|One of the most common printing errors - the so-called "inverted" stamp. When the stamps were printed in two or three colors, it happened sometimes that, after printing one color (this is called the run), a piece of paper goes into the machine upside down for the second run. As a result, some elements of the stamp are inverted (for example, the picture might be reverted inside the frame).
This is a typical printing mistake, which must actually be destroyed. But it happens that such freak-stamps in some way, sometimes illegally, get to the philatelists. A classic example is the stamps, issued in the United States - they are depicting a ship, a train and a car from the series of 1900, dedicated to the American Exhibition, and one of the first airmail stamps of the United States, issued in 1918 with the inverted airplane.
Some examples of such a mistakes are not so old. For example, in 1962 by the U.S. Mail there was released a stamp, dedicated to the anniversary of the death of UN Secretary-general - Dag Hammarskjold, who died in a plane crash. In a small part of the circulation the yellow background of the stamps has been inverted. On these stamps next to the UN building there appeared a white rectangle. These stamps accidentally fell into the hands of Leonard Sherman from Irvington, who wanted to earn a good money out of this. But the General Postmaster of the United States had intervened, ordering to print the inverted stamp in a large quantities in order to prevent any speculations. Sherman, believing that this is violating his right for the "legitimated business", went to the court, but it still ended with the publication of erroneous copies. By the way, many other postal administrations are often issuing the additional circulations of the erroneous stamps.
After the scandal with the stamp of Hammarskjold, the General Postmaster of the United States adopted a series of emergency measures to prevent any recurrence of printing mistakes in the future. On each printed sheet on the left side there was made a perforation, which made it impossible for the paper to go inside the printing machine in the wrong position. The machine was fitted with a special "electronic finger", which had to discover the lack of a perforated strip and automatically stop the printing process. The new measures appeared to be quite effective. Now while printing multi-million circulations of stamps, American printers very rarely are making this kind of mistakes. More than 20 years later there was made a similar mistake. In 1986 the U.S. mail issued a stamp depicting a candlestick with a lighted candle and circle around the fire. The mistake here lies in the fact that the images of candle holders, candles, and text printed in dark brown ink are inverted with respect to the background and a mug. This was discovered when someone was buying stamps in one of the Post offices of Virginia. The case has received publicity when a well-known philatelic auction firm D. Schiff met a couple of customers, offering a partial sheet (85 pieces) of such stamps. They pointed out where the stamps were purchased. It turned out that five stamps were left at the post office, 9 were stuck to the letter before the error was detected, and one stamp was damaged. The transaction took place anyway - to the mutual satisfaction of both sides. At the auction during the exhibition "Ameripeks" in Chicago Schiff received 5000 dollars for one of those stamps, and soon on another auction it was sold for 16,000 dollars. American journalists found out that this incomplete list was sold to Schiff by... CIA. Buying a stamp, they discovered the mistake and decided to "warm their hands" on it, sharing the considerable revenue. This story, especially the participation of the CIA, has caused such a sensation that the American media - of course, somewhat exaggerating - until now call it "a stamp-gate".