Expertizers at New York’s Philatelic Foundation recently examined and certified the position 49 Jenny Invert airmail error – missing for the past century – as genuine.
The famed U.S. error, which depicts a blue Curtis “Jenny” biplane flying upside down, went on sale in May 1918. Only one pane of 100 error stamps was ever discovered, and it was purchased for $24 by collector William Robey and separated into blocks and singles. He then sold the entire pane for $15,000 to dealer Eugene Klein, who numbered each stamp on its back with pencil before selling them all to his client Col. E.H.R. “Ned” Green for $20,000.
Amid these transactions, one of the stamps in the fifth horizontal row (position 49) went missing.
Until this August, there were no known images or records of transactions for position 49 since May 21, 1918, when Green acquired all 100 examples.
Position 49, which still bears its original two-digit pencil marking, was passed down through three generations of a Chicago-area family whose members wish to remain anonymous; however, according to the Philatelic Foundation, the stamp was stored in a safe deposit box and was undamaged by hinging, light or other environmental pollutants
It was given a grade of “90 XF,” meaning it’s in extremely fine condition. It is now the highest-graded Jenny Invert in mint unhinged condition.
An XF-SUP 95 (extremely fine-superb) example sold for $1.35 million US in a 2016 Robert A. Siegel auction.