must never predate a postage stamp's first day of issue date.

Field offices may not use digital color postmarks. Only Stamp Fulfillment Services is authorized to create and use digital color postmarks.

In addition digital color postmarks are not available through first day of issue mail–back service. Digital color postmarks are an exclusive product of Stamp Services and are only available through the USA Philatelic catalog and Stamp Fulfillment Services.