Unique Misprinted Stamps Sell for $2,970,000 in New York Auction
NEW YORK, Oct. 19 /PRNewswire/ -- Siegel Auction Galleries, one of the nation's oldest and most well-regarded specialty auction galleries in the country, sold a unique plate block of the 24-cent 1918 "Inverted Jenny" stamp for $2,970,000 at an auction held tonight in New York City. The purchase price includes the 10% buyer's commission.
Only one block of four "Inverted Jenny" stamps exists with the four-digit plate number appearing in the attached margin. The plate block is the most highly-prized part of the original sheet of 100 "Inverted Jenny" stamps sold to William T. Robey at a Washington D.C. post office on May 14, 1918.
The 24-cent stamps were first issued on May 13, 1918, for use on the first U.S. airmail flight two days later. Thousands of sheets were printed in red and blue, but only one sheet of 100 with the Curtiss JN4-H bi-plane flying upside down was sold. Eight others were discovered by postal officials and destroyed.
Robey, a stamp collector, paid $24 for the misprinted sheet and sold it a week later for $15,000. News of the error spread like wildfire and embarrassed postal officials, who were already facing skepticism over the experimental airmail program. One dubious congressman suggested that the U.S. Army captain responsible for the whole idea be "thrown into the federal penitentiary, and the key thrown away." The sight of a plane flying upside down on the first airmail stamp was a public relations disaster.
Robey's sheet was immediately broken up, and a large number of single stamps were sold to collectors. Over the years, prices for the coveted Inverted "Jenny" have escalated to as much as $577,500 for a single copy.
The price paid for the unique plate block of four is a new auction record for a U.S. stamp. The second highest price is $935,000, which was paid for a 1-cent Z Grill stamp in 1998.
The buyer was Charles Shreve of Shreves Philatelic Galleries, who bid on behalf of a private collector residing in the United States.
"The Inverted Jenny is one of the best-known stamps in the world, and the record sale of the plate block for $2,970,000 is a measure of its unique charm." said Scott R. Trepel, president of Siegel Auction Galleries.
For more information, please visit: http://www.siegelauctions.com
About Siegel Auctions
Robert A. Siegel Auction Galleries has been running continuous stamp auctions since 1930. The firm has sold many great-name collections, including Lilly, Newbury, Matthies, Grunin, Rohloff, Cole, Kapiloff, Honolulu Advertiser, Morris, Rose, Finkelburg and Zoellner.
SOURCE Siegel Auction Galleries
10/19/2005 16:58 ET