U.S. Postal Service Inverts The Invert
The USPS printed more than 2.2 million of the six-stamp souvenir sheets, and on 100 of them less than .005% the airplane is correctly oriented, as it is on Sc. C3.
"We think it will be fun," Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe told The Virtual Stamp Club.
These intentional misprints of the famous misprint are being sold at random.
"We actually packaged each one of these things individually, so nobody knows what's in the package," Donahoe said in a telephone interview.
Your chances of getting one is less than 1:22,000 but an Ontario stamp collector was one of the lucky ones.
Collectors had wondered why the Inverted Jenny Reprint souvenir sheets came individually packaged in envelopes within shrinkwrap. Now we know: So that no one could go through a stack of the souvenir sheets and pull out the varieties.
Not even the Postmaster General.
"I am a stamp collector, but I do not have one of these sheets," he said.
The USPS press release:
Postal Service Announces Very Limited Edition Stamps Circulated with Recent Issue of Famous ‘Upside Down’ Jenny Stamp
Customers who purchased Inverted Jenny stamps could have one of only 100 stamp sheets printed with plane flying ‘right side up,’ First recipient comes forward
WASHINGTON The Postal Service [October 2, 2013] announced it has printed 100 additional sheets of stamps of the recently issued Inverted Jenny stamp but with the plane flying right-side up.
Unique to this stamp issuance, all sheets were individually wrapped in a sealed envelope to recreate the excitement of finding an Inverted Jenny when opening the envelope and to avoid the possibility of discovering a corrected Jenny prior to purchase.
“We’re leveraging the incredible story behind the rare collectible as a creative way to generate interest in stamp collecting while highlighting the role the Post Office Department had in developing the commercial aviation industry,” said Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe.
Individuals purchasing “corrected Jenny sheets” will find a congratulatory note inside the wrapping asking them to call a phone number to receive a certificate of acknowledgement signed by the Postmaster General.
Just days after the Postal Service issued the new $2 version of the most publicized stamp error in U.S. history the 24-cent 1918 Curtiss Jenny airmail stamp depicting a biplane flying upside down Glenn Watson of Newmarket, Ontario, Canada, purchased the new $2 version with the biplane flying right side up.
“I’ve been collecting U.S. and Canadian stamps for more than 50 years,” said Watson, who ordered his Inverted Jenny stamp sheet through the Postal Store on eBay. “By far this was a total surprise, and I can now relate to how stamp collector William Robey felt when he purchased the original sheet of 100 inverted Jennys in 1918. Clearly this right-side-up version will be the treasure of my collection. I hope this stamp will encourage younger generations to get involved in this educational hobby.”
The Backstory on Creating the Misprint’s ‘Misprint’
The idea for creating the “misprinted misprint,” came to light after the Postmaster General mentioned the stamp to customer groups shortly after it was previewed in January.
“Our customers were enthusiastic about printing a new version of the most publicized stamp error in U.S. history as a great way to spur interest in stamp collecting,” said Donahoe. “Some jokingly commented that we should be careful to avoid repeating the same mistake of nearly a century ago. That was the impetus behind this initiative. What better way to interest a younger generation in stamp collecting?”
Donahoe added the stamp serves to communicate the Post Office Department’s role in developing the nation’s commercial aviation industry. Air mail turned out to be one of our most successful innovations.
“By showing that air travel could be safe and useful, we helped create the entire American aviation industry, which went on to reshape the world,” said Donahoe.
Pan Am, TWA, American, United, Northwest and other airlines originated as air mail contractors before passenger service began. Additionally, to help commercial aviation get off the ground and to speed the mail, the Post Office Department helped develop navigational aids such as beacons and air-to-ground radio. Today, the Postal Service continues as the commercial aviation industry’s largest freight customer. Mail also flies on FedEx and UPS cargo aircraft.
The Jenny Story
Two eerie occurrences took place surrounding the nation’s first airmail flight that took place 1918. The pilot got lost, flew in the wrong direction and crashed. And due to a printing error of the 24-cent Curtiss Jenny airmail stamp created to commemorate this historic event, the biplane was depicted flying upside down on a single sheet of 100 stamps that was sold to the public.
In 1918, in a rush to celebrate the first airmail flight, the Post Office Department issued the 24-cent Curtiss Jenny stamp. Because the design required two colors, sheets were placed on the printing press twice first to apply red ink and a second time to apply blue ink. This process was given to human error as stamp collectors at the time well knew.
A Washington, DC, Post Office clerk who had never seen an airplane sold a sheet of 100 stamps mistakenly showing the biplane upside down. For nearly a century, stamp collectors have chased the Inverted Jennys and have accounted for nearly all 100 of them.
The 100 sheets have been distributed randomly among the nation’s Post Offices and at the Postal Service’s Stamp Fulfillment Center, which accepts stamp orders online at usps.com/stamps, and by calling 800-STAMP24 (800-782-6724). Additionally, some of the 100 also were randomly distributed at ebay.com/stamps.