Monday Morning Brief | $2 Jenny Invert update

Jul 3, 2017, 4 AM

With post office inventories of the $2 Jenny Invert stamp dwindling, Linn’s Stamp News associate editor Michael Baadke recaps the continuing history of the 2013 stamp and the rare upright variety intentionally created by the Postal Service.

Full Video Transcript:

This is your Monday Morning Brief for July 3, 2017.

The story of the $2 Jenny Invert stamp seems to be slowly reaching some sort of conclusion.

The $2 stamp was issued nearly four years ago on Sept. 22, 2013, in a pane of six.

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The stamp paid tribute to a famous production error that was found back in 1918 — a 24¢ airmail stamp accidentally printed with the blue airplane in the middle flying upside down. Known as the Jenny Invert because of the Curtiss Jenny airplane that it shows, it became the most famous United States stamp of all time. To add one of these original errors to your collection today, you’d probably have to pay a few hundred thousand dollars.

The U.S. Postal Service issued a few million of the $2 stamps in 2013, copying the upside-down design of the error, but these stamps are still worth about $2 each.

But to make things interesting, the Postal Service also intentionally printed 100 panes of the stamps with the plane printed right side up. And because there are only 100 of these upright Jenny panes out there, those stamp panes turned into big-time rarities worth tens of thousands of dollars.

All of the stamps they are selling at the post office are sealed inside these envelopes with cardboard fillers, so until you opened them up you couldn’t tell if you were getting the common $2 stamp, or the rare variety with the plane flying upright.

If you found the rare variety, your filler card had a phone number printed on it, and a message from the Postal Service asking you to give them a call and report your find. So far, 32 people have done so. However, if you have the rare pane, you didn’t really have to call the Postal Service. You already had the rare stamps in your hands.

The most recent report of a find came from a collector who said he was sold one of the rare upright panes in a post office in New York in early April.

Most of the panes of the $2 stamp have been sold at this point — most of them, but not all — so it could be that more of the rare variety were found but never reported to the Postal Service.

A few U.S. post offices still have the $2 Jenny Invert stamps available to buy, and a few collectors are still seeking them out and buying some of them, hoping they’ll get one of the unreported rare stamp panes with the plane flying right side up.

Sooner or later, and maybe sooner, the stamps should sell out, and presumably, all 100 of the rare variety will be in collections or up for sale in the aftermarket.

Once the stamps are no longer available from post offices, there really won’t be a way to find out where the upright panes all went. It will be interesting to see how much collectors are willing to pay to add this unusual intentional variety to their collections.

For Linn’s Stamp News and the Scott catalogs, I’m Michael Baadke.