Phonograph First Day Covers and Stamps

Commemorating Sound Recording and the Phonograph with Stamps


By Doug Boilesen 2023

Friends of the Phonograph annually celebrate the Phonograph's birthday on December 6 based on Edison's completion of his tinfoil phonograph on December 6,1877.

Stamps around the world are issued for many different reasons and many different themes. This gallery primarily displays stamps and First Day of Issue Covers (FDC) connected with Recorded Sound and the Phonograph. Most of the following FDCs are celebrating the 100th anniversary of the phonograph with its USA stamp "Commemorating Sound Recording" issued on March 23, 1977. Other countries issued Centennial of Sound Recording stamps and FDCs on other dates.

FDCs displayed in this gallery which have an illustrated phonograph and are not connected with the Centennial of the Record Sound/Phonograph are primarily the 100th anniversary of Thomas Edison's birthday FDCs.


Issue Dates for Centennial of Sound Recording Stamps

February 16, 1977 - First Day of Issue for Centennial of Sound Recording - Germany - Unknown why this date was selected.


February 25, 2020 - First Day Cover celebrating Romanian Phonograph Collection as the greatest phonograph collection in the world.


March 23, 1977 - First Day of Issue for Centennial of Sound Recording. March 23, 1977 was chosen as the official date for the stamp's issue "to coincide with an award dinner in Washington, D.C. by the Recording Industries Association of America." Nothing about the phonograph significantly happened in March 1877 and other anomalies are also part of this stamp's issuance and design such as the stamp not showing Edison's name and not illustrating his original tinfoil (Kruesi model) phonograph but instead a "tinfoil machine that wasn't made until March 1878." For additional review details related to this anniversary stamp by Allen Koenigsberg, see his article "The Anniversary Stamp," The Antique Phonograph Monthly, January 1977 (Vol. V No.1). Note that two of the First Day of Issue Covers displayed in this gallery do correctly identify December 6, 1877 as the date Edison's first words were recorded on his Phonograph and also mention "Mary had a Little Lamb..."


July 20, 1977 - First Day of Issue for 100 Years of Phonograph - India Postal Service (see below for postal service technical data sheet related to this stamp).


August 27, 1977 - First Day of Issue for 100 Years of Phonograph Centennial - New Zealand


September 5, 1981 - Wallis et Futuna issued stamp with Edison and his tinfoil phonograph - first day cover honoring Thomas Edison postmarked September 5, 1981 (probably for 50 years after his death on October 18, 1931, but stamp also notes that Edison's First Phonograph was in 1878).


December 29, 1977 - 100 Years of Sound Recording - Uraquay.


2016 Sierra Leone stamp - Notes Phonograph birthday as 1877.


First Day of Issue Covers for Centennial of Sound Recording






Commemorative Cacheted Postcard Cover for UPSS Convention, October 14, 1977










August 12, 1977 Postmarked Edison, NJ (Not First Day of Issue.)


Custom Impression, postmarked April 24, 1977 for MANPEX 77 Stamp Show, Manchester, CT (Not First Day of Issue.)


Local Fort Meyers, Florida post, First Day of Issue Cover, March 23, 1977



Unofficial First Day Cover (Oddity) March 23, 1977


India Information sheet for their One Hundred Years of Phonograph Stamp (depicting Berliner gramophone instead of Edison tin-foil Phonograph).


Territory of Wallis and Futuna Islands First Day Cover issued September 5, 1981 says it's Edison's first phonograph - 1878 (and an 1878 tinfoil is what's being shown - but it's not illustrating the "1st Phonograph of Edison's" (which was the Kreusi tinfoil model of December 6, 1877).


Uruguay's 100 Years of recorded sound First Day Cover with Edison Tinfoil Phonograph issued on December 29, 1977.




2016 Sierra Leone stamp noting Phonograph birthday as 1877.


First Day Cover celebrating a Romanian Phonograph Collection, February 25, 2020 (said to be certified in 2016 by the Guinness World Records as the greatest collection in the world by the Guinness World Records in 2016). Additional Romanian Phonograph related stamps shown on following First Day Cover.


Information sheet issued by the United States Post Office regarding the 1977 Centennial of Sound Recording Commemorative Stamp. (PM-1119).

Thomas A. Edison Stamp - First Day of Issue Covers, February 11, 1947

"The Talking Machine" illustrated is a Berliner Gramophone (and not an Edison Phonograph.)

Edison "Class M" Phonograph with battery on table celebrating Edison's 100th Birthday Anniversary.

Edison cylinder phonograph in Staehle Cachet Cover celebrating Thomas Edison's 100th Birthday Anniversary, February 11, 1947

Edison Tin-Foil Phonograph 1876 (incorrect) pictured in hand-painted Fluegel First Day of Issue Cover celebrating Thomas Edison's 100th Birthday Anniversary, February 11, 1947.

Early Edison Phonograph on Collman Cachet First Day of Issue Cover celebrating Thomas Edison 100th Anniversary, February 11, 1947.

Other FDCs with Illustrated Phonographs.

Great Historic Sites of America First Edison Proof and First Day of Issue, February 3, 1972 with Edison illustrated and seated by his Class M Phonograph.

Edison Phonograph Stamp with portraits of Bell and Edison on "Scientific Achievements" Jersey First Day of Issue Cover, August 2, 2020

Republic of Maldova Heritage National Museum, First Day of Issue Cover, October 20, 2023

Poster Stamp - Edison

1930 Edison Bell Phonograph and Records, Milan, Italy Fair

Charles Cros and Thomas Edison

On December 3, 1977 a French stamp was issued celebrating Charles Cros' contribution to recorded sound. Cros had submitted his concept for a sound recording and playback device in a sealed envelope to the French Academy on April 30, 1877 which was read in public on December 3, 1877.

A stamp honoring Cros was issued by France on December 3, 1977. A stamp exposition was organized by Edouard Berck and the following information sheet promoted the stamp and the event which honored Charles Cros and Thomas Edison as creators of the talking machine and its 100th anniversary.

See the reverse of this promotional piece and its article "Sounds and Lights or the Double Genius of Charles Cros" by Michel de Bry.

See On this Day December 6, 1877, a Red-Letter Day for Friends of the Phonograph with details about the completion of Edison's Phonograph.

See Why December 6? for details about its designation as the Birthday of the Phonograph.