US Stamps

By Jay Bigalke

Sold out Inverted Jenny collector's set: 1,900 were created

December 27, 2013 08:06 AM

  • Figure 1. The Inverted Jenny collector’s set box cover.

  • Figure 1. The Inverted Jenny collector’s set book cover.

  • Figure 2. Certificate of authenticity with each set individually numbered up to 1,900.

  • Figure 3. A souvenir sheet of the $2 Inverted Jenny stamp (Scott 4806).

  • Figure 3. A souvenir sheet of the $2 Inverted Jenny stamp (Scott 4806) postmarked with a first-day cancel.

  • Figure 4. Prooflike production item for the Inverted Jenny stamp issue that was included in the collector’s set.

  • Figure 4. Prooflike production item for the Inverted Jenny stamp issue that was included in the collector’s set.

  • Figure 4. Prooflike production item for the Inverted Jenny stamp issue that was included in the collector’s set.

  • Figure 4. Prooflike production item for the Inverted Jenny stamp issue that was included in the collector’s set.

  • Figure 5. A “die wipe” section used during the Inverted Jenny print run to remove excess ink from the printing plate.

The United States Postal Service planned to create 5,000 Inverted Jenny collector’s sets if demand warranted. However, only 1,900 examples of the $200 set were ultimately sold. The sets were first announced by U.S. Postal Service officials in August 2013, with a two-month sales window from Aug. 9 through Oct. 15.

The sets were manufactured after the ordering period ended, to meet the number sold. Customers received the sets in mid-December.

“We produced 1,900 of the Stamp Collecting: Inverted Jenny Collector sets with minimum quantity set aside for the PMG collection, and claims/exchanges. The certificate that is included in the set will say (i.e. 1 of 1900),” stated Susan McGowan, USPS stamp services and corporate licensing director, in a Dec. 20, 2013, letter.

This response was received via a Freedom of Information Act request filed by Linn’s in November after multiple requests to reveal the number of sets sold were declined.

On Oct. 24, USPS spokesman Mark Saunders told Linn’s “We are not going to disclose the $200 Jenny product sales number out of concerns for influencing product market value.”

The $200 set is housed in a cardboard box with an inside liner showing an image of the original 24¢ Inverted Jenny airmail stamp. A 48-page book is also included. The covers for the box and the book are shown in Figure 1.

The certificate of authenticity for the set is pictured in Figure 2. The souvenir sheet of six stamps and a first-day postmarked souvenir sheet included in the set are shown in Figure 3.

Four small panes resembling printer’s proofs were also included. Shown here in Figure 4, they consist of panes with a printed pale yellow background and intaglio red stamp frame; a pale yellow background with the intaglio blue inverted Jenny airplane vignette; a pale yellow background with both the red frame and the blue vignette; and a printed souvenir sheet selvage with the printed pale yellow background for the stamps in the center.

These prooflike items are on ungummed face paper, the same paper used to print the stamps, but without the self-adhesive layer.

Faint impressions of unprinted intaglio elements can be seen in the paper.

Additionally, a “die wipe” from the production run was included (Figure 5). The Postal Service described this item: “In the intaglio process, ink is forced into recessed (engraved or etched) areas of the plate, and excess ink that remains on the surface of the plate is wiped off prior to making the final impression (the die wipe).”

Stamp mounts were included with the set for collectors to store the souvenir sheets and prooflike items. There are no specific places in the book for the items to be mounted, but there are blank spaces where one could mount them if they chose to.

Contradicting earlier statements made by U.S. Postal Service officials during a meeting with journalists in August, Saunders stated in late August that “The imperforate proofs will not be honored as live postage.”

The Scott catalog editors have footnoted the prooflike items in the listing for the $2 Inverted Jenny stamp (Scott 4806), but did not assign values.