Inverted Jenny stamp set to fetch $2 million


06 November 2023
The ‘finest’ example of the famous ‘Inverted Jenny’ US stamp is set to go under the hammer at Robert A. Siegel Auction Galleries.

With an pre-sale estimate of $1,500,000 - $2,000,000 the stamp has been described as ‘the finest Inverted Jenny in existence and has no Mint Never Hinged equal.’

According to the auction house, who will be selling the stamp at the conclusion of their 8 November sale in New York, the stamp was purchased in 1918 and remained in its pristine ‘post office’ condition in a bank vault for the next 100 years and has been kept in the dark since it was purchased by the current owner in 2018.

The lot description explains the history of the rare stamp in detail: ‘The original sheet of 100 Inverted Jenny errors was purchased by William T. Robey on May 14, 1918, the first day the stamps went on sale in all three principal airmail route cities: Washington, D.C., New York and Philadelphia. Robey bought the sheet for its $24 face value at the New York Avenue Post Office window in the District of Columbia. On Sunday, May 19, Robey agreed to give Eugene Klein, a prominent Philadelphia stamp dealer, a one-day option to buy the sheet for $15,000. Klein exercised his option on Monday, May 20, in a late afternoon phone call, and he confirmed it with a registered letter to Robey sent in the evening mail. The sheet was delivered to Klein’s office by Robey and his father-in-law on the following day, Tuesday, May 21, 1918.

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‘No later than Monday, May 20, the day Klein exercised his option, he had arranged to sell the sheet for $20,000 to Colonel Edward H. R. Green. Half of the $5,000 profit went to Klein’s partners, Percy McGraw Mann and Joseph A. Steinmetz. Klein was then authorized by Colonel Green to divide the sheet into singles and blocks, and to sell all but a few key position blocks.

‘This stamp from Position 49 was undoubtedly selected as one of the finest centred examples from the sheet and sold by Eugene Klein to a collector in 1918. It remained in its pristine “post office” condition in a bank vault for the next one hundred years and has been kept in the dark since it was purchased by the current owner in 2018. The gum is Mint Never Hinged and, since its exposure to light has been limited, the stamp’s colours are rich and the paper is bright.’

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