NewburyportNews.com, Newburyport, MA

Opinion

October 15, 2013

A special printing for stamp collectors

To the editor:

Did you know that October is National Stamp Collecting Month? There is no other stamp that could help you build a better collection than the newly reprinted rarest U.S. Stamp — the Inverted Jenny.

In 1918 the government began its first regular airmail service and to mark the occasion the Postal Service issued a special 24-cent stamp featuring the biplane used to carry the mail, a Curtiss JN-4H, also known as the “Jenny.” The plane was pictured in blue, with a red frame showing the 24-cent denomination. When the stamps were printed, some of them showed the plane upside down. Collector William Robey knew this and was on the lookout for stamps with printing errors when he went to a Post Office in Washington, D.C. To his amazement, he was able to purchase a 100-stamp sheet of Jenny stamps that showed the biplane upside down.

As Robey later recalled, “The clerk reached down under the counter and brought forth a full sheet and my heart stood still.” It turns out he now owned the only sheet of misprinted stamps to fall into public hands. Days later, he sold it to a Philadelphia stamp dealer. The stamps were eventually broken into blocks and singles and a legend was born.

For almost a century, stamp collectors have chased these “Inverted Jennys.” This past month, the Postal Service gave everyone an opportunity to own one by issuing a souvenir sheet of six Inverted Jenny stamps. They’re being reprinted with a $2 denomination to easily distinguish them from the 24-cent originals and are now on sale.

And to add to the excitement, we just announced that 100 sheets of misprints were also included in the Inverted Jenny circulation. Only this time the plane is flying right-side up. Come on down to the Newburyport Post Office to purchase a souvenir sheet today. Who knows, you may be the one to go home with a right-side up Jenny.

Hope to see you soon!

Paul Bolas

Postmaster of the Newburyport Post Office

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