'Inverted Jenny' Stamp Fetches $2 Million USD at Auction

Folks, hold on to those stamps, they may be worth a massive sum one day. Case in point: a rare “Inverted Jenny” postal stamp, one of the rarest in the world, has just sold for $2m USD via Robert A. Siegel Auction Galleries in New York.

The stamp was originally printed in 1918 to commemorate the first regularly scheduled airmail route in the U.S., but the Bureau of Engraving and Printing misprinted the artwork — which depicted the Curtiss JN Jenny plane in the center, upside down. All but just one sheet of 100 stamps were destroyed, sparking a mythic interest for collectors around the world.

“This is a historic moment for the hobby,” Siegel president, Scott Trepel, said in an interview with ARTnews. “The Inverted Jenny we sold today is the best example of the 100 stamps from the sheet. We have tracked each of the stamps and are certain no other example compares to this one. For the collector, it simply doesn’t get better than this and the sale price of over $2m USD reflects that fact.” More than just a niche reference for stamp collectors, The Simpsons even subtly featured “Inverted Jenny” in the first episode of season five, where Homer is rummaging through a box of discarded items.

Charles Hack, 76, purchased the stamp for a colossal sum to fulfill a lasting interest he’s had since childhood. “It’s the very best item of the most well-known American icon in philately,” Hack told The Washington Post, “and it’s a bit of American history.”

This isn’t the first time he’s bought an “Inverted Jenny” either. In 2007, Hack, who built his fortune through investing and real estate, spent roughly $1m USD on “Position 57” of the sheet of 100. However, the latest one to hit auction, “Position 49”, is considered the holy grail of the batch, receiving the rank of 95, or mint condition in other words, by Siegel.

Across the pond, Henry Taylor is showcasing his first major exhibition in France.
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