The Inverted Jenny: A Treasure Among Treasures

The upside-down plane on the Inverted Jenny stamp is probably America’s most famous postal error. The Inverted Jenny even showed up on The Simpsons in 1993, when Homer finds—and discards—a highly unlikely sheet of the very valuable stamps. Doh!


The sheet includes six Inverted Jenny stamps, reprinted with an updated denomination. Click the image for ordering details.

When William T. Robey purchased a sheet of Inverted Jenny stamps from a Washington, D.C., Post Office on May 14, 1918, stamp collecting was forever changed. It was the only sheet of the misprinted stamps to fall into public hands, and those 100 stamps would be coveted by collectors as only the rarest stamps are.

In honor of the release of the new Inverted Jenny stamp, here’s a look at some other treasures found by stamp collectors.

World’s Most Valuable Stamp: The world’s most valuable stamp is believed to be Swedish Treskilling Yellow, an 1855 stamp that was misprinted in yellow instead of its normal green. In 1996, it was sold in Zurich for 2.8 million Swiss francs, or about 2.3 million U.S. dollars. The stamp was auctioned again in 2010, but the price was not officially disclosed.

World’s Most Valuable Postal Item: An envelope known as the “Bordeaux Letter” was sold at a 1993 auction for 5.7 million Swiss francs, equal to more than 3 million U.S. dollars at the time. The letter bears two of the world’s most valuable stamps, both produced in Mauritius in 1847. Only 500 copies of each stamp were printed, and according to legend, the wife of the Governor of Mauritius used many of those to send out invitations to a ball. The Berlin museum that owns the Bordeaux Letter estimates its value at about five million U.S. dollars.

While the next commemorative stamp you buy may not inspire bidding wars, the experience of pursuing a fun hobby is its own reward—some might say priceless!
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About USPS Stamps

The Postal Service™ is proud of its role in portraying the American experience to a world audience through the issuance of postage stamps and postal stationery. Each year the Postal Service issues commemorative stamps reflecting subjects of national significance and appeal. More than 160 years of stamp development has yielded an incredible archive of imagery and commentary reflecting American culture and society. Even in this fast-changing world, stamps are still a versatile and convenient method of postage. And stamp collecting is a lifetime hobby that is fun and educational for all ages. Stamp collecting is easy to start without a big investment. It is also a great way to learn about the world and its many wonders, opening the door to an exciting universe of history, science, geography, the arts, technology, and sports. Our mission is to provide universal service that is prompt, reliable, efficient, affordable, and self-sustaining. Throughout its history the Postal Service has grown with the nation, binding it together by ensuring that everyone, everywhere, has the same ability to communicate regardless of technological change.