Reporter Matthew Healey writes in the New York Times
, "In an effort to rekindle the public’s excitement over stamp collecting
and interest a new generation in the hobby, the United States Postal
Service has created an instant stamp rarity — a twist on one of the
world’s most famous and valuable stamps."
Healey reports, "The campaign involves the post office’s recent reprint of the classic
95-year-old stamp error known to collectors as the Inverted Jenny, which
shows a Curtiss JN-4 biplane, or a 'Jenny,' printed upside down."
A sheet of 100 of the airmail stamps
somehow got mixed into the normal post office stock and was purchased in 1918 by William T. Robey. Robey later sold it to a stamp dealer and "purchased a house with the proceeds," according to Healey.
Today the stamps are one of the world's most famous philatelic mistakes and has become known as the "Inverted Jenny." Today they sell for close to a million dollars a piece.
The reprints,however, sell for $2 each and are being issued in a miniature sheet of six as shown above.
Healey points out that, "100 of the new sheets actually show the airplane flying upright. Each
sheet is individually wrapped, so no one can see the stamps before they
are bought. A note is included with the right-side-up rarities, alerting
buyers to their true nature. Lucky finders can obtain a certificate
signed by the postmaster general."
Postmaster General Patrick R. Donahoe is quoted in the piece as saying, "The last time we had a stamp issue everybody got excited about was the Elvis stamp, 20 years ago,” Donahoe said.
Healey goes on to say, "One of the first right-side-up rarities was found by a Canadian
collector, Glenn Watson of Newmarket, Ontario. According to the Postal
Service, Mr. Watson, a longtime collector of United States and Canadian
stamps, had ordered the sheet from the postal store on eBay. He called
his discovery a “total surprise.”
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