Thousands of people from around the globe will attend the World Stamp Show here in New York City during its eight-day run. There are collectors interested in hundreds of special topics within the stamp universe including wreck-and-crash mail, envelop cover art called cachets, how technology will save (or kill) collecting, or how the post office will help (or ruin) the field. You can attend daily discussions on all manner of ways to study, organize, and buy stamps based on interests in the design, printing, cancellation, or faking of stamps as well following your favorite subjects like cartography, composers, war, animals, zeppelins, or spaceships.
This is a big year for the Inverted Jenny, the subject of our book. Robert A. Siegel Auctions had been touting its pending auction of one of the best stamps from the original sheet of 100, position 58. Besides arranging for an original Curtiss JN-4H to be brought down from the Old Rhinebeck Aerodrome and displayed at the Javits Center, Siegel’s auction drew a lot of attention for what was expected to be a very high sale price. The auction did not disappoint with a final sale price of $1,175,000 achieved in under nine minutes. A number of special guests were on site for this historic sale including Carolyn Marek, granddaughter of William Robey who bought the original sheet of inverts in 1918 and George Amick, author of the bible on the invert published in 1986.
But position 58 is not the only star of the Inverted Jenny show here. Displayed among the world’s most famous stamps in the Court of Honor is position 69 and the left arrow block of four Inverted Jennys (41/42/51/52), so called because the selvage on the left contains an arrow pointing to the horizontal center line that forms part of the block’s original print registration. Schuyler J. Rumsey Philatelic Auctions will be selling position 8, and displayed at the Columbian Stamp Company booth are position 36 (valued at $450,000) and position 57 (so valuable you have to request the price).
The final big surprise for Jenny aficionados will the highly anticipated FBI handover of position 76, the bottom right copy from the famous McCoy block of four, stolen out of its exhibition frame during the American Philatelic Society Convention in 1955. After the theft, the block was broken and dispersed as four singles, all further altered to disguise their appearance. Positions 75 and 65 were recovered years ago. Position 76 just walked in the door of Spink USA in April, brought to light by a young man who found the stamp in his late grandfather’s possessions. The handoff involves $60,000 in reward money and the stamp’s return to the American Philatelic Library to which Ethel McCoy assigned her rights in 1979, hoping that someday all the stamps would be recovered. Only position 66 remains at large. Perhaps it’ll turn up before week’s end.