A collector credits a hunch with helping him land one of just 100 sheets of stamps recently issued by the United States Postal Service featuring a corrected version of its rare and most famous error, the 1918 “inverted Jenny.”
Art Van Riper bought the stamps in Waverly, N.Y., after reading that the Postal Service had printed a new batch of inverted Jenny stamps celebrating the 95-year-old edition that, by mistake, featured a biplane flying upside-down .
He also read that, as a way to draw more people into stamp collecting, the Postal Service randomly distributed 100 sheets featuring the plane right-side up among the 2.2 million sheets distributed nationwide.
“I needed some stamps and … I just had a feeling that maybe there would be one in Waverly,” he said.
Van Riper intended to buy five sheets of the $2 stamps, at $12 a sheet, and use them to mail presents. Postal clerk Betty Gable persuaded him to take more.
“I told him our office had 45 and he might as well buy them all,” she said.
Van Riper’s was the fourth of the 100 sheets to turn up since the post office launched the campaign in September. One of the four is listed at $25,000 online, but Van Riper has no plans to sell his sheet.
Among collectors, the inverted Jenny, produced by a printing error, is gold. Only one sheet of 100 stamps commemorating the nation’s first airmail flight was sold. One of the stamps recently sold for $977,000.