24¢ Carmine Rose & Blue, 1918 Air Post (C3), affixed upside down and tied by “Air Mail Service Wash. N.Y. Phila. Phila. May 24 12 M 1918” duplex datestamp on cover with red Chelten Electric Co. return address and addressed to Colonel Edward H. R. Green in New York City, receiving backstamp of the same day, addressed in the handwriting of noted stamp dealer Philip H. Ward, Jr.
News that Colonel Green purchased the sheet of 100 Inverted Jenny stamps for $20,000 was reported on May 21, the same day William T. Robey and his father-in-law delivered the sheet to Eugene Klein and collected their $15,000 certified check (see page 28 of the printed catalogue for clipping from The New York Times).
This airmail cover was addressed and stamped by Ward, using one of the 24¢ stamps issued for the new government airmail service. Ward, one of the leading stamp dealers of the era, undoubtedly affixed the stamp upside down in a deliberate expression of humor and congratulations to Colonel Green. Ward also wrote the service directive “Via Air Plane” and mistakenly used “E. H. S.” for Green’s initials (they were E.H.R. for Edward Howland Robinson).
Of the flight covers prepared by Ward, this is the first we have seen with the stamp upside down.
VERY FINE. AN EXTREMELY RARE MAY 14, 1918, 24-CENT "JENNY" FIRST DAY OF SALE COVER FROM PHILADELPHIA THAT WAS FLOWN THE FOLLOWING DAY ON THE FIRST FLIGHT TO WASHINGTON, D.C. THIS IS THE EARLIEST GENUINE USE OF THE FIRST STAMP ISSUED FOR THE WORLD'S FIRST REGULAR GOVERNMENT AIRMAIL SERVICE.
To summarize, a supply of 24c stamps was reported received at the main post office in Washington D.C. in the afternoon of May 13, 1918, but there is no evidence that any were sold. Despite this, the May 13 date was widely reported and the lack of any covers from that day was remedied by forgers who produced faked covers dated May 13. Specialists in the 1918 Air Post Issues, including Joe Kirker and Ken Lawrence, have opined that none of the three recorded covers postmarked May 13 are genuine. We concur and believe that the earliest genuine covers are those postmarked on May 14, 1918 -- the day the stamps went on sale in New York, Philadelphia and all post offices in Washington, D.C. In our opinion, the Scott listing of May 13 as the first day of sale, which is questioned by the editors in a footnote, should be changed to May 14.
In his book United States Airmail Stamps 1918: History and Analysis of First Day of Sale Postal Use, Joe Kirker lists six covers with the May 14 date. One was mailed from Washington, D.C., two from New York and three from Philadelphia. One of the other Philadelphia covers was sent by surface mail and was not carried on the inaugural flight.
Benjamin B. Lipsner was not made superintendent until August 1918. Some of the covers flown on the May 1918 first trips were signed by him at a later date, and he used the official title.
Ex Silver and Berkun. Illustrated in Kirker book on page 45. Illustrated in Feb. 2015 United States Specialist article by Ken Lawrence. With 2007 P.F. certificate