Wednesday, September 5, 2012

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?

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