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VERY FINE. A SOUND AND CHOICE EXAMPLE OF THE 1918 24-CENT INVERTED JENNY THAT HAS NOT APPEARED AT AUCTION SINCE 1950.
The original sheet of one hundred Inverted Jenny errors was purchased by William T. Robey on May 14, 1918, the first day the stamps went on sale in all three principal airmail route cities: Washington, D.C., New York and Philadelphia. Robey bought the sheet for its $24 face value at the New York Avenue Post Office window in the District of Columbia. On Sunday, May 19, Robey agreed to give Eugene Klein, a prominent Philadelphia stamp dealer, a one-day option to buy the sheet for $15,000. Klein exercised his option on Monday, May 20, in a late afternoon phone call, and he confirmed it with a registered letter to Robey sent in the evening mail (the letter from Klein is offered in this sale in lot 8). The sheet was delivered to Klein’s office by Robey and his father-in-law on the following day, Tuesday, May 21, 1918.
No later than Monday, May 20, the day Klein exercised his option, he had arranged to sell the sheet for $20,000 to Colonel Edward H. R. Green. Half of the $5,000 profit went to Klein’s partners, Percy McGraw Mann and Joseph A. Steinmetz. Klein was then authorized by Colonel Green to divide the sheet into singles and blocks, and to sell all but a few key position blocks. It is possible to reconstruct the Inverted Jenny sheet with photographs of the singles and blocks (see the reconstruction at https://invertedjenny.com/salerecords ).
Despite the great rarity and value of Inverted Jenny stamps, many of the original hundred have been mistreated by collectors over the years. Colonel Green himself allowed moisture to affect some of the stamps he retained. Eight straight-edge copies, which Klein returned after he was unable to sell them, were found in Colonel Green’s estate, stuck together in an envelope (they were soaked and lost their gum). Other examples have become slightly toned from improper storage and climatic conditions. Hinge removal has caused thins and creases in numerous stamps, and one was physically Scotch-taped to an exhibit page. Another was nearly lost to philately forever when it was swept up in a vacuum cleaner. Finally, with the discovery of a third stamp from the stolen McCoy block -- recognized by The Philatelic Foundation’s expert staff when it was submitted by an auction firm -- only one purloined Inverted Jenny remains at large.
The stamp offered here -- Position 28 -- was first offered in auction at the June 1940 Harmer, Rooke sale of the George R. M. Ewing collection. It next appeared at auction in a February 1947 F. W. Kessler sale, consigned by Cuban dealer Alberto Perez. It then appeared in another Harmer, Rooke sale in 1949. The Price family acquired Position 28 on November 29, 1950, when Milton Price purchased the stamp at another Harmer, Rooke sale, consigned by E. E. Kistner. Milton Price was an avid collector of U.S. stamps from the 1930s through the 50s until he unexpectedly died in 1961. His collection of 19 Elbe albums was put into a vault until 1992, when it was dispersed and sold. Don David Price, Milton’s son, retained five of the stamps, including the Inverted Jenny Position 28. These five stamps formed the core of Don’s two renowned exhibits -- the Bi-Color stamp exhibit, which was sold by the Siegel firm in March 2016, and the Jenny exhibit, which is offered in this sale.
With photocopy of 1951 P.F. certificate issued to Milton Price and 2016 P.F. certificate, which states “Genuine, Previously Hinged”.
For the complete history and detailed records of every Inverted Jenny and owners' biographies, go to http://invertedjenny.com
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