The infamous Inverted Jenny, one of the most collectible stamps in the world, has set a new auction record for a U.S. stamp, with a $2 million sale at New York’s Robert A. Siegel Auction Galleries. That’s an 835.8 million percent increase from its original price of just 24 cents.
“This is not only a record-breaking price for a single Inverted Jenny, but the first time a single United States stamp has ever brought more than $2 million at auction. It is a historic moment for the entire hobby, as well as our auction house,” Scott Trepel, Siegel’s president, wrote in an email.
The stamp was produced in 1918 to commemorate the introduction of the U.S. postal service’s first airmail delivery between New York City, Philadelphia, and Washington, D.C. It became an instant collector’s item when a single sheet was sold with the Curtiss JN-4 or “Jenny” airplane printed upside down.
“In their rush to get the stamps finished on time for the first airmail flight, they created an invert,” Trepel said in a statement. “When they went to print the airplane design on the stamp, they put the plate down the wrong way, and that makes it appear that the airplane is flying upside-down. They destroyed all the error sheets except for one sheet of 100.”