1905 5c “Inverted Elephant”

This is an attempt to reassemble “in silico” the only known sheet of one of Liberia’s most wanted errors, the 5c ultramarine and black definitive stamp of 1905 with the elephant vignette being inverted relative to the frame. While it’s not the only inverted elephant Liberia has to offer, it is by far the rarest. Listed in Scott as number 62a, this stamp was effectively unavailable to collectors for many decades until 1973 when the sheet was purchased and broken up by the well known Canadian dealer Kasimir Bileski.

Advertisement of 1974

Bileski’s comparison of Liberia #62a with U.S.A. #C3a is particularly interesting as it shows the degree to which the value of a stamp is determined by supply and demand; while the Liberian error with even 40 copies less than its more famous counterpart is catalogued at $1500 (Scott 2015), the price of the “Inverted Jenny” has now reached half a million dollars! At least four blocks of four have existed – three corner blocks including the unique number block and one margin block which has been split up now – apparently originating from Bileski’s sheet which was pictured in Lothar von Saleski’s specialized catalog and Philip Cockrill’s Liberia series booklet no. 25. In their accounts on Scott #62a, both Cockrill and von Saleski mention a single stamp being known used, suggesting the existence of a second sheet. But, apart from these anecdotal reports no proof is given. Using the perforation and centering as guide, all stamps I've seen so far can easily be plated to Bileski’s sheet, with no two stamps plating to the same position.
Please if you are the proud owner of a copy of Scott #62a, even if you are not able to send me a scan of your stamp: every bit of information helps!

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