Inverted Jenny

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Inverted Jenny
Inverted Jenny
country United States of America
Face value 24 cents
First day May 15, 1918
Date of Expiry
Print type
particularities Misprint
correct pressure

The Inverted Jenny , ( dt . Upside-down Jenny ) sometimes Jenny Invert, the name of a famous misprint a US postage stamp from 1918. It is not the only stamp in the world, of which there is a upside-down variant and not the only American inverted postage stamp.

The misprint

The misprint differs from the original stamp in that the plane , a Curtiss JN-4 nicknamed "Jenny", was printed upside down in the center of the stamp motif. This was possible because the stamp was made in two different colors and printing processes. The plane was printed in blue, the border in red. This misprint is one of the largest and most valuable rarities in philately . Only 100 copies of this stamp are known. A copy of the brand was sold at auction in the United States on May 31, 2016 for $ 1.351 million (hammer price $ 1.175 million plus 15% commission).

Origin and Discovery

The original stamp is the first US airmail stamp . It could be used from May 15, 1918 to pay airmail fees. For the first time, the Post issued an airmail stamp for the new airmail connections between Washington DC , Philadelphia and New York City . Several Curtiss JN-4s served as aircraft for this line. Previously, the US Post had already made several attempts to possibly transport mail by air. The postage value of the postage stamp, which coincided with the airmail charges, was set relatively high at 24 cents. The new airmail line was not much faster than the competing train service, but it was eight times as expensive as conventional first-class mail.

The printing of the airmail stamps did not begin until May 10, 1918. Before that, the company had been engraving the printing plates since May 4th . However, the stamps were delivered on May 13th. The stamps had to be printed in a hurry. It was therefore very likely that misprints would arise.

On May 14, 1918, the first day the airmail stamp was issued , the philatelist WT Robey discovered a sheet of 100 inverted Jenny stamps (“my heart stood still”). He bought it and made sure that it was the only sheet with misprints from the post office . He was able to sell the sheet, from which all known pieces today come, for $ 15,000 to the well-known stamp dealer Eugene Klein . He immediately sold it to collector Edward HR Green for $ 20,000 . On the advice of Eugene Klein, he cut the sheet and began selling several pairs and unique items that can be found in various stamp collections around the world today. Green also provided the stamp sheet with an ascending numbering in pencil (from 1 to 100) so that the résumés of the various brands can be easily followed. He then sold some of them, including blocks of four. Edward Green kept, among other things, the largest coherent unit, a block of eight for his own collection.

"Inverted Jenny" in film, television and the press

The "Inverted Jenny" became a symbol of a particularly expensive postage stamp in American popular culture: In the movie To the Devil with Coals , the protagonist Brewster had to spend 30 million dollars within 30 days - which he succeeded in doing with a postcard with a Franking "Inverted Jenny". In the Simpsons episode Homer and the Singing Brothers (9F21), Homer Simpson finds a whole sheet of "Inverted Jennys" at a flea market and throws it carelessly away.

Object for counterfeiters

Due to its high collector's value, the Inverted Jenny has repeatedly been an object for attempts at forgery. At the end of 2006 an anonymous postal voter franked the election envelope with an "Inverted Jenny" in the US congressional elections . The choice of postage stamp on the envelope found in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, however, was deliberate, admitted a collector who got in touch a few days later. The stamp used came from a memorial pad printed by the US Postal Service and was worth no more than 50 cents. He often uses these brands to attract the attention of the addressee. This was confirmed by an investigation in the election officer's office.

Commemorative edition from 2013

On September 22, 2013, the US Post published a commemorative 95th anniversary issue. This is a mini sheet with six self-adhesive stamps valued at $ 2 each. These were offered in closed sales packaging. The circulation was 2.2 million sheets of 12 dollars each. A few days after the issue date, Swiss Post announced that 100 sheets show the double-decker in its normal position and that they were randomly added to the total circulation.


  • George Amick: The Inverted Jenny: Mystery, Money, Mania , Amos Press, Sidney (Ohio) 1986, ISBN 0-89487-089-0 , 250 pp.
  • The Story of America's Inverted Airmail. In: US Stamps & Postal History , Vol. II, No. 1, Winter 1993, pp. 25-29
  • M. Burzan: rebirth of a rarity. In: Briefmarken Spiegel issue No. 11/2013, p. 24 f
  • M. Burzan: philately issue No. 443 of May 2014, pp. 49–53
  • M. Burzan: Deutsche Briefmarken-Zeitung issue No. 14/2014, p. 34
  • LN Williams: Encyclopaedia of Rare and Famous Stamps. Volume 1 The Stories. Feldman, Geneva 1993, ISBN 0-89192-435-3 , pp. 325-329

Web links

Commons : Inverted Jenny  - Collection of images, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. Finest graded 1918 Jenny Invert error tops $ 1.35 million during Siegel sale at World Stamp Show-NY 2016. Linn's Stamp News dated June 1, 2016, last accessed June 1, 2018.
  2. Among other things, the Inverted Jenny was also forged by Peter Winter , who became known as a forger of collector devotional objects in the 1980s , see “Wrong Tones of an Opera Singer”, last accessed on June 21, 2013.
  3. Sarasotan: 'Inverted Jenny' stamp on ballot not what it seems , Herald Tribune November 13, 2006
  4. ^ Message on from November 15, 2006: A $ 200,000 mistake - or a joke? ( Memento from May 9, 2009 in the Internet Archive )
  5. A $ 200,000 Mistake - or a Joke? ( Memento of June 5, 2015 in the Internet Archive ), website of a stamp forum on this case, accessed on June 21, 2013.
  6. Reuters: Stamp used on Florida ballot a fake , December 4, 2006
  7. Detlev Moratz: USA: The rotated Inverted Jenny ; in: Südwest Aktuell, issue 253 from March 2014; Pp. 40–41 ( PDF file 6.2 MB )
  8. 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 message Number: 13-079 of October 2, 2013 (English)