When it comes to philately, there’s one stamp that flies above all others: the “Inverted Jenny.” The world’s most sought-after stamp, the upside-down 24-cent stamp, soared to new heights when it sold for $2 million, a new record for a U.S. stamp, at New York’s Robert A. Siegel Auction Galleries Nov. 8.

An “Inverted Jenny”, the most valuable U.S. stamp just sold for $2 million at auction. Photo courtesy Robert A. Siegel Auction Galleries

“This is not only a record-breaking price for a single Inverted Jenny, but the first time a single United States stamp has ever brought more than $2 million at auction. It is a historic moment for the entire hobby, as well as our auction house,” Scott Trepel, Siegel’s president, said.

The stamp was produced in 1918 to commemorate the introduction of the U.S. postal service’s first airmail delivery between New York City, Philadelphia, and Washington, D.C. It featured a Curtiss JN-4 or “Jenny”, the same plane set to deliver the mail the following day, and was printed in carmine rose and deep blue. It became an instant collector’s item when a single sheet of 100 stamps was sold with the Jenny printed in error, flying upside down. The stamp’s value skyrocketed almost instantly after it was originally printed. Copies of the stamp have sold at several auctions in recent decades.

The record-setting stamp was purchased by collector Charles Hack, 76. He told The Washington Post that he has been eyeing the coveted stamp since he was a child, calling it the “holy grail of postage.”

In 2013, the U.S. Postal Service reissued the famous stamp, selling them for a modest $2 each.

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