Sale 767 — 1995 Rarities of the World
Sale Date — Monday, 5 June, 1995
Category — Air Post
A VERY FINE EXAMPLE OF THE MOST FAMOUS OF UNITED STATES STAMPS, THE INVERTED "JENNY"
According to Jenny! by George Amick (Amos Press, 1986), the original sheet of one hundred inverted "Jenny" stamps was purchased by William T. Robey on May 14, 1918. Robey bought the sheet at the New York Avenue Post Office window in Washington. Soon after, the sheet was sold to Colonel Edward H. R. Green through Eugene Klein, a Philadelphia stamp dealer. Green paid $20,000 for the sheet, then instructed Klein to divide it into singles and blocks, and to sell all but a few key position blocks.
It is well-known among stamp specialists and professionals that examples of this stamp 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. Hinging has caused thins and creases in numerous stamps, and a couple have been "lost" to philately - or very nearly so, as in the case of the copy swept up in a vacuum cleaner.
This stamp is in a remarkable state of preservation, retaining its original color and brightness of paper, as well as its full original gum with only a trace of previous hinging. Ex Col. Green and Charles A. Schafer collections. Small Sanabria handstamp on back. With 1979 P.F. certificate
POSTED ONE YEAR, TO THE DAY, AFTER EARHART DEPARTED ON HER ILL-FATED ROUND-THE-WORLD FLIGHT. THIS AUTOGRAPHED COVER - PREPARED FOR THE 1937 FLIGHT - WAS MAILED IN MEMORIAL TO THE GREAT AVIATRIX.
Prior to the discovery of this cover, only one autographed envelope was known to have been spared from destruction when Earhart disappeared after taking off from New Guinea on the final two legs of the round-the-world journey. The other cover was postmarked in Oakland on Mar. 17, 1937, the date of Earhart's first attempt, which was aborted when her plane crashed in Honolulu. It was supposed to have gone with the bag of mail on May 21 when she daparted Oakland on her second attempt. However, Elmer H. Dimity, a friend and business promoter, took one of the postmarked souvenir covers out of the mail bag and intended to use it in a practical joke when Earhart finally landed - his plan was to meet her on arrival, wave the envelope and exclaim that the mail had arrived before she did. When she disappeared, Dimity retained the unique memento.
This cover, mailed on May 21, 1938, and backstamped with the National Air Mail Week (May 15-21, 1938) cachet, must have been held out of the original mail bags. It was sent to George Palmer Putnam, Earhart's husband, but we do not know who mailed this memorial souvenir. Earhart disappeared after taking off on July 2, 1937, and for a long time rumors circulated that she might have survived. This cover, bearing her portrait and signature not quite eleven months after her disappearance, must have struck an emotional chord in George Putnam when it arrived in the mail.
Offered to the philatelic market for the first time. The 1937 signed souvenir cover realized $23,100 in 1991