FAIRFIELD — Local bookstore owner Robert Sezak got a $50,000 windfall last week when a set of rare U.S. Postal Service stamps was sold to an absentee bidder at an auction in Fairfield.

The item at the auction, held last Tuesday, was a set of six “upright Jenny” stamps put out by the Postal Service three years ago. The stamps are a nod to the inverted Jenny, the most famous printing mistake in Postal Service history.

While he realized a huge profit on the $12 sheet of stamps, Sezak said he thought the bidding could have gone higher.

“I was hoping it would go for more. A couple of people told me it would for $80,000,” he said Tuesday. With the slump in the stock market, however, he was prepared for a lower bid.

There were no bids on the floor at the James D. Julia auction house in Fairfield and all the bids were absentee, Sezak said. The winning bid was confidential, and he doesn’t know who ended up with the stamps.

In an email Wednesday, Megan Noyes, the administrative manager of the auction house, said the stamp set was sold for $59,205, which included a buyer’s premium, a percentage fee the auctioneer charges the auction winner.

The Postal Service printed the rerun of the inverted Jenny in 2013 to commemorate the original. In 1918, the Postal Service released its first 24-cent airmail stamp, which featured a Curtiss JN-4H biplane, but 100 stamps in the original 2.2 million run were printed upside down and immediately became collectors items.

When the postal service released its contemporary version of the accidental stamp, it hid 100 sheets of stamps with the biplane upright in the 2.2 million stamps released to the public.

Sezak, who uses the $2 stamps to send books from Re-Books, his used-book store on the Concourse in Waterville, started searching for his upright Jenny after he heard about the secret release. In November, he finally got his wish, buying the rare stamps during a trip to the post office.

He doesn’t have any special plans for spending the money other than paying bills and maybe squirreling some away for a rainy day, Sezak said.

The experience hasn’t turned Sezak into a stamp collector. He just saw an opportunity to find a rarity through his regular trips to the post office. That doesn’t mean he isn’t a collector at heart. As a bookseller, getting hold of exceptionally rare volumes such as a first edition of “Tamerlane,” Edgar Allan Poe’s first work, or “Maggie: A Girl of the Streets,” by Stephen Crane, is a constant quest.

“I’m still looking for a Holy Grail of books,” Sezak joked.

Peter McGuire — 861-9239

[email protected]

Twitter: @PeteL_McGuire

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