VERY FINE. A REMARKABLY FRESH AND CHOICE EXAMPLE OF THE FAMOUS 1918 24-CENT INVERTED "JENNY." THIS STAMP HAS BEEN IN THE POSSESSION OF THE FRELINGHUYSEN FAMILY FOR MOST OF ITS EXISTENCE.
According to Jenny by George Amick (Amos Press, 1986), the original sheet of 100 Inverted "Jenny" stamps was purchased for $24 by William T. Robey at the New York Avenue Branch Post Office window in Washington D.C., on May 14, 1918, one day after the stamp was first placed on sale at the main post office. On May 20, Robey sold his sheet for $15,000 to Eugene Klein, a Philadelphia stamp dealer. Klein had already arranged to sell the sheet to Col. Edward H. R. Green for $20,000. Colonel Green instructed Klein to divide the Inverted "Jenny" sheet into singles and blocks, and to sell all but a few key position blocks.
This stamp, Position 74, was owned by former U.S. Senator Joseph S. Frelinghuysen (1869-1948), a second cousin of Peter H. B. Frelinghuysen Jr. Senator Joseph Frelinghuysen sold the stamp at auction through George B. Sloane on December 14, 1932, and the successful bid of $2,750 was made by a "Mrs. F" of Morristown N.J., the mother of Peter H. B. Frelinghuysen Jr. At the time of the Sloane sale the stamp was still Mint N.H., and the price paid was a record.
The Inverted "Jenny" was the centerpiece of 18-year old Peter H. B. Frelinghuysen Jr.'s exhibit of worldwide air post stamps at the February 1934 National Stamp Exhibition held at Rockefeller center in New York City. The teenage philatelist won a gold medal, and Stamps magazine remarked, "All the great rarities were included." This stamp has remained with the Frelinghuysen family until now, and it is offered to the market for the first time since 1932. Among the known Inverted "Jenny" examples, this stamp has the longest continuous ownership. It is well-known among stamp specialists and professionals that examples of the Inverted "Jenny" come in different grades of freshness and condition. Many of the original 100 stamps were mistreated by collectors during the years, despite the stamps' rarity and value. Colonel Green himself allowed moisture to affect some of the stamps he retained. Other examples have become slightly toned from improper storage and climatic conditions. Hinge removal has caused thins and creases in numerous stamps, and at least seven have been "lost" to philately -- or nearly so, as in the case of the copy swept up in a vacuum cleaner. This example is notable for its pristine state of preservation, fresh colors and barely-hinged gum.