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Sale of stamps brings in millions

It’s believed that stamp collecting has been around since stamps were first introduced in Great Britain in 1840. Since then many unique, inspiring and innovative stamps have been created, used for postage, and added to collections around the world. For some, like the late Robert H. Cunliffe, stamp collecting is a passion, and as the recent auction of his collection proves, a stamp originally sold for a few cents can possibly be worth millions.
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The most recent Spink Shreves Galleries auction drew a lot of interest from collectors and the media alike, as some wondered what an “inverted Jenny” is, and others wondered just how much it would sell for. At the end of the two-day auction when the gavel fell for the final time, “inverted Jenny” and her 3,000+ fellow stamps sold for a combined $5 million dollars, according to a June 19 Associated Press article.


The collection, gathered by the late Robert H. Cunliffe over the course of 50-plus years, featured many rare and valuable inverted stamps, according to the Associated Press article. In the hobby of collecting U.S. stamps or philately, an inverted stamp is created when different colors and elements are printed in separate press runs and a sheet gets flipped upside-down between press runs.

More than 300 buyers, from around the world, walked away as the winning bidders in the two-day auction, each taking a piece the late Pittsburgh stockbroker’s diligent passion and a piece of history. It was one of the most comprehensive collections of inverts ever formed, Charles Shreve, president of Spink Shreves Galleries said.

“What really blows people away is how many rarities he has one after the other,” Shreve said, according to the Associated Press article.

Among the auction highlights was the sale of a strip of four 1901 stamps featuring an upside-down electric automobile, which sold, with the buyer’s premium, for $300,000, Shreve was quoted as saying in the article. He went on to say the most surprising sale was a 1902 Russian stamp with an inverted center. The stamp had a catalogued value of $5,500 and sold for $115,000.

The rich history and detail of design associated with stamps and stamp collecting is undeniable. In his new book Warman’s® U.S. Stamps Field Guide, author Maurice D. Wozniak gives you the basic background of stamp collecting, including its history, reasons for collecting, insight about determining which stamps to collect, where to look for stamps, how to judge the quality of stamp, and how to handle and care for stamps in your collection. All of that is covered before you even get to the actual stamps – which are represented by more than 4,200+ listings and 900 color photos.


In this one compact and affordable book you gain access to listings for U.S. stamps from 1847-2008, including airmail postage from 1918-2007. Arranged by years, this book (which is available for shipping after July 20) takes you through the history of U.S. stamps with ease and expertise. From now until July 20 you receive FREE SHIPPING* when you preorder your copy of this book at Plus, with every day discounts at you will pay $10.19, which is a 22% savings over the retail price of $14.99. Be sure to use Coupon Code NMNBART6239 when you order, to receive your savings at checkout. *Free shipping is available to U.S. addresses only, using standard shipping methods.

Image captions (from top):

Cover from Maurice D. Wozniak's Warman’s® U.S. Stamps Field Guide.

This block of four Creatures of the Sea stamps, issued in 1995, is valued at $8.50 unused.

In honor of the 25th anniversary of the First Moon Landing the U.S. Postal Service released this $9.95 Moon Landing stamp in 1994, along with a 25 cent stamp commemorating the landing. Today the $9.95 stamp is worth $29 unused and $10 in used condition.

Photos from Warman’s® U.S. Stamps Field Guide.