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Mon, Nov 13, 2006

'Inverted Jenny' Stamp Used For Absentee Ballot

Those Wacky Floridians...

It's understandable you may cringe a little when hearing the words "Florida" and "election" used in the same sentence, even six years after the state immortalized the term 'hanging chad' for posterity. This time around, though, we're not talking about swinging an election... but perhaps the financial fortunes of a voter.

Reuters reports a voter in the Sunshine State sent in his or her absentee ballot in Tuesday's congressional election with far more than just proper postage; in fact, the 1918 Inverted Jenny stamp used on their ballot may be worth over $500,000.

The stamp -- named for the image of a Curtiss JN-4 biplane accidentally printed upside-down -- turned up on Tuesday night in Fort Lauderdale, as election officials inspected ballots from parts of south Florida, said Broward County Commissioner John Rodstrom.

"I thought, 'Oh my God, I know that stamp, I've seen that stamp before,"' said Rodstrom, who was also a novice stamp collector as a boy. "I'd forgotten the name. I just remembered there was a stamp with an upside-down biplane on it and that it was a very rare, rare stamp."

Indeed... only 100 Inverted Jenny stamps have ever been found. An original block of four sold for nearly $3 million at auction last year -- a far cry from the original 87 cent price in 1918.

In an even more ironic -- some may say "2000-esque" -- twist, the absentee ballot sent using the stamp was voided... as the envelope had no return address, and officials had no way to verify the voter's identity.

"It's now government property," Rodstrom said of the stamp. Talk about phrases that make you cringe...

FMI: www.usps.com

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