Inverted Jenny flying right side up again

There’s no question the United States Postal Service, like the country as a whole, is dealing with some serious money problems. But did we really have to stoop to this?

You’re no doubt aware of the reissue of the famous Inverted Jenny stamps last month, and you probably know that unlike the originals, which had a face value of 24 cents, the new stamps have a face value of $2. The official USPS line is that this is “to make them easily distinguishable from the 24-cent originals” (source).

I know, I can’t write that without laughing a little bit myself. If the self-adhesive format in which the reprints were issued didn’t clue someone in on their status, surely the “2013” date to the left of the design would. The only reason to issue the stamp with a $2 face value (instead of the original value or even as a “Forever” stamp) is to separate us collectors from our cash. I can accept that. I’ve ordered a single sheet myself, though I intend to keep no more than one stamp for my collection, and will use the others for postage.

What really takes the cake, though, is that 100 sheets of the Inverted Jenny reissue were printed with the airplane right side up. What do you call a stamp originally issued inverted when it is intentionally issued normally? An inverted invert? Or is it just normal, even though it’s much scarcer than the inverted variety? (Is your head hurting yet?)

The “normal” stamps are available for sale, but you can’t order them. You see, the special sheets have been placed into the stocks of regular inverts (if that makes sense), which means there’s a chance you’ll end up with one when you purchase what you think is a sheet of inverts. Not much of a chance, but a chance.

It will be interesting to see if the editors of the Scott catalogues assign the special “normal” stamps a catalogue number, or if they’re only mentioned in a footnote. While they don’t appear to be an additional attempt to grab money (unlike the press sheets of many issues being sold without die-cuts), I am myself rather unimpressed with the idea. Only 600 of these stamps exist—an intentionally created rarity arguably designed to spur sales of the stamps (with the aforementioned face value of $2 a stamp, or $12 a sheet). That, to my mind, smacks of the shenanigans of a producer of so-called wallpaper.

What do you think of the “normal” Inverted Jenny? Would you pay potentially far more than face value to a dealer in order to add one to your own collection?

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