After only six weeks following the establishment of airmail service in May of 1918, postal authorities decided to reduce the mandatory rate of 24 cents per ounce to only 16 cents, still to include a 10 cent fee for special delivery service. Postmaster General Order 1617 called for the new rate and new postal issue to be ready by mid-July.
The inaugural rate of 24 cents had been expensive compared to surface mail, even with the War rate of 3 cents in force. Aggressive actions were being planned to expand the airmail service to include other cities, little of which was to take place before September, but the new reduced rate would offer savings.
Plate 8900 produced the entire run of nearly 3.8 million stamps in sheets of 100 subjects. Guidelines and arrows were included, with all sheets sold having the right and bottom margin selvedge cut away as a space saver. They went on sale July 11,1918, to be available for the reduced rate flights beginning July 15. Various shades are known of the green color, primarily a deep green variety. Perforated 11 on unwatermarked paper, the design is identical to the 24-cent value, except for denomination.
Unlike the 24-cent airmail rate, which only lasted two months, the 16-cent Jenny covered the rate period lasting five months, until mid-December of 1918, and stocks remained on sale until fiscal year 1922. As with all Jenny issues, they were valid for any postal use except postage due.
This stamp represents the first postal issue of the United States with 16-cent denomination, and the first single color issue with dual postal obligations.