The Inverted Jenny

693px-USA_inverted_Jenny_siegal_nov_07_$977,500_Stamp collecting was a much more popular pastime (hobby) 50 to 100 years ago, but philately — the technical name for stamp collecting — is still alive and well (existing and active) in the U.S. today. One of the most famous U.S. stamps that any philatelists — the technical name for stamp collectors — would like to own is known as the Inverted Jenny.  (“Inverted” means upside down, where the top is at the bottom and the bottom is at the top.)

In May of 1918, the U.S. government decided to try a new type of mail service that would use an airplane to transport mail between Washington, D.C., Philadelphia, and New York City — all cities on the East Coast of the United States. For this new service, people would need to pay 24 cents, a significantly higher price than other letter-delivery services. So the government decided to print a new stamp just for this airmail service.  The stamp pictured (showed the image of) the Curtiss JN-4 airplanenicknamed (given the informal name) “Jenny,” which would transport the mail between those cities.

The U.S. Postal Service had only a short amount of time to produce this new stamp. The stamp also had two colors on it, which meant that it had to be fed through (put through a machine) the printing machine two times, first printing one color and then the second. Sometimes, when it was put through the second time, the sheet of stamps was upside down. All of the “mistakes” were caught (identified) during production, except for one. One sheet of 100 stamps with this mistake escaped notice (was not seen or identified). That sheet of stamps contained the only Inverted Jennys available today.

A stamp collector went to the post office to buy the new stamp in 1918 and quickly realized that he had something special. He sold the sheet of stamps quickly and with the proceeds (money received from the sale) bought a house.

Since that time, this sheet of stamps has been taken apart, and many of the Inverted Jenny stamps have been been sold separately or in small numbers. Each stamp is worth in the area of (approximately) three quarters of a million dollars ($750,000) to $1 million.

Now, you can own an Inverted Jenny. The U.S. Postal Service is issuing (producing) Inverted Jenny stamps for sale. But, there is a twist (something unexpected). One hundred of the sheets produced will be right-side up, meaning they will appear as they should have originally with the top on top and the bottom on the bottom. All sheets of stamps will be packaged so that you won’t be able to see them before buying. The government hopes to get people excited about the new stamps, to create new interest in stamp collecting, and to add to their coffers (make more money). These new right-side up stamps will, of course, become collectable (wanted by people who collect this type of thing) almost immediately.

Have you ever collected stamps? Is stamp collecting a popular pastime where you live, now or in the past? Are there any special stamps you remember owning or seeing?

– Lucy

Photo Credit:  USA Inverted Jenny from Wikipedia

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21 Responses to The Inverted Jenny

  1. Dan says:

    Hey Lucy.

    I am not a collecting guy, quite the contrary I tend to eliminate things instead of collecting and/or cluttering.

    I do not even understand those people doing that.

    The only things I like to have around are my cats for obvious reasons, which are: They are cute, sweet, funny, intelligent, friendly, warm. alert, calm…..

    Thank you Lucy

  2. Dan says:

    Hi there Pete.

    Nice reading from you again.

    Dan, Italy.

  3. Myo ko ko says:

    Thanks indeed Lucy for the technical terms for a stamp collector and process of stamp collecting.
    Honestly, in informal conversational settings, I , as an ESL learner, would use the term ‘stamp collector’
    instead of using a technically right term for that.
    Of course, I owned a stamp of that kind, one of the first 100 inverted Jenny versions that are
    worth, according to you, 750,000 bucks and up a piece!

    Well, it isn’t true, in fact, I’m just joking you!
    The truth is that this is the first time I’ve seen and learned and known about the inverted Jenny
    stamps, not to mention having one in hand, you see! 😉

    Even though I myself have never collected stamps nor things as a hobby, I’ve heard of philatelists where I live.

    You know,
    Like Dan, I’m more interested in getting rid of things than keeping them.
    But unlike Dan and of course like Jeff, I don’t like cats that much! 😉

    Myo ko ko
    where, unlike Aecio’s Brazil, there I’m sure are some misconducts (or sins),
    but my home sweet home!

  4. Myo ko ko says:

    Hi emiliano
    your note about abortion makes my head spin.
    Like you, as a male, the subject is Greek to me.
    As far as I can say about this matter is that sometimes abortion is a only way to a social problem
    and sometimes it is a mere matter of misconduct.
    As a matter of fact, abortion is surely resulted from violating the morals.
    If everyone follows the moral codes of conducts, we won’t have such a disgusting term in our dictionary.
    Most often then not, we human beings turn our backs to reality even if we seem to have
    mutual understanding of the rules that govern us.

    Myo ko ko

  5. Parviz says:

    Hi Lucy,
    Very exciting topic, Congratulation.
    Growing up I liked collecting things like Old Money and Stamps from famous people, and sometimes the picture of vintage cars.
    But, Now I don’t have any of them remained. I gave the to my friends as gifts. I don’t know if they honored my gift after they returned home.
    This used to be an amusing task for me to do.
    Some times I needed to do some homework about the stuffs. And that was what appealed to me the most.
    I learned about the history behind the stamps, back many years before I was born.
    I feel for people who are involved in this interesting hobby, or professional task.

  6. Aécio Flávio Perim says:

    Hello Myo ko ko. The sin I mentioned is not that big sin you think. Little sins that can be frogiven easily. If you want to know everything come to Brazil and see yourself. Football, carnival, beaches, hot sun, blue sky, green forests, brunnets dancing samba and so on. Good for eyes and soul! Believe me, it is all right when you don’t have bad intentions in your mind.
    Aecio, from this place named Brazil, where God was born.

  7. Myo ko ko says:

    Hi Aecio,
    You’re always inviting me to come to your beautiful (I suppose it is! 😉 ) land.
    I just wonder where you’ll be hiding from me when I pay your land a visit and try to meet you!
    But don’t worry, my friend!
    I won’t come to you even if I really wish to because you know I have a bit fear of heights.
    You see, aircrafts fly at high heights! 😛

    Myo ko ko
    (who don’t like taking flights, really!)

  8. Dan says:

    Hey, me again

    I was thinking at this habit of collecting, and I realized I had it as well.

    I used to save the ESLPodcast audio files, and I had hundreds.

    A while ago I eliminated all of them from my computer. I did not even know why I was collecting those.

    That is just an example of how much I hate gathering things.

    As every kid, growing up I used to collect every sort of rubbish. Maybe that is why I see that collecting habit kind of childish.

    Saying that I do not mean to offend anyone. Being childlike may have its pros at times.

    I am childlike myself at times. Right now I am enjoying playing GTAV online along with other people all around the world.

    That could be considered childish for someone else. I do not care, I am having fun.

    Thank you.

  9. Dan says:


    I was wondering whether Lucy has that habit of gathering/collecting.

    I bet she keeps many books. Yes, I kind of picture Lucy with thousands of books.

    What do you guys think?

    Lucy..Lucy.. so mysterious… you know what? sometimes I think of Lucy when in bed…(Not in that way of course).

    thank you Lucy

  10. Aécio Flávio Perim says:

    Hi Myo ko ko, I am very pleased by receiving your nice words about you to come to meet me and Brazil. My invitation toward you and the others is true, real true. I would not lie this way for my friends, never ever. Brazil is a mysterious land on legends come from a different parts of the world. The first culture to live in Brazil was the Indian culture; they left a lot of stories on the fauna, forest, and rivers, and flora and so on. One of those stories is about a creature named Saci, a blackskinned boy with one single leg, jumping everywhere looking for trouble. Another legend is about a virgin woman named Iracema with sweet lips of honey. She enchanted men who tried to conquer her, very beautiful, like Los Angeles of Jeff. About the heights you are afraid of, you can die anywhere you are, even with your feet on the ground. Thanks God we don’t know when the death will come to catch us. Listen to me carefully and follow my lead. Just come. I promise you will have fun and happiness. My house is yours for the time you are here. That is all.
    Aecio, from this incredible land.

  11. emiliano says:

    Yes, years ago being a Young boy I was a stamp collector but not till the point of spend too much money about the

    Now I am collecting watches, so yes, may be I like to collect some things from time to time.

    Why?, I don´t really know the reason.
    Here in Spain lot of people collect stamps for years and years, in fact there is a place in Madrid where collectors
    go by the mornings, Saturday and Sunday mornings “The Major Square” of Madrid is full of collectors people, coins,
    stamps, notes, and all kind of subjects. There are also several shop where you may find the coins, stamps, or notes
    but also cards, picture cards, old posts, old books and so forth …nearly everything.

    Yes, I would like to collect several things but I don´t have enough space at home, just a pity.
    It coult be nice and have a lot of amusement doing such a thing like collecting stamps, notes or coins for all over
    the countries of the world.
    I know that the Queen of England, and all the Kings, have the bigger collections of stamps of all the world as the
    Embassies of the Kingdoom are buying all the new stamps that appears just from the begining of the mail stamps
    but round over all countries where United Kingdom have been the Empire.

    England was the first country that issued a mail stamp, it was called “Penny Black” of the Victoria Queen and it
    was issued about 1835, of course the value of this stamp is enormous as being the first one in the world.

    The Universal Postal Union establishes that seals travelling internationally should appear the name of the issuing
    country in Latin alphabet. The United Kingdom as the first issuing country of seals is exempt from this obligation.

    Thanks a lot Lucy, as always it is a very controversial subject.


    The former note about abortion was motivated because being a law that is going to be modificated now
    in Spain ther is a lot of people that claim for a free right to abort as a RIGHT OF NATURA to do such a
    traumatic action.
    The other day, in the middle of the Paliament discussion about the law to regulate abortion appears three naked women
    shouting that:
    “abort it is sacred” and sorry I can´t accept that stupid shout, I think it is enough about all the stupid crazy things
    that are happening in this our modern society.

    Thanks Myo Ko Ko, to remember the note.



  12. emiliano says:

    Dan it is sure Lucy is a collector just because she brings the subject to us.
    Only a collector could fix his mind or attention to these kind of subjets.

    Even more, I have an idea of what Lucy could collects but it remains inside
    my mind, it could be I am wrong so I don´t like to hit or strike the wáter.

    He Aecio, some time without your news, what are you thinking about
    my friend?
    The same to you Dan, are you so occupied.

    Even the same to you Myo Ko Ko, a lont time without news from

    Waiting for you three, ja,ja,

    Now to Betty and Tania, where are my sweet girls? so long out
    the Blog Betty, and Tania you are like the river Guadiana here in Spain…..?

    You make ask for if you like to know what it means….it is nice
    don´t be afraid, you know that I really love both of you the fair ladies of the Blog.

    My best to all of you.


  13. Aécio Flávio Perim says:

    Instead of collecting stamps, I’d rather collect more valuable things like friends, good weather, flowers, birds, children, prayers, blessings. What about this idea? What is it like? Would you join me in a crazy idea? Come and let’s go together. We can put the world upside down.
    Aecio, the crazy one.

  14. Ando says:

    Great minds think alike?

  15. emiliano says:

    I don´t think so Ando, posible each one has its own thoughts
    and feelings.

    Go ahead and writhe just a Little more.
    You are welcome here Ando.


  16. Aécio Flávio Perim says:

    Yes, Ando, let your skills come onto us, show your talents. You are among friends here. I am Aecio and I wellcome you to the club. Feel free to say whatever you want.
    Aecio from the beautiful land named Brazil.

  17. Øyvor Steinsheim says:

    WOW!! Interesting topic!! Have to check out my stamps this winter=) Philaltely is a popular hobby in Noeway,
    I`m collecting some, and my big wish is to start colecting more.. I admire the artists drawing the stamps, knowing what they are,
    I have some from different countries all over the world too..
    I don`t know if I have any valuable, guess not..
    I´, collecting coins too, that is, did.. the one I love most is a silver coin, colored, from Palau.. and some silver coins from Norway.
    Haha..well, my children are teasing me for collecting napkins..which was popular in our childhood..not to mention the Norwegian
    10 øre(100 of these were 1 NOK..I was inspried by this “Onkel Skrue” Disney figure who had a huge money bank containing 10-øre=)

  18. Mohammad Reza says:

    Hello there
    It is my first letter for your site. I want to say I love your site and especially I like very much your nice voices. I had a travel to out of my country and I had your podcast in my Cellphone.
    Always you have very good, nice and useful topics here and I want to say thank you very much.
    Have a good time

    From Iran

  19. Ando says:

    I can’t express myself very well.
    Once a time, a english friend of mine came to see me but i am too shy to say more words .
    I feel so sorry and sad.
    I dont want to do this again .

  20. Lassana says:

    Hi Everybody,

    Great story ! thanks Lucy

    When I was young, my teacher taught us what is the philately and how that works.
    I was fascinated by the pictures drawn on top.

    Knowing that a few pieces of paper had been sold at this price, it’s so crazy.
    I’m wondering if I will not myself back !

    See you soon.


  21. Aécio Flávio Perim says:

    New characters coming to us. Wonderful! I have to say that shy ones are not admitted. Let your skills come out and write whatever you think. About colleting things, it is so cool!
    Aecio, from nowhere.

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