Stamp used on Florida ballot a fake

MIAMI Mon Dec 4, 2006 7:19pm EST

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MIAMI (Reuters) - A stamp that first appeared to be a rare 1918 "Inverted Jenny," used by a Florida voter to mail an absentee ballot, is a counterfeit, experts said on Monday.

The blue and red stamp, which took its name from an image of a biplane accidentally printed upside down, was spotted by a county commissioner in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, last month on an envelope that contained a ballot for the November 7 election.

The find caused a stir among stamp collectors. Only 100 of the misprinted stamps have ever been found, making them rare in the world of philately.

An Inverted Jenny stamp could be worth $300,000, experts have said. A block of four was traded recently for another rare stamp in a transaction valued at nearly $3 million.

Experts examined the stamp on Monday at the behest of the Broward County Elections office.

"To a trained philatelist, it's pretty obvious that it's a counterfeit," Randy Shoemaker of Professional Stamp Experts, a stamp grading service, told reporters at a news conference in Broward County.

Mercer Bristow, an expert with the American Philatelic Society who also examined the stamp, said both the printing method and the perforations on the edge of the stamp gave it away as a fake.

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