US Stamps

Inside Linn’s: Baseball hologram envelope never produced

Nov 25, 2020, 8 AM
In Philatelic Backstory in the Dec. 14 issue of Linn’s Stamp News, Joe Brockert tells the fascinating story of a United States Baseball hologram stamped envelope that never got past the planning stages in the early 1990s.

By Charles Snee

The Dec. 14 issue of Linn’s Stamp News just landed on the presses and goes in the mail to subscribers Monday, Nov. 30. And if you subscribe to Linn’s digital edition, you’re at the head of the line with early access Saturday, Nov. 28. While you wait for your issue to arrive in your mailbox, enjoy these three capsule summaries of exclusive content available only to subscribers. 

Baseball hologram envelope never produced

Joe Brockert once served as program manager for the hologram projects for Stamp Services at the United States Postal Service. In Philatelic Backstory, he draws upon this experience to tell the story of a Baseball hologram stamped envelope that never got past the planning stages in the early 1990s. Following the success of the 1989 Space Station and 1990 Football hologram envelopes, Brockert and his team were intrigued with the possibilities for a Baseball hologram envelope, including a wide audience and significant marketing opportunities. “However, as with all things that seem too easy and too good to be true, this project turned out to be no exception,” Brockert writes. He goes on to discuss a number of obstacles that stood in the way, from design changes needed to meet strict postal operations requirements to members of the Citizens’ Stamp Advisory Committee who observed “that the subject matter and design were not a natural fit for holographic treatment.” Were it not for the files Brockert kept, this story might never have been told. Be sure to read it all.

Use the power of the internet to research unusual items

In The Odd Lot, Wayne L. Youngblood uses a 1957 cover bearing a “Recovered in stolen mail at Pacoima, Cal.” handstamp to introduce readers to “a few free online tools and tricks” that can be used to harness the power of the internet when conducting philatelic research. Youngblood points out that the sender and recipient lived in two suburbs of Los Angeles — Pacoima and Van Nuys — that are about 11 miles apart. The cover, however, took about six weeks to reach the recipient in Van Nuys. “The rubber-stamped explanation tells what happened to the cover, but little else is learned from it despite that tantalizing bit of information,” Youngblood observes. He provides a useful tutorial for using a Boolean search that incorporates keywords and modifiers to narrow the search results. Did Youngblood’s research shed any light on his mysterious cover? You’ll have to read the column to find out.

Collectors’ Forum: China overprints

The intent of the Collectors’ Forum column is the publication of letters and requests for the exchange of information within the hobby. Linn’s editors give answers or partial answers when known. Readers often submit queries about stamps that they can’t identify. Such is the case for a collector in Massachusetts who writes to learn more about four stamps from China “that share a common four-character overprint.” He notes that the overprinted characters “do not vary by denomination.” Linn’s editors were able to find answers in the 2012 edition of the China Stamp Society Specialized Catalog of China to 1949. According to this catalog, the stamps are postal savings issues; they are listed in a section of the catalog titled “Non-Stamps.” Do you have a question (or two) about a stamp in your collection? Consider writing to Collectors’ Forum, Box 4129, Sidney, OH 45365, or sending an email to

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