May 23, 2019
May 23, 2019
Unseen for the last 100 years, one of the famous Jenny Airmail Invert stamps, known around the world to collectors as the stamp with the “Upside Down Airplane,” has now reappeared. It comes to light just in time to celebrate the centennial year of the stamp’s issuance in 1918 at the very beginning of air mail service in the United States.
The stamp was recently submitted to The Philatelic Foundation in New York. The PF’s experience and expertise in authenticating this iconic United States rarity is unrivaled, having previously issued Certificates of Authenticity for 86 of the 100 stamps from the original sheet, including all six of the existing blocks of four.
Matched against the PF’s detailed records, photos, and electronic images, the PF’s expert staff determined that the stamp is the long lost position 49 from the original sheet of 100 that was purchased by collector William T. Robey in a Washington, DC post office in May 1918. The sheet was sold by Robey to stamp dealer Eugene Klein for $15,000, a fortune in those days, and was later broken up for sale to collectors. Klein’s pencil notation, the position number “49” is still visible at the lower right back of the stamp. At NY 2016, the international stamp show held at the Javits Center in New York, an extremely fine example sold at auction for a record $1.3 million dollars.
Many of the Jenny Inverts have small faults, having been repeatedly bought, sold and often mishandled during the last 100 years. However, position 49 is in pristine mint condition. It was held by three generations of an anonymous Chicago area family in a safe deposit box where it remained untouched and, its whereabouts unknown, until now. Because the stamp was never mounted in an album, it is coveted by collectors as a mint, unhinged copy with its original gum. Only six unhinged Jenny Inverts, including this example, are recorded from the original sheet of 100. Based on its centering, bright colors, and its pristine gum, the PF awarded the stamp the Grade of 90 “XF” meaning extremely fine condition. It is the highest graded Jenny Invert which still remains in mint unhinged condition 100 years after it was issued.
On Friday, December 1, 2017, The Philatelic Foundation moved into its new offices located in The Collectors Club in mid-town Manhattan. The PF occupies both the fourth and fifth floors in this storied Stanford White town house. The PF’s experts and support staff occupy the fourth floor with easy elevator access to clients and visitors from the club house’s ground floor foyer. The office of Larry Lyons, the PF’s executive director, is located on the fifth floor, at which its hi-tech expertizing equipment including the VSC6000 and the Bruker XRF Spectrometer are located in a custom designed research area.
We are proud of what we have accomplished in our 72-year history in serving the philatelic community and look forward to a bright future in our new home in the years ahead. Over the past year, the PF’s stature and credibility in the collecting community saw significant recognition in our hobby. A Linn’s Editorial recognized the PF as “one of the world’s esteemed expertizing bodies.” A survey by the American Philatelic Society found that 82.8% of its members selected the PF for its “Reputation,” the highest percentage of any expertizing service in the United States.
Our new mailing address is:
The Philatelic Foundation
22 East 35th Street, 4th Floor, New York, NY 10016
Our phone number, email and web address remain the same. We welcome visitors, so be sure to stop by in the New Year and let us show off our new home!
April 27, 2017
(New York, NY) Two of this country’s leading philatelic institutions, The Collectors Club and The Philatelic Foundation, have entered into an agreement to share space in The Collectors Club’s classic Stanford White town house located on East 35th Street in New York City. The Collectors Club, with a storied history of almost 125 years, will join hands with The Philatelic Foundation on December 1, 2017, when the PF moves its office into two floors of the Club house from which it will conduct its expertizing services.
The Collectors Club, with nearly 800 members, a renowned research library, a monthly speakers’ program, and an award winning journal, The Collectors Club Philatelist, has had its home in the town house since 1937 where collectors have enjoyed the opportunity of meeting with each other, conducting research, attending auction sales and society meetings, sharing their collecting interests and developing life-long philatelic friendships.
The Philatelic Foundation has been this country’s leading expertizing service since its founding in New York in 1945 at the Club house. With a staff of in-house experts, a reference collection of over 240 volumes including the largest collection of U.S. fakes and forgeries, the PF is the only expertizing service in this country to use the latest hi-tech electronic equipment including both the VSC6000 and the Bruker XRF Spectrometer. Since its founding, the PF has issued over 500,000 certificates of authenticity which are available on-line for review, together with a broad array of research materials on its website: www.philatelicfoundation.org.
In joining together under a single roof, the heads of both organizations spoke of their shared interest in ensuring a strong and vibrant future for organized philately. Speaking for The Collectors Club, its president Mark E. Banchik stated that he is “looking forward to the steady stream of visitors to the PF’s offices who will see firsthand, our club house and the many benefits of membership in The Collectors Club as well the opportunity for our members to access the PF’s reference collections while conducting research activities. Speaking on behalf of the PF, its chairman Robert G. Rose, noted “how pleased the PF is to return to The Collectors Club which was its first home in 1945. We at the PF look forward to a growing synergy between our two organizations which we expect will benefit all of philately in this country.”
|Mark E. Banchik, President
The Collectors Club
22 East 35th Street
New York, NY 10016
|Larry Lyons, Executive Director
The Philatelic Foundation
341 West 38th Street, 5th Floor
New York, NY 10018
From the late 1930’s until his death in 1958, Stanley B. Ashbrook was recognized as a leading expert on classic United States stamps and postal history. Throughout that time period, he maintained an extensive correspondence with virtually all of the leading dealers and collectors of which he filed in scrap books. He prepared notes on index cards of both stamps and covers that had come to his attention through his correspondence with dealers and collectors, from auction catalogs, and from his own research and studies. Beginning in the 1950’s he made color slides of stamps and covers which he had examined in the course of his work. Following Ashbrook’s death, the PF acquired all of this massive collection. Carefully maintained over the years, this significant body of research was only available for study at the PF’s offices. Pictured below are the scrap books of correspondence and card files, and a close up of a drawer of index cards as they have been preserved by the PF for nearly 60 years.
In 2016, thanks to a generous grant from the David T. Beals III, Charitable Trust, the PF began the process of the digitization of all of these materials. Now completed, this massive collection has been posted on the PF’s website in support of its educational mission, and through the benefit of technology, made instantly available on-line to all students of philately. The volume of information contained in this collection is truly staggering: 43 scrap books containing over 10,000 images of letters, articles and other documents, 1,200 color slides, and 34 file drawers containing 35,000 3 x 5 index cards organized and arranged by subject. Enjoy the search!
The Philatelic Foundation was the recent recipient of a generous donation of the United States Philatelic Classics Society’s “S.C.R.A.P.” collection that includes a number of faked and fraudulent covers produced by the late John A. Fox and, sold by him to many prominent collectors from the late 1940’s to the early 1960’s. They have been added to the PF’s extensive reference collection. The entire S.C.R.A.P. cover collection can be viewed on the PF’s website. Two of Fox’s faked 1847 Issue covers, which fooled collectors for many years, are pictured below.
The Philatelic Foundation was the recent recipient of a generous donation from the Smithsonian National Postal Museum that included a number of rare United States revenue stamps, including those shown below. They have been added to the PF’s extensive reference collection.
One of the most popular features on the PF’s website is the PF Search program. That program permits a search of the data base of PF Certificates by Scott number. The image of each stamp or cover has been electronically digitized, permitting a visual review of the submission as well as the opinion rendered by the PF’s expert staff. Digitizing the older certificates with black and white photos as well as hand written and typed opinions, had a number of challenges, but that process has now been completed. A new program has been created that begins with the first PF Certificate issued in 1945 through number 112,000. In all, over 540,000 PF Certificates are now available on-line. This data base has already proven invaluable in developing accurate census data for both stamps and covers, describing condition issues, as well as providing an opportunity to visually assess the range of quality, margins and centering for any given stamp. No other expertizing service in the United States provides this service for the benefit of the entire philatelic community
The PF is the only expertizing body in the United States with the latest hi-tech equipment to assist in the authentication process. The VSC6000 uses high definition magnification, differing wave lengths of light, and the application of direct light in a variety of modes. This sophisticated forensic device assists the PF’s staff in confirming the existence of a variety of faults and repairs in both stamps and covers. In addition, the Bruker XRF (X-Ray) Spectrometer is used to determine the elements of the ink used in the printing of stamps. It has proved invaluable in correctly identifying certain stamp issues of similar color but with inks of very different elemental compositions. Other scientific equipment includes stereo and comparison microscopes, paper micrometers, as well as ultraviolet and infrared light sources.
With over 70 years of experience, and having issued over one-half million certificates, the PF has long been recognized as the leading expertizing authority in the United States. Its staff of in-house experts are lifelong collectors with years of professional experience, each of whom brings outstanding expertise to every submission. Our staff has ready access to the PF’s world-wide reference collection of over 240 volumes of stamps and covers, to a comprehensive research library, and to all of the PF’s on-line resources. The result is a panel of professional experts unequalled in knowledge and experience.
A PF Certificate is an opinion of authenticity that allows you to collect, buy, and sell stamps and covers with confidence whether you’re investing $100 or $1,000,000. For peace of mind, your stamps and covers deserve the very best, a PF Certificate. A recent survey by the American Philatelic Society found that 82.8% of its members selected the PF for its “Reputation,” the highest percentage of any expertizing service in the United States.
(New York, NY) On Monday, April 4, 2016, a representative of Spink USA, a leading rare stamp auctioneer, brought a Jenny Invert to The Philatelic Foundation’s New York offices for authentication. The PF is widely regarded in the hobby of stamp collecting for its expertise in authenticating this iconic United States air mail rarity. Over the last 70 years, the PF has issued Certificates of Authenticity for 84 of the 100 stamps from the original error sheet of the “upside down airplane stamp,” including all six of the existing blocks of four.
The PF’s staff immediately began the expertization process led by Executive Director Larry Lyons and Curator Lewis Kaufman. Matched against the PF’s detailed records, photos and electronic scans of the Jenny Inverts, the evidence quickly pointed to the possibility that the stamp was one of the two missing from a famous block of four Jenny Inverts previously owned by Ethel McCoy which was stolen from its exhibition frame in 1955 during an American Philatelic Society convention in Norfolk, Virginia.
The PF staff determined the stamp to be position 76 from the error sheet of 100. At some time following the block’s theft, it was broken into four singles, and then altered in an attempt to disguise identification as stamps from the stolen block. Upon close examination, position 76 was found to have been reperforated at its left side to remove traces of a vertical red guide line that had originally appeared on the tips of its perforations. The American Philatelic Society and law enforcement were immediately notified of the identification of this long lost Jenny Invert.
The Philatelic Foundation, over the past 30 years, has released a series of “Opinions” publications that brings into focus some of the items which are sent into the Philatelic Foundation for expertizing. Items of significant philatelic and financial value are submitted regularly for the Expert Committee’s review. These publications highlight some of the more interesting stories behind these items. Moreover, the authors are some of the most recognized individuals in philately. Each are scanned as a PDF file and are fully text-searchable. Click here to download and read the books.
The Philatelic Foundation has announced a new service for stamps with low market value despite their high catalogue value which really reflect the value of very fine, fault-free examples. Therefore, submitters can expect the same quality and expertise for their stamps without having to pay a high fee for their certificate. The fees, which are still based upon catalogue value are:
A. Catalog value of $5,000.00 to $10,000.00 with an actual fair market value estimate of 25% or less of catalog value due to condition issues, including faults and/or poor centering.
Flat fee of $75.00
Flat fee of 5.5% based on fair market value with minimum fee of $100.00
For each, the submitter is to state the fair market value, subject to revision by PF, if the fair market value is grossly undervalued. Applications are exactly the same and can be found here.
The 3-volume Hawaii Foreign Mail to 1870 was just awarded the Large Gold Medal in the international literature competition at PHILAKOREA 2014, with a special prize for “best in class.”
This honor, together with three major awards won previously, confirms Fred Gregory and the PF as the worldwide authority in the early Hawaii post.
Gregory has made Hawaii postal service research his life’s work, which led to several journal articles and his outstanding website, Post Office in Paradise. Bringing this experience to the PF project, Gregory lays out a clear, compelling narrative on 1,233 golden-edged pages that brings the era to life.
Entertaining and informative, Hawaii Foreign Mail to 1870 details pioneer stampless covers, whalers and missionaries, the use of Hawaii and U.S. postage stamps on Hawaii mail and rates and markings. Maps and illustrations trace the routes Hawaii mail traveled while a comprehensive list of vessel arrivals and departures provides an invaluable reference for determining the authenticity of postal history from this period.
Hawaii Foreign Mail to 1870 also appeals to armchair historians with generous color illustrations and details on the everyday lives of missionaries, ship captains, fur and sandalwood traders, and a relatively isolated island nation emerging as a power player on the world stage. As the StampShow Judges’ noted in their critique, it’s“an outstanding work of depth and wide interest. Clear, easily readable… and thoroughly reliable… This will be the standard reference for a very long time.”
About 20 years ago, experts working on behalf of the Philatelic Foundation began updating Meyer and Harris’ classic 1948 research volume, Hawaii, Its Stamps and Postal History. Our expert consultant, Fred Gregory, took charge of the project over time and its scope changed to become a completely new work.
The result – the ultimate resource for information on Hawaii’s early postal system and the first major work on Hawaiian philately in over half a century.
The Philatelic Foundation is pleased to announce that Carl A. Contiguglia has become a Trustee. Carl is a Managing Director at Morgan Stanley and has provided financial advice and raised capital for large corporate clients globally for 25 years and currently serves as Global Head of the firm’s Natural Resources Group. Carl received his A.B. with distinction from Cornell University’s College of Arts & Sciences and his M.B.A. with distinction from Cornell’s Johnson Graduate School of Management.
Carl is a student of Postmaster Provisionals, Carriers and Locals, Western Expresses, Italian States and Hawaiian Philately.
Carl resides in Manhattan with his wife and two daughters.
The Philatelic Foundation is a not-for-profit educational institution chartered in 1945 to encourage and advance philately. The Foundation engages in a broad range of educational activities including the expertization and authentication of rare stamps and covers and the development of educational projects. The Foundation is located at 341 West 38th Street, New York, NY10018.Website:www.philatelicfoundation.org.
Who are the individuals behind the Philatelic Foundation – the experts, the executive director, the trustees – who continue to keep the high standard of what the Philatelic Foundation has become known for over the many decades of it’s continuing service to philately? Here we interview Mark Schwartz who is one of the Board of Trustees for the Philatelic Foundation.
Collect with Confidence