US Stamps

Stamp collectors speak their minds about the scarce upright $2 Jenny Invert pane

Aug 19, 2015, 9 AM

In an unusual development for our hobby, the Office of Inspector General of the United States Postal Service is blogging about stamp collecting.

Linn’s Washington correspondent Bill McAllister reports that the Inspector General blog, titled “Jenny Come Lately,” seeks public opinion on the recent sales of the upright $2 Jenny Invert panes.

The blog discusses the passion stamp collectors have for their hobby and the high prices paid for rare stamps.

The blog goes on to discuss “the unintended consequence of creating and improperly distributing a philatelic rarity,“ the upright $2 Jenny Invert, by the United States Postal Service, and seeks the public’s opinion about the rarity.

As of Aug. 19, the blog had generated 16 comments, with mostly negative responses. I want to share a few with you:

Bernice Fields said: “I want the USPS to stop manufacturing rarities for revenue. Philatelic rarities should be just that, an accident, not an on purpose. …”

Wayne Chen commented, “A true philatelic rarity does not happen ‘intentionally,’ but is usually known and publicized through individual’s long term collecting, constant learning, and discovering. …”

Bill T. said, “It left a bad taste in my mouth from the initial announcement. …”

“Grannybunny” was more positive than most: “Personally, I thought the upright Jenny was a great idea. I purchased panes of the stamps that I would not have otherwise bought, solely in hopes of snagging one. … I use the Jennies on the rare occasions when I have to send a Certified Mail item.”

Gregory Schreiber shared his thoughts on both the Inspector General’s blog and as a comment on McAllister’s story on “American philatelists would benefit greatly if there were actual philatelists working for the post office. Nothing is worse than being greeted at the local post office by employees who don’t even like their jobs, let alone stamps. …”

From Dennis Robertson, “I think it was a good idea, but it has been very poorly implemented.”

Linn’s Bill McAllister may have said it best in his comment on the inspector general blog:

“USPS should not be in the business of creating rarities. You [the inspector general] rightly pointed out that was a violation of USPS’s own rules. There is a simple step that could help create the new collectors that USPS needs to help sustain the hobby. That would be to once again produce stamps that are soakable. By printing stamps on paper that allows a used stamp to be soaked off envelopes, USPS would create a way for their stamps to be used twice. Once for postage and then saved by collectors. It is the way that thousands of youngsters became stamp collectors. It would reinvigorate the hobby for collectors — old and new assuring USPS of a strong and growing collector base.”

We hope that the next innovative idea from the USPS generates positive feelings among stamp collectors. As most of these comments confirm, this one failed miserably.