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Jenny, is that you?

Call it a gimmick if you will, say it won't fly, but the United States Postal Service has turned stamp collecting upside down once more by reissuing the most famous error in its history, the 1918 "Inverted Jenny.''

Issued May 10, 1918, in sheets of 100 stamps, the 24-cent stamp featured a red border with a blue center image of the Curtiss JN-4 airplane.

Because of the two-color process, the sheets of stamps were fed through the printing press twice, which led to the error. But only one sheet of the inverted image stamps got into circulation, and it was bought by collector William T. Robey.

Subsequently divided into blocks of four and individual stamps, the Inverted Jenny diffused throughout the stamp collecting world, fetching ever larger sums at auction and in deals among collectors, and capturing the imagination and dreams of enthusiasts for generations.

This time around, the USPS put a $2 face value on the Inverted Jenny, and, working from the original plates, printed them in sheets of six stamps, upside-down.

All, that is, except 100 sheets, which were printed right-side up. The sheets are packaged so buyers can't see them until they buy them.

We imagine the ranks of stamp collectors have thinned considerably over the years, what with the rise of email, the decline of the personal letter and the plethora of other hobbies and distractions available to today's youth.

But we'll give the USPS full marks for this promotional effort, which marks a change from their usual practice of trying to keep errors and rarities out of circulation.

If need be, we'll be standing on our head to get to the our local post office for a chance to take our lick at philatelic history.
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Title Annotation:Editorials
Publication:Telegram & Gazette (Worcester, MA)
Article Type:Editorial
Date:Oct 13, 2013
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