Sale 1075 — 2014 Rarities of the World
Sale Date — Thursday, 26 June, 2014
Category — Inverted Jenny (C3a) and Upright Jenny Souvenir Sheet
VERY FINE CENTERING AND WONDERFULLY FRESH EXAMPLE OF THE FAMOUS 1918 24-CENT INVERTED JENNY.
According to Jenny! by George Amick (Amos Press, 1986), the original sheet of 100 inverted "Jenny" stamps was purchased by William T. Robey on May 14, 1918, one day after the stamp was placed on sale. Robey bought the sheet at the New York Avenue Post Office window in Washington, D.C. Soon after, the sheet was sold to Col. 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.
Stamp specialists and professionals know that examples of this stamp exist in different grades of freshness and condition. Despite their rarity and value, many of the original 100 stamps were mistreated by collectors during the years. 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 at least seven have been "lost" to philately -- or nearly so as in the case of the copy swept up in a vacuum cleaner.
The stamp offered here is beautifully centered and remarkably fresh. Earlier in its history this stamp was described as having a "tiny gum thin", and the Philatelic Foundation issued certificate 55645 in the 1970's describing a "small thin spot". Even in fluid, the stamp shows no evidence of a thin, and it is possible that the earlier P.F. opinion was influenced by the presence of a hinge remnant, which has since been removed. In 1999 Professional Stamp Experts certified it as sound. It is offered here on the basis of our full disclosure of its history and may not be returned if the Philatelic Foundation reaffirms the presence of a thin spot.
P.S.E. encapsulated (OGph, F-VF 75; SMQ $385,000.00)
EXTREMELY FINE. THIS IS THE FIRST NON-INVERTED JENNY SHEET TO APPEAR AT AUCTION. ONLY 100 WERE DISTRIBUTED TO RANDOM POST OFFICES AROUND THE COUNTRY, AND ONLY EIGHTEEN HAVE BEEN DISCOVERED. A PHENOMENAL MODERN RARITY DISCOVERED BY DAVID AND GAIL ROBINSON OF RICHMOND, VIRGINIA.
According to the U.S. Postal Service's website (http://about.usps.com/postal-bulletin/2013/pb22371/html/info_003.htm ) and other sources, the $2.00 Inverted Jenny souvenir sheet went on sale nationwide September 22, 2013, and a ceremony was held on that day at the National Postal Museum. The souvenir sheet was printed using the intaglio printing process and plates made from the original dies used to produce the 1918 24c Air Post stamp (Scott C3). The denomination was changed to make it easily distinguishable from the original. The souvenir sheet background depicts the original airmail route, the National Postal Museum, and aviation pioneer Reuben H. Fleet.
A special automatic distribution was done to all post offices. Pre-orders and re-orders through stamp distribution offices or centers were not allowed once original automatic distribution quantities were sold. A total of 13,200,600 stamps were printed, which translates into 2,200,100 souvenir sheets of six. They were printed six souvenir sheets at a time, and their position on the plate is noted on back of each. The sheets were sold individually wrapped in cellophane, which collectors questioned at the time of issue.
The reason for the odd quantity and cellophane wrapping was revealed shortly after the release of the souvenir sheets, when an upright example was discovered by a collector in Ontario, Canada. The USPS then revealed that 100 had been created and randomly seeded throughout their distribution system. The cellophane wrappers were used to prevent searching through stocks for the upright designs -- souvenir sheets with opened cellophane were not returnable.
The souvenir sheet offered here was discovered by David and Gail Robinson in Virginia. An account of their discovery follows.