There is no stamp – perhaps no collectible in general – more famous than the legendary #C3a, or the “Inverted Jenny,” as it’s more commonly known. And there is, perhaps, no “Jenny” more famous than the one that Colonel E.H.R. “Ned” Green placed in a locket for his beloved wife, Mabel, in 1918.
That renowned locket will be one of the highlights of the Heritage/Bennett Signature® New York Rare Stamps Auction, taking place at The Four Seasons Hotel, 57 East 57th Street, in New York City, this Dec. 11-13.
“To have an opportunity to handle this legendary locket,” said Harvey Bennett, Director of Philately at Heritage Auctions, “is not only exciting, but actually, quite moving.”
Colonel E.H.R. “Ned” Green (Aug. 22, 1868 – June 8, 1936) was famously the son of notorious miser Hetty Green, also known as “The Witch of Wall Street,” the richest woman in America at the time. Upon her death in 1916, Green inherited her $150 million fortune. He was already plenty famous and wealthy in his own right for his personal exploits and business acumen, and as the President of America’s most prosperous short line railroad, the Texas Midland. Green, incidentally, also made the first long distance automobile trip in Texas, a journey of just more than 30 miles.
With the death of his mother, and a substantial new fortune, Green quickly became the most important collector in the nation, assembling a stamp collection that was rivaled only by the King of England, George V. One of his most important acquisitions occurred when he bought the unique sheet of the “Jennies.” Green purchased the complete sheet for $20,000 from Eugene Klein who had, in his turn, acquired it from the discoverer of the printing error, William T. Robey.
“Col. Green correctly understood the enormous value to stamp collectors,” said Bennett, “He broke the sheet into blocks and singles, which he intended to sell, and held on to a few large multiples – plus the straight edge copies – for himself. One of those examples he had encased in this gold locket for his wife Mabel.”
Green had given his wife many valuable gifts, such as the $625,000 he gave her on their wedding day. The locket, however, must have held some significant sentimental value. Although the rest of Green’s stamps were sold upon his death in 1936, Mabel saved the locket until her own demise in 1950.
While Col. Green “Jenny” Locket is the highlight lot of the Heritage Auctions Dec. 11-13 Rare Stamps auction in New York City, collectors will quickly note that it is not the only #C3a in the sale, as Heritage/Bennett has secured another rare and important “Inverted Jenny,” this one position #73, for the auction, making this a rare day in Philately indeed when two different copies of the most famous collectible in the world will cross the auction block.
“Our December auction is really shaping up,” said Bennett. “We have such a wide range of interesting and serious philately. We have numerous historical items- including Colonial newspapers sent by mail- in the award-winning collection of Ron Cipolla for our ‘Exhibition Collection’ series, and for our Signature auction we have one more ‘Inverted Jenny’ besides the Col. Green locket copy, gem stamps, Balloon Mail and Confederate and British North America stamps and covers – truly something for everyone.”
Heritage Auctions, headed by Steve Ivy, Jim Halperin and Greg Rohan, is the world’s third largest auction house, with annual sales more than $700 million, and 470,000+ registered online bidder members. For more information about Heritage Auctions, and to join and gain access to a complete record of prices realized, along with full-color, enlargeable photos of each lot, please visit www.HA.com