Position 22 - 2008-09-11 Transaction Summary

Purchase Date:
How Purchased:
Where Purchased:
Spink Shreves
Auction No.:
Lot No.:
Catalogue Value:
$ 425,000
$ 220,000


#C3a, 24c Carmine rose and blue, Center Inverted, position 22, attractively centered, deep rich colors, full o.g., relatively lightly hinged, small natural paper spot visible only on reverse, fine-very fine. The 1918 Twenty Four Cent Inverted Jenny is one of the most recognized and desired rarities in all of philately. Its legendary status began the moment the stamp was issued in May, 1918, when William T. Robey purchased an entire error sheet of 100 at the New York Avenue Post Office window in Washington D.C. - just one day after the stamp was issued - May 14th. Within one week Robey sold the sheet for $15,000.00 to the well-known Philadelphia stamp dealer Eugene Klein (an impressive return on his initial $24.00 investment). Shortly thereafter Mr. Klein sold the sheet to the renowned, yet eccentric collector, Col. Edward H.R. Green for $20,000.00. Col. Green asked Klein to break up the sheet for him into singles and blocks, then instructed him to sell all but the few key position blocks. What is puzzling is how, given the immediate attention created by a spectacular new error, so many of the stamps from the sheet have been poorly handled and stored over the years. In fact, there are at least six examples whose whereabouts are unknown and presumably lost to philately. A great many of the known copies have varying degrees of faults and some even have lost all of their original gum. Improper hinging has caused a significant number of the faults, often thinning or creasing the stamps.The example from the Wagner collection is one of the desirable completely sound, original gum examples available to collectors. Each individual example, or multiples still remaining intact, from the original error sheet has a story behind it - who has been its previous owners, why and how it was acquired. The Wagner copy has its own poignant story behind it. Back when Keith Wagner was just 20 years old in 1952, his grandmother had given him a gift of cash to buy his first automobile - a Ford Convertible. But instead of heading directly to the first used car dealer, he booked himself an airline ticket to New York City to attend the September 23, 1952 Harmer, Rooke & Co. auction - with one goal in mind, to buy the position 22 "Inverted Jenny" featured in the auction. He patiently waited for the other lots to be auctioned. When a call for bids was made on the "Jenny" he encountered considerable bidding competition from the dealers and collectors in attendance - all of whom were much older than he. As the bidding slowed, one of the dealers at the auction spoke up and publicly said "let the kid have it." And so the lot hammered down at $2,500.00 (!) and Keith A. Wagner was now the proud owner of one of the most recognizable rarities in philately. He took great pride and pleasure of ownership of the stamp for his entire adult life. Now, in 2008, his widow Barbara A. Wagner has decided to sell Keith's beloved "Jenny" in the hope that the new owner will receive just as much pride of ownership as Keith did. Accompanied by a 2008 PF certificate
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