HELL’S KITCHEN — A stamp made world-famous — and expensive — by a printing error will go to the highest bidder at the first New York City-based international stamp show in 50 years.
A high-quality “Inverted Jenny” — one of 100 air mail stamps issued by the United States Postal Service in 1918 that accidentally depicted a “Jenny” airplane upside down — is expected to bring in more than half a million dollars at the World Stamp Show-NY2016, marketing and public relations chairman Thomas Fortunato said.
The city is hosting the once-in-a-decade show for the first time since 1956, after beating out Columbus, Ohio, for the American Philatelic Society board’s vote in an “extremely close race,” he added.
Along with the “Inverted Jenny,” philatelists and amateur stamp collectors alike will be able to view and purchase thousands of other stamps at the show, which kicks off a week-long run at the Javits Center on May 28.
Coveted collectibles like the first adhesive postage stamp, known as the “Penny Black,” and the 1856 British Guiana One Cent Magenta — a one-of-a-kind stamp shoe designer Stuart Weitzman bid $9.48 million for in an 2014 auction — are among those that will be on display to the public.
“This is kind of like the Olympics of stamps,” Fortunato said. “It literally brings out the best of the best when it comes to stamp exhibiting and stamp collection.”
More than 200 dealers and postal administrations will be on hand to sell to and buy stamps from attendees, while “competitive exhibits” showcasing “the best from collections around the world” will vie for medals and awards, Fortunato said.
The show will feature several “first day ceremonies” during which the USPS and the United Nations Postal Administration will introduce new stamps to the world, including a “Classics Forever” collection that features new versions of six of the earliest American-issued stamps.
It will also offer stamp-themed seminars and “youth and beginner” activities, including a “philatelic passport” activity in which patrons can visit the booths of postal administrations from around the world, collect a stamp and get it officially “cancelled” by the administration itself.
"Inverted Jenny" fans hoping to see the inspiration behind stamp, meanwhile, can view a restored Curtiss JN-4H “Jenny” biplane, which will be on display in the Javits Center lobby for the duration of the show.
The show, which runs until June 4, will be free and open to the public.
“We who are collectors really cannot talk enough about a big show like this,” Fortunato said. “And we’re all very pleased it will be in one of the greatest cities in the country.”