Rarest Stamp Error in U.S. History Reprinted

$2 Upside-Down Jenny Reprint Celebrates Opening of World’s Largest Stamp Gallery

September 19, 2013 

Release No. 13-073 

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Rarest Stamp Error in U.S. History Reprinted

A high-resolution image of the stamp is available for media use only by emailing mark.r.saunders@usps.gov.

WASHINGTON — Two eerie occurrences took place surrounding the nation’s first airmail flight. The pilot got lost, flew in the wrong direction and crashed. And due to a printing error of the stamp created to commemorate this historic event, the biplane depicted on the 24-cent Curtiss Jenny airmail stamp was upside down. A sheet of 100 stamps bearing this error was sold to the public.

The “Inverted Jenny” stamp sheet, issued the day prior to the flight, has become the most publicized stamp error in U.S. history. One stamp sold at auction in 2007 for $977,500.

The Inverted Jenny flies again and will get its stamp of approval at 1 p.m., Sun., Sept. 22 at the Smithsonian’s National Postal Museum when Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe dedicates the Stamp Collecting: Inverted Jenny $2 stamp. The event is free and open to the public.

Visit this link at the National Postal Museum to see examples of Postal Service innovations.

To make them easily distinguishable from the 24-cent originals, the six $2 Inverted Jennys on this sheet commemorate the many ways a single stamp can turn a moment in history upside down. The stamp sheet coincides with the grand opening of the Smithsonian’s National Postal Museum William H. Gross Stamp Gallery — to house the world’s largest stamp collection. The museum is across the street from Union Station at 3 Mass. Ave., N.W. in Washington, DC.

The stamp will be available for purchase nationwide on Sept. 22. Customers may pre-order the stamps now at usps.com/stamps, at 800-STAMP-24 (800-782-6724) for delivery by mail early next week.

Rarest Stamp Error in U.S. History Reprinted
The Backstory
In 1918, in a rush to celebrate the first airmail flight, the Post Office department issued the 24-cent Curtiss Jenny stamp. Because the design required two colors, sheets were placed on the printing press twice — first to apply red ink and a second time to apply blue ink. This process was given to human error — as stamp collectors at the time well knew.

A Washington, DC, Post Office clerk — who had never seen an airplane — sold a sheet of 100 stamps mistakenly showing the biplane upside down. For nearly a century, stamp collectors have chased the Inverted Jennys and have accounted for nearly all 100 of them.

Customers may view the Stamp Collecting: Inverted Jenny Forever stamps, as well as many of this year’s other stamps, on Facebook at facebook.com/USPSStamps, on Twitter@USPSstamps or on the website Beyond the Perf at beyondtheperf.com/2013-preview. Beyond the Perf is the Postal Service’s online site for information on upcoming stamp subjects, first-day-of-issue events and other philatelic news.

Ordering First-Day-of-Issue Postmarks
Customers have 60 days to obtain the first-day-of-issue postmark by mail. They may purchase new stamps at their local Post Office, at usps.com/stampsor by calling 800-STAMP-24. They should affix the stamps to envelopes of their choice, address the envelopes to themselves or others and place them in a larger envelope addressed to:

Stamp Collecting: Inverted Jenny Stamp
Special Cancellations
P.O. Box 92282
Washington, DC 20090-2282

After applying the first-day-of-issue postmark, the Postal Service will return the envelopes through the mail. There is no charge for the postmark up to a quantity of 50. For more than 50, there is a five-cent charge per postmark. All orders must be postmarked by Nov. 22, 2013.

Ordering First-Day Covers
The Postal Service also offers first-day covers for new stamp issues and Postal Service stationery items postmarked with the official first-day-of-issue cancellation. Each item has an individual catalog number and is offered in the quarterly USA Philatelic catalog, online at usps.com/shop or by calling 800-782-6724. Customers may request a free catalog by calling 800-782-6724 or writing to:

U.S. Postal Service
Catalog Request
PO Box 219014
Kansas City, MO 64121-9014

Philatelic Products
Nine philatelic products are available:

Rarest Stamp Error in U.S. History Reprinted
580006, Press Sheet with Die Cuts, $72 (print quantity of 2,500).
580008, Press Sheet without Die Cuts, $72 (print quantity of 3,000).
Rarest Stamp Error in U.S. History Reprinted
580010, Keepsake (Souvenir Sheet & Digital Color Postmark Set), $15.95.
Rarest Stamp Error in U.S. History Reprinted
580016, First-Day Cover, $2.44.
Rarest Stamp Error in U.S. History Reprinted
580018, First-Day Cover (Full Sheet), $14.50.
Rarest Stamp Error in U.S. History Reprinted
580019, First-Day Cancelled (Full Sheet), $14.50.
Rarest Stamp Error in U.S. History Reprinted
580021, Digital Color Postmark, $3.15.
Rarest Stamp Error in U.S. History Reprinted
580030, Ceremony Program, $6.95.
Rarest Stamp Error in U.S. History Reprinted

580027, Limited Edition, $200 (Limited to 10 per customer. Merging past with present, the limited-quantity Inverted Jenny Collector’s Edition (Item 580027 pictured above) pays tribute to the beloved stamp, taking collectors up close to the intaglio printing process behind the 2013 Stamp Collecting: Inverted Jenny stamps.

The set includes: a series of collectible proofs pulled during the time of the 2013 production, showing each intaglio color in isolation; an authentic section of the die wipe used during the press run; one mint and one cancelled sheet of Stamp Collecting: Inverted Jenny Forever stamps; a 48-page booklet that reveals the story of the stamp, from how the initial error leaked, to why the Postal Service is issuing the new version; and a protective box that bears an ornamental seal showing the stamp name and biplane in hand-drawn lettering.

Up to 5,000 will be sold. Preorders will be accepted through Oct. 15, 2013, while supplies last, via usps.com/shop or 1 800 STAMP-24 with fulfillment in December.

The Postal Service receives no tax dollars for operating expenses and relies on the sale of postage, products and services to fund its operations.

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