US Stamps

Poll ballot envelope features Message Monsters stamp and stickers

Jan 31, 2022, 1 PM
The Message Monsters stamp on this envelope used to submit a ballot in the 2021 U.S. stamp popularity poll is decorated with three stickers taken from the selvage margins of a Message Monsters pane of 20.

By Charles Snee

Voting is well underway in the Linn’s Stamp News 2021 United States stamp popularity poll.

Each day’s mail brings a stack of envelopes containing paper ballots that readers clipped from an issue of Linn’s and filled out before mailing to Linn’s editorial office in Sidney, Ohio.

Illustrated here is one ballot envelope that immediately caught my eye. It is franked with one of the four Message Monsters stamps (Scott 5636-5639) issued Sept. 24, 2021, in Topeka, Kan., in panes of 20.

In the selvage margins surrounding the stamps are small printed hearts, hats, flowers, word balloons and thought bubbles that can be applied to the stamp when it is used to frank a card or letter for mailing.

The selvage stickers include several varieties of headgear: top hats, propeller beanies, knit toques, derbies, wizard hats, crowns, baseball caps and a pirate hat.

Word balloons can give voice to the Message Monsters, with “Hi!,” “GRR!,” and a single exclamation point making up the choices. Two thought balloons in the upper margin offer the option of sending “XOXO,” a common shorthand expression of affection.

If you look closely at the pictured cover, you can see that the sender decorated the Red-headed Monster stamp (Scott 5639) with three stickers: a red knit toque, a “Hi!” word balloon at left and a cluster of three hearts at lower right.

At left on the cover is a cachet (decorative design) featuring a fearsome anglerfish. “Great Ace Day ’21” is inscribed below the sharp-toothed fish.

In the four months since the Message Monsters stamps were issued, I have seen few postal uses, and the pictured cover is just the third featuring one or more stickers to cross my desk.

It seems that a good number of collectors did not get the message about the stickers for the Message Monsters stamps. 

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