Saturday, October 12, 2013

Post Office Incites Philatelic Frenzy

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.”

For more on this story, click here.
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posted by Don Schilling at 12:00 AM