The idea for creating the “misprinted misprint,” came to light after the Postmaster General mentioned the stamp to customer groups shortly after it was previewed in January.
“Our customers were enthusiastic about printing a new version of the most publicized stamp error in U.S. history as a great way to spur interest in stamp collecting,” said Donahoe. “Some jokingly commented that we should be careful to avoid repeating the same mistake of nearly a century ago. That was the impetus behind this initiative. What better way to interest a younger generation in stamp collecting?”
Donahoe added that the stamp serves to communicate the Post Office Department’s role in developing the nation’s commercial aviation industry. Air mail turned out to be one of its most successful innovations.
“By showing that air travel could be safe and useful, we helped create the entire American aviation industry, which went on to reshape the world,” Donahoe said.
Pan Am, TWA, American, United, Northwest, and other airlines originated as air mail contractors before passenger service began. Additionally, to help commercial aviation get off the ground and to speed the mail, the Post Office Department helped develop navigational aids such as beacons and air-to-ground radio. Today, the Postal Service continues as the commercial aviation industry’s largest freight customer. Mail also flies on FedEx and UPS cargo aircraft.
Two eerie occurrences took place surrounding the nation’s first airmail flight that took place 1918. The pilot got lost, flew in the wrong direction and crashed. And due to a printing error of the 24-cent Curtiss Jenny airmail stamp created to commemorate the historic event, the biplane was depicted flying upside down on a single sheet of 100 stamps that was sold to the public.
In 1918, in a rush to celebrate the first airmail flight, the Post Office Department issued the 24-cent Curtiss Jenny stamp. Because the design required two colors, sheets were placed on the printing press twice — first to apply red ink and a second time to apply blue ink. This process was given to human error — as stamp collectors at the time well knew.