US Stamps

The missing Jennies mystery

Oct 29, 2014, 11 AM

United States — The greatest mystery in modern U.S. stamp collecting is the case of the missing intentionally created upright variety of the $2 Jenny Invert pane.

After the U.S. Postal Service issued the Jenny Invert pane of six $2 stamps Sept. 22, 2013 (Scott 4806), it revealed that 100 of the panes show the airplane flying right side up.

As of this writing, only 19 of the 100 upright Jenny Invert panes have been reported to Linn’s. Some of those have sold for more than $50,000

Twice previously, I have advised collectors (in the Nov. 25, 2013, and March 31, 2014, Stamp Market Tips) to buy the Jenny Invert panes of six at face value from their local post office or through USPS Stamp Fulfillment Services in Kansas City.

These panes are still in stock in many local post offices, as well as Stamp Fulfillment Services, at their $12 face value.

Some upright Jenny Invert panes undoubtedly remain undiscovered among unopened shrink-wrapped packages of panes already in collectors’ hands, but most of them are still out there waiting for someone to make that lucky find.

The assumption was that all 100 upright Jenny Invert stamp panes would find their way into collectors’ hands.

But the Jenny Invert panes have been slow to sell out. Sooner or later, the Postal Service will withdraw the unsold panes, potentially making those upright varieties in collectors’ hands much scarcer than the 100 that were produced.

Linn’s has estimated the odds of purchasing one of the 100 panes printed with the intentional variety to be 1 in 19,000.

It’s just a $12 lottery ticket that you can use for postage or resell if you don’t win. So no matter what you collect, you should buy some of these. Think how you’ll feel if you do get lucky and find one.

Tip of the week

China — Volatility continues to rule the Chinese stamp market. Market prices for People’s Republic of China stamps are all over the place, with some stamps selling for considerably less than the 2015 Scott Standard Postage Stamp Catalogue value, while others are selling for a good deal more than full catalog value.

On March 10, 1956, the People’s Republic of China issued a three-stamp set commemorating completion of the Sikang-Tibet and Chinghai-Tibet highways (Scott 287-289). The Scott standard catalog values a set in mint condition without gum (as issued) at just $7.20.


Demand for this set is strong and prices are rising. If you find it offered at catalog value, it would be a great buy.

A Linn’s editor did not find this week’s recommended stamp on