Inverted Jenny Flies Again

Jenny Flies Again

One of the most famous stamps ever to be printed by the Postal Service has finally made a comeback.

Originally issued in 1918, the Curtis Jenny stamp commemorated the first airmail flight on May 15 of that year. The image of a Curtiss JN-4 “Jenny” bi-plane, however, was unintentionally printed upside down in the initial printing. Eight of the misprinted sheets were identified and destroyed, but one sheet of 100 stamps was inadvertently sold to a collector.

The Inverted Jenny was re-issued last week, although in a larger denomination of $2. Unlike the original misprint, this version of the stamp will intentionally feature the Jenny bi-plane in its unique inverted position.

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It Pays to be Upside Down

Standing on our heads isn’t something that’s usually seen as a way to make money. For this one particular stamp release in 1918, however, being upside down eventually became a million dollar sensation.

The popular Airmail Stamp, released on May 13, 1918, had a flaw with its first production run. The image of a Curtiss JN-4 “Jenny” bi-plane was inadvertently printed upside down. The stamp release was supposed to commemorate the first airmail flight on May 15, but the printing flaw forced the destruction of the first eight sheets of stamps, each containing 100 of the 24 cent mistakes.

The Postal Service didn’t catch all of the misprints, however, as nine of the sheets were produced prior to the discovery. One sheet of stamps, sold to William Robey, leaked out before the flaw was discovered. He sold the sheet to a collector soon after his purchase and the special release began circulating through history.

Today, a single inverted Jenny is worth an estimated $1 million.

What special stamps have you come across in your travels?

  • Hello, I'm Benny the Blogger: I'm the world's most famous postal employee. My hobbies are snappy quotes, kite flying and publishing. I was born Jan. 17, 1706, but don't call me old.

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