October 19, 2005

Rare misprint stamps sell for nearly $3 million

NEW YORK (Reuters) - A group of four flawed, early U.S.
airmail stamps, originally priced at 24 cents each, sold at
auction for $2.97 million on Wednesday.

An unidentified private collector bought the so-called
"Inverted Jenny" stamps at the Siegel Auction Galleries in New
York, the auction house said.

The 1918 stamp depicting a Curtiss JN-4H airplane was the
first U.S. airmail stamp. Only a single flawed sheet of 100
stamps showing the airplane flying upside down was ever sold.

The original sheet of "Inverted Jenny" stamps was sold for
$24 to William Robey on May 14, 1918. Robey sold the sheet a
week later for $15,000. News of the error spread rapidly,
embarrassing postal officials, who already faced skepticism
over the experimental airmail program.

The sheet has since been split up and prices have rocketed
to more than $500,000 for a single stamp.

The highest auction price paid for a single U.S. postage
stamp was $935,000, paid in 1998 for a 1 cent Z Grill stamp,
the auction house said.