The "Inverted Jenny" stamp.

U.S. Postal Service/Wikimedia Commons

A rare "Inverted Jenny" stamp stolen 61 years ago is set to be officially returned to the library that owns it by U.S. authorities on Thursday.


The 1918 24-cent U.S. stamp features an airplane mistakenly printed upside-down. It will be turned over to the American Philatelic Research Library during the World Stamp Show in New York, the office of Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara said.


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The stamp, considered the most famous in the United States, was one of four stolen from an exhibit by New York arts patron Ethel McCoy in 1955.


Two of the four were recovered in the 1970s and 1980s and returned to the Bellefonte, Pennsylvania-based American Philatelic Research Library, to which McCoy donated all four stamps decades ago.

Its return is scheduled to be announced at a press conference on Thursday afternoon, two days after another "Inverted Jenny" was auctioned for $1.175 million.

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The library has said the recovered stamp could be worth hundreds of thousands of dollars. It was No. 76 on a sheet of 100 and surfaced on April 1 when it was consigned for sale to the auction firm Spink in New York, the research library said.

It was then placed under the jurisdiction of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, which will be among those announcing its return.