US Stamps

Collectors continue to find upright varieties of $2 Jenny

May 23, 2020, 1 PM
On April 8 Linn’s reader John Palmer was the lucky recipient of a pane of six of the rare upright variety of the 2013 $2 Jenny Invert stamp.

By Michael Baadke

More than six years after the $2 Jenny Invert stamps were placed on sale, collectors continue to find the rare upright variety among new stamp orders received from the United States Postal Service.

Over the past six months, three collectors have contacted Linn’s Stamp News to report new finds.

The $2 Jenny stamps (Scott 4806) were issued in panes of six on Sept. 22, 2013, as a tribute to America’s most famous stamp error. That 1918 24¢ Jenny Invert airmail stamp has its blue Jenny biplane accidentally printed upside down within the carmine rose frame (Scott C3a).

The $2 stamps from 2013 were at the center of a USPS promotional program that included just 100 specially printed panes intentionally showing the Jenny biplane in the center of each stamp flying right-side up. The regularly issued $2 stamp portrays the plane upside down.

All 2.2 million panes from the 2013 issue were sealed in a printed paper envelope within a cellophane wrapping, thwarting efforts to detect the rare upright variety seeded among the common standard issue.

Collector demand for the limited upright variety pushed aftermarket values sky-high, with some public auctions seeing realizations of more than $50,000.

The 100 upright variety panes were packaged with a card printed with a phone number the finder could call to receive a certificate signed by the U.S. postmaster general, and to register the purchase and discovery. But because the registration is voluntary, it is presumed many of the found panes were never recorded.

As a result, no one is sure how many have been found and how many remain undiscovered.

The most recent report of an upright variety find came from collector John Palmer, who received his pane on April 8, which also happened to be his wedding anniversary.

“When the panes of the Inverted Jenny were first issued I ordered a number of panes hoping for a right-side-up Jenny,” Palmer told Linn’s. “However, no success.”

Undaunted, he ordered another three panes from USPS Stamp Fulfillment Services in April, and that order delivered one pane of the upright variety.

When Palmer called the toll-free number, he was asked to mail in “a copy of the relevant information.” He did so and is now waiting for a reply.

Reports to Linn’s of new finds came to a virtual halt in 2017 after the remaining panes at Stamp Fulfillment Services were distributed to post offices for sale. At the time, Linn’s had recorded 32 finds of the variety verified by the Postal Service.

In November 2019, all panes were recalled from post offices so that they could be sold once again from Stamp Fulfillment Services.

A search for "Jenny" on the USPS Postal Store website on May 22 showed the $2 Jenny Invert stamp still listed in the available online inventory.

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