The CIA invert is the one of the most well known inverted color errors in United States collecting; only to the famous Inverted Jenny, C3a, is more widely sought. These stamps were discovered by an on-duty CIA employee who teamed up with some colleagues to purchase the pane from a post office. Saving a copy each, the group later sold the bulk of the sheet to a prominent stamp dealer. News of the error reached CIA officials who sought to claim ownership and US Postal authorities who tried to recover the stamps. Official queries, threats, and even job loses followed the group until the sale of the pane was ruled legal. The stamps have remained in philatelic hands ever since. Today, these stamps are listed in the Scott stamp catalog as #1610c and carry a catalog value of $14,500/ea. They have been nationally offered by a major stamp dealer at $15,000.00 and offered online as high as $22,000.00.
100 of these stamps (a complete pane) certainly existed at one point, about 90 are accounted for today. Because the number of existing CIA inverts approximately equals the number of existing Inverted Jennies (C3a), many speculate that current values for 1610c are far too low; examples of C3a regularly bring six-figure sums at auction.
From the beginning, one dealer has been the main source for examples of 1610c. That dealer's supply is certainly near exhaustion today; when that source is depleted, prices for this rarity may soar! Very few stamps can be considered true investments, the CIA Invert is one of them!
|US Scott #1610c, brown inverted, Extremely Fine centering, Post-office fresh, Never Hinged
with Philatelic Foundation certificate.