The U.S. Postal Service has had plenty of missteps in recent years, contributing to the agency’s near bankruptcy. So maybe it’s a little surprising that the USPS has intentionally repeated one of its most famous errors ever.
Not to worry — the reissue of the 1918 “inverted Jenny” is intended to attract visitors to the latest addition to the Smithsonian Institution. The William H. Gross Stamp Gallery will house the world’s largest stamp collection.
And with 2 million printed, selling for $2 each, the stamp should actually bring some revenue to the cash-strapped agency from collectors.
Presumably the Smithsonian’s new gallery will display the original 24-cent stamp, one of the most valuable in the world. Only one sheet of 100 stamps was sold before postal officials discovered the printing error — the rest were destroyed.
The stamp celebrated the nation’s first airmail delivery, which didn’t go off particularly well, either. The pilot became lost soon after takeoff and eventually crash-landed about 25 miles away.
The re-issue seems particularly timely in this error-prone period for the federal government. Not all mistakes, however, have such serious consequences as the debt ceiling crisis and the ongoing Obamacare debacle.
The most recent auction of an authentic “inverted Jenny,” brought the owner nearly $1 million.
Incidentally, the postal service reprinted 100 sheets with the Curtiss JN-4 biplane right side up, a savvy move sure to encourage young stamp collectors. The Washington Post reports that so far only two sheets of the newly created rarity have been found.
Start looking, kids.