US Stamps

Upgrade your 1918 Jenny airmail

May 3, 2021, 7 AM

United States — The market for U.S. stamps, in general, remains stable, as it has been for several years. The good news is that it is a buyer’s market. If you are missing certain items for your collection, or looking to replace stamps in fine-very fine grade with something better, now is the time to do it.

A good example is the 1918 24¢ carmine and rose Curtiss Jenny airmail stamp (Scott C3). This iconic stamp will never go out of fashion. That is guaranteed by its own intrinsic beauty and appeal, as well as by its association with arguably the most famous U.S. stamp, the inverted center error variety (C3a).

Even the U.S. Postal Service is aware of this, as attested by the 2013 Jenny Invert pane of six $2 stamps (Scott 4806).

And weren’t they clever, adding the lottery factor and making the upright variety the valuable one this time around? The Postal Service managed to generate a good deal of buzz and interest, inside and out of the hobby, with this issue.

Now is a good time to upgrade your U.S. 24¢ Curtiss Jenny airmail stamp (Scott C3) to a higher grade and condition.

Pull your collection out and look at it. If your 24¢ Curtiss Jenny airmail stamp is not in at least a solid grade of very fine, consider replacing it. And if higher grades are more to your taste, what better time to move up to very fine-extra fine or higher?

The 2014 Scott Specialized Catalogue of United States Stamps and Covers values the 24¢ Curtiss Jenny airmail stamp in the grade of very fine at $70 in unused condition and $140 in mint never-hinged condition. The U.S. Specialized by Grade section in the catalog values this and other classic U.S. stamps in eight grades, from very good to superb, and in used, unused original gum and mint never-hinged conditions.

Open up the catalog and take a look at it. Decide what is the best grade and condition you can afford, and then go out and see if you can beat the catalog value. Dealers are itching for sales. You might be surprised at how far your dollar will go.

A Linn’s editor found this week’s recommended stamps on at the following prices:

United States C3$110, mint never-hinged, fine-very fine; $60, unused hinged, very fine;

Liechtenstein C15-C16$65, mint never-hinged, F-VF; $23.50-$55, unused hinged, F-VF.

Tip of the week

Liechtenstein — Liechtenstein is the archetypal postage-stamp kingdom. At 61.8 square miles, it is barely a dot on the map, but it has issued many classic and beautiful stamps. The country enjoys a small but dedicated following among collectors in the United States.

There are good things to be found in the classical stamps of Liechtenstein. I like the 1936 Airship Hindenburg airmail stamps (Scott C15-C16). In addition to country collectors, this set also enjoys crossover interest from zeppelin topical collectors.

The 2014 Scott Classic Specialized Catalogue of Stamps and Covers 1840-1940 values the set in unused hinged condition at $85. This is a good set with solid demand, but if you shop carefully, I think you can find it in the $65 to $75 range. — H.G.