Position 77 - 2014-05-21 Transaction Summary

Purchase Date:
How Purchased:
Where Purchased:
Spink USA
Auction No.:
Lot No.:
Catalogue Value:
$ 1,000,000
$ 576,000


#C3a, 24c Carmine rose and blue, Center Inverted, pos. 77, an extraordinarily choice and exceptionally fresh mint example of this coveted and storied error rarity, wonderfully well centered amid large margins, beautiful rich colors on crisp clean paper, while full and even perforations all around further enhance its considerable eye-appeal, plus its reverse reveals immaculate original gum which is never hinged, light pencil number "77" at bottom right as marked by Eugene Klein on all positions on the sheet of 100, choice very fine; the highest graded mint never hinged example; 2014 P.F. Certificate (VF-XF 85; SSV $1,000,000.00 for VF 80).

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 the entire error sheet of 100 at the New York Avenue Post Office window in Washington D.C. - May 14th - just one day after the stamp was issued. 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 possibly 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 and nineteen have straight edges.

This example from the J.E. Safra holding, which he acquired in a 2 February, 1994 Christie's auction of the "Westport" collection for $173,000.00, is the finest of the mere five mint never hinged copies of the 24c Jenny with inverted center recorded, the most famous and widely recognized stamp in philately. It has previously graced the collections of Colonel Edward H.R. Green, Frederick H. Douglas of Rumson, N.J., who sold it through John A. Fox at auction on 30 July, 1959 for $6,100.00 to Raymond H. Weill acting as agent for Dr. J.A. Graves. It was next offered publicly at the 1982 Siegel Rarities of the world auction, and sold again to Weill acting as agent for "Westport." It realized $198,000.00 a then record price for a single United States stamp. The most recent appearance of a mint n.h. copy was the Robert A. Siegel sale of the Beverly Hills Collection in October, 2013. That copy, which was graded VF 80 by both the P.F. and P.S.E. hammered for $500,000.00
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