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EXTREMELY FINE GEM. THIS MAGNIFICENT MINT NEVER-HINGED EXAMPLE OF THE 24-CENT INVERTED JENNY FROM POSITION 49 WAS RECENTLY REDISCOVERED. IT IS OFFERED TO THE MARKET FOR THE FIRST TIME SINCE THE SHEET OF 100 WAS BROKEN 100 YEARS AGO. IN OUR OPINION THIS IS THE FINEST EXAMPLE IN EXISTENCE, BY VIRTUE OF ITS PRISTINE GUM AND PHENOMENAL CENTERING. IT IS GRADED MINT N.H. XF-90 BY THE PHILATELIC FOUNDATION.
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 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.
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 that Klein was unable to sell and returned to Colonel Green were found in 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.
The stamp offered here -- Position 49 -- was purchased by a relative of the current consignor shortly after the sheet was broken in 1918. It was kept in a safety deposit box and passed down through descendants to the current owner, who has decided to release it back onto the market. This stamp was unknown to scholars until recently.
Ex Colonel Edward H. R. Green. Pencil "49" position number (written by Eugene Klein on all 100 positions) on back. With 2018 P.F. certificate (Mint N.H., XF 90)
View the special catalogue for Inverted Jenny Position 49: https://siegelauctions.com/2018/1192/1192A.pdf
For the complete history and detailed records of every Inverted Jenny and owners’ biographies, go to https://invertedjenny.com