Upside Down Is Right Side Up In The Stamp Business
When it comes to certain collectibles, the error is worth more than the perfect copy. Tomorrow an auction puts over 3,000 mistakes up for sale. A stamp collection gathered by a Pittsburgh stockbroker, the late Robert H. Cunliffe may bring in more than $4 million. Dallas-based Spink Shreves Galleries is auctioning off the collection on June 18 and 19 at the Spink Shreves New York City Auction Galleries. Charles Shreve, president of Spink Shreves Galleries says that it is the most comprehensive collection of inverted centers and printings ever created.
Inversion occur when there are several different colors printed on a stamp in different press runs. Most of the time these printing switches go off without a hitch but everyone in a while a sheet gets flipped upside-down between press runs and that's when the magic happens. These rare inversions become instant collector's items.
Cunliffe's collection includes an "inverted Jenny," perhaps the most famous of the inversions. The U.S. stamp from 1918 features an upside-down biplane. We've seen some inverted Jenny stamps sell for nearly a million dollars but this one is expected to bring of at least $125,000 to $150,000. Shown above is a strip of four U.S. stamps from 1901 featuring an upside-down electric automobile which may sell for over $300,000.