Inverted Jenny stamp fetches $300,000 in Chicago
A rare example of America's most famous postage stamp, the 'Inverted Jenny', has sold in Chicago for almost $300,000.
The 24 cent stamp, issued in May 1918, featured a Curtiss JN-4 airplane, used extensively by the American military during WWI and later as the first airmail carrier for the U.S Post Office.
However, a single sheet of 100 stamps was misprinted, with the plane appearing upside-down, and the error escaped unnoticed until it reached a Post Office in Washington D.C.
It was there that stamp collector William T. Robey made one of the luckiest purchases in philatelic history. He acquired the entire sheet of 100 error stamps for $24, and two days later flipped them to rare stamp dealer Eugene Klein for $15,000.
Klein quickly sold the sheet on again to the wealthy collector 'Colonel' H. R. Green for $20,000, and Green then broke up the sheet into individual stamps and small blocks.
Many were sold and scattered throughout the hobby, but each had been faintly numbered on the back, so that their position on the original sheet could be authenticated.
Seven of the stamps are believed to have been destroyed over the past 99 years, and two – numbered '49' and '79' - had no recorded history at all.
But having disappeared without a trace almost a century ago, stamp '79' was recently rediscovered amongst a family heirloom stamp collection.
Having been authenticated by the Philatelic Foundation, the stamp crossed the block at Leslie Hindman Auctioneers this week, as part of a special sale dedicated to error stamps featuring planes, trains and automobiles.
Valued at $200,000 - $300,000, the estimate proved right on the nose as the long-lost stamp eventually sold for $299,000.