Finest-graded Inverted Jenny sets record during Siegel's second day of WSS-NY sales

Jul 1, 2016, 11 AM

By Matthew Healey, New York Correspondent

They came, they saw, they raised their paddles.

For the tens of thousands of visitors attending World Stamp Show-NY 2016, a remarkable string of auctions by five different firms over six days brought excitement and opportunity during late May and early June.

Robert A. Siegel Auction Galleries kicked off the action on Sunday, May 29, with a pair of big-name sales: the William H. Gross collection of Hawaii, and the second part of the Steven Walske collection of trans-Atlantic mail between the United States and France.

Christoph Gaertner, of Germany, picked up the gavel on Monday, May 30, with a day-long session devoted to worldwide rarities that included an impressive selection of U.S. and Confederate postmasters’ provisionals.

Siegel resumed on Tuesday, May 31, with a record-breaking sale of the highest-graded example of the iconic American airmail rarity, the Inverted Jenny, followed by other U.S. rarities.

Wednesday, June 1, saw Schuyler Rumsey celebrate his firm’s 20th anniversary with a sale of U.S. and worldwide rarities, including U.S. Official issues collected by Robert L. Markovits, while Thursday saw the Daniel F. Kelleher firm’s offering of the Alfred J. Capurro collection of worldwide, mostly mint stamps.

H.R. Harmer, a member of the Global Philatelic Network, wrapped things up on Friday, June 3, with the award-winning Erivan Haub collection of U.S. and Confederate postmasters’ provisionals, among many other items.

Linn's Stamp News is breaking them all down in a multi-part U.S. Auction Roundup series:

Robert A. Siegel, Part I, May 29 | Christoph Gaertner, May 30 | Schuyler Rumsey, June 1 | H.R. Harmer, July 3

Siegel opened its second day of sales at the international show with the finest-graded example of the Inverted Jenny, the famous 24¢ airmail error of 1918 with a Curtiss JN-4 biplane, nicknamed a Jenny, misprinted upside-down. The sale was described in detail in Linn’s issue of June 27.

Just one sheet of 100 of the error stamps ever reached the public, and many are off-center or faulty in some way. Not so this example.

Coming from position 58 in the original sheet, it was graded extra fine-superb by Professional Stamp Experts. When last sold in 2005, this splendid example fetched $577,500. This time, in front of an overflow crowd of showgoers, it smashed all records to go for $1,351,250, including Siegel’s 15 percent buyer’s premium.

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The excitement scarcely cooled down for the rest of the afternoon. 

Early, experimental coil stamps did extremely well: A used, imperforate strip of three 4¢ Grant stamps from the issue of 1902 (Scott 314A), with privately applied Schermack type III oblong perforations, stood out as a highlight. 

Only two strips of three of this stamp are known, and the other one is on cover. Appearing on the market for the first time in 35 years, the strip in the Siegel sale sold for $322,000.

A 1¢ Franklin vertical coil pair with government-applied horizontal perforations (Scott 316), one of just a dozen known, brought $333,500.

After you finish the U.S. Auction Roundup, check out our International Auction Roundup: 

Christoph Gaertner’s WSS-NY 2016 auction totals $5.74 million

‘Possibly the rarest classic imperforate stamp of British North America’ highlights Schuyler Rumsey WSS-NY 2016 sale

Kelleher’s WSS-NY 2016 sale topped by high-denomination World War I-era overprint

H.R. Harmer sells first piece of mail from the first German expedition to Antarctica