In the past few weeks, there have been loads of things going on with key collectibles — some of which I've written about. Time to update a few of these stories ...
First, the inverted "Jenny" re-release of the famed 1918, 24-cent stamp reinvented as a new $2 issue. This is the sheet of six stamps repeating the famous upside-down airplane. When William Robey discovered it in 1918, it drew national acclaim as a major error. Collectors continue to covet the rarity with the current price for a single stamp upward of $500,000.
While the Postal Service (then known as the U.S. Postal Department) wasn't thrilled about having produced the original error, it clearly drew many to the hobby of stamp collecting. It was surely hoped the 2014 reprint of that stamp in 100 sheets of the noninverted variety would do the same.
It's hard to say if it has or hasn't. But stamp dealers are certainly eager to buy one of the sheets. Currently, they are paying between $25,000 and $35,000 apiece for the small sheet of six stamps if the image is not inverted.
As of this writing, out of the 100 noninverted variety of sheets printed and salted into the inventories of post offices nationwide, only 20 sheets have been found. That means 80 sheets with a minimum combined value of $2,000,000 are still waiting to be found.
The best part, unlike a lottery ticket — which, if not a winner, has no value — should you buy one or several sheets of the stamps and they turn out not to be the rare non-invert, they still are entirely valid as postage. So you really can't lose. I continue to buy them in hopes of getting one of the rarities!
I am thrilled to report the U.S. Mint has determined and declared the $10 million in rare gold coins found by a California couple in a number of old cans on their property is NOT the loot taken from a 1901 robbery at the San Francisco Mint. Readers may remember there was the possibility that the government might confiscate the coins if it believed them to be from the robbery.
Although most of the records and inventory of that theft are gone, the types of coins and their condition was evidence enough that they did not match. That's a relief, considering a face value amount of $30,000 of gold was stolen from the Mint, and $29,980 was in the discovered hoard.
So, as of now, the couple is able to keep the coins now valued at $10 million. Of course, the tax consequences of the find is said to be quite high, but something is better than nothing.
Finally, a quick check of the calendar reveals 2014 is the 50th anniversary of one of the most popular coins produced in modern times. The Kennedy half dollar first made its appearance just months after the president's assassination in November 1963. When introduced, it became one of the most iconic numismatic tributes of all time. Insofar as value, it remains one of the most asked about when collectors go to sell their holdings.
It's still produced but is only seen in annual Mint or Proof collector sets. But, wait! In honor of its 50th anniversary, the U.S. Mint is issuing multiple incarnations of that famous coin design. In addition to special copper/nickel and silver coins, the Mint will soon produce a new "1964-2014" pure .9999 gold variety. The gold coin will be the same size and thickness of a standard Kennedy half but weigh roughly three-quarters of an ounce.
It's not clear exactly when and how many of the various coins will be struck. But, judging from the continued fascination people have for the U.S. version of Camelot, as well as fond memories for one of the first coins they ever earned or collected, it's safe to say the commemoratives will be most popular. I'll be sure to keep you posted as the release date grows near.
Editor's Note: A JPEG visual of a proof Kennedy half dollar design has been sent with this column.
To find out more about Peter Rexford and features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate Web page at www.creators.com.