US & Canada

Rare stolen US stamp returned after 60 years

American Philatelic Society executive director Scott D. English holds an "Inverted Jenny," Image copyright AP
Image caption The Inverted Jenny was stolen from a New York art show in 1955

A rare American stamp stolen more than 60 years ago has been returned to its rightful owner.

The 1918 24-cent Inverted Jenny features a biplane misprinted upside down.

It is one of a block of four taken in 1955 from a display case at a stamp collecting convention in New York.

In April, it resurfaced at an auction house after being submitted by an Irish man who had inherited it from his grandfather.

The Inverted Jenny - said to be worth at least $175,000 (£120,000) - is now safely back with the American Philatelic Research Library, which has now recovered three of the four stamps taken in the original theft.

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption The rare stamp features a biplane misprinted upside down.

Keelin O'Neill, who received $50,000 in reward money, inherited the stamp after his grandfather bought it, possibly at a car boot sale in Ireland, the library said.

Mr O'Neill said he had had "no idea" about the stamp's history and importance.

"It was scary more than anything. When I found out, I was contacted by the FBI, so I didn't know what was the story, what is the stamp, or why I was being contacted. So it was nerve-wracking, but it certainly got easier from there," he said.

Library administrator Scott English said how the stolen stamp found its way to Ireland remained a mystery.

"The bigger mystery is there is still one more stamp out there," he added, appealing for information.

On Tuesday, an Inverted Jenny sold for more than $1m (£700,000) at auction in New York.

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption One of the four stolen stamps remains unrecovered