US ‘Inverted Jenny’ stamp was sold for $2m at auction in New York City

  • Charles Hack, 76, bought an ‘Inverted Jenny’ stamp for $2million at an auction
  • Just one sheet of the stamps were produced after they were misprinted in 1918  
  • Hack purchased number 49 on Wednesday in New York City 

A rare stamp known as the ‘Inverted Jenny’ has smashed US records after it sold for $2million.

The expensive stamp was purchased on Wednesday by stamp collector Charles Hack, 76, who told The Washington Post that it was ‘the holy grail of postage.’

The item was sold during an auction that was hosted by Robert a Siegel Auction Galleries based in New York City.  

The red, white and blue stamp is known both for its rarity and for the fact that it was printed in error as the plane on it came out upside down. 

The rare Inverted Jenny stamp (pictured) was made in 1918 and only 100 were printed on a sheet after people realized that the Curtiss JN-4 airplane was printed upside down

Charles Hack (pictured) purchased the stamp on Wednesday at an auction in New York for $2million. He has purchased other Inverted Jenny stamps over the years

It dates back to 1918 where only 100 copies were made, and it originally costed 24 cents. The rare stamps showcased an image of the Curtiss JN-4 airplane in the center. 

The print on the stamp was intended to commemorate the start of the regular airmail service and in a rush to get a batch made, the printers made the mistake of printing the plane the wrong way. 

Postal offices quickly discovered the misprint and circulation of the Inverted Jenny was ceased, but a sheet of 100 managed to make its way to the public before they stopped sales. 

Since then, the 100 stamps have become increasingly rare and costly for the stamp collecting community. 

Hack got into stamp collection when he was just a little boy as he started his accumulation in Brooklyn and later in Long Island. 

‘At the time, they sold for more money than God, in my mind- $7,500 each,’ Hack told The Washington Post. 

The Inverted Jenny even went on to be featured in the 1993 episode of the hit animated sit com The Simpsons. 

Since the stamps were misprinted, they have grown increasingly rare and expensive and stamp collectors around the world dream of obtaining one

Siegel Auctions President Scott Trepel (pictured) is seen holding up the stamp

During the episode, main character Homer Simpson was seen looking at a sheet of the limited stamps at a yard sale as he realized that the airplane on it was upside down. 

Homer then threw the sheet away in a pile of other priceless American artifacts like the Declaration of Independence. 

This is not the first Inverted Jenny that Hack has purchased as he has bought one in the early 2000s for approximately $300,000.

He then bought another one in 2007 for close to $1million and soon discovered that it was number 57 of the 100 stamps printed on that error sheet. 

He also purchased one in 2018 that was number 49 of 100 on the sheet and was previously held in a bank vault by its owner before it was sold. 

In 1995 one of the Inverted Jenny stamps was stolen at a convention in Virgina and was later returned after it ended up in Ireland in 2016. 

A young man from Northern Ireland inherited the stamp and brought it to the convention after he inherited from his grandfather.

Keelin O’Neill’s grandfather reportedly stashed it away in a box alongside old records and an antique clock.

Keelin O'Neill (pictured) returned a stolen Inverted Jenny stamp from 1955 after he inherited from his grandfather

The stamp was featured in a 1993 episode of The Simpsons (pictured)

O’Neil ended up receiving a check for $50,000 as his reward, just after the head of the FBI’s New York field office, Diego Rodriguez, handed over the Jenny to the American Philatelic Research Library’s president, Roger Brody.

Hack said that he isn’t quite sure what he will do with his new stamp once he receives it from Siegel, but he does know that he will protect it. 

In order to preserve the timeless piece, he plans to keep it out of the light and any other elements. He also plans to keep it locked away in his safe in New York. 

He said that he will show it off to visitors that are interested in looking at ‘a bit of American history.’ 


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