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BRITISH VIRGIN ISLANDS
1986 ROYAL WEDDING of PRINCE ANDREW and SARAH FERGUSON STAMP ISSUES

Information and Reference of What was Found in the Format Archive and Elsewhere

Varieties and Proofs

Would YOU store YOUR specialized 1986 Royal Wedding Uncut Press Sheets this way?

Example of how the 1986 Royal Wedding Police Evidence Stock was Stored
British Virgin Islands 1986 Royal Wedding (1st issue) Stamps
THE SOUVENIR SHEET
British Virgin Islands 1986 Royal Wedding (1st issue) Souvenir Sheet
Marquee for Golowe's Reference Site on the Format International Security Printers

Dangerous modern fakes of this issue appearing first in 2015 are on the market. They have the correct perf size!
Visit the linked page to define all of them and what to avoid.

The Newly Discovered 1986 Royal Wedding Forgeries.View my Page on how to Define the Newly Discovered 1986 Royal Wedding Forgeries here.
The 1986 Royal Wedding stamps issued for the British Virgin Islands have several interesting twists. The single stamp pair issues are watermarked. They also exist unwatermarked. The watermarked paper shows that they were issued under the Crown Agents contracts thus not following the PDC contract rules for sole right to reprint the stamps. Yet they were obviously reprinted on unwatermarked paper. So we must theorize that the reprinting was authorized in some way. Perhaps the Crown Agents contract was purchased by the PDC or given to them. We may never know why because all records seem to be destroyed.

Both catalogs (Scott and Stanley Gibbons) are in error and conflict on this issue for the British Virgin Islands.
As of the time of this writing the following holds true on both catalogs and I will show what to correct.

1. Scott does not state anything about watermarks.
    Stanley Gibbons only shows sub-numbers for inverted watermarks on the 35c.

Both values exist watermarked and unwatermarked.
Both values have watermark varieties.
The 35c has inverted watermarks.
The $1 value has watermark reading up and reading down.
Because of the formation of the press sheets 25% having inverted watermarks exist, therefore, there price difference should be at least four times as high as normal watermarked versions.

Another twist is unlike the SPECIMEN overprint stamps for Montserrat which seem to only exist in the small block letter reprints, the British Virgin Island SPECIMEN overprinted stamps seem to only exist with the large italic style from original printing.

And then finally it is interesting that there was never issued the 2nd issue. Evidence shows that the stamps were produced with both silver and gold overprints.
Inverts exist of both silver and gold overprints.

Next I present the story about the tete-beches. It is an interesting story.

THE STORY

This part of the presentation is repeated on all the Eastern Hemisphere pages, so you can skip to the reprint section if you have already read this part.

The story began back in 1991 with the sale of the Format International Security Printers Archive due to the bankruptsy proceedings which caused the liquidation of the companies assets including the archive. At the time the trials against the company and affiliated companies and owners for the said fraudulent reprinting and production of varieties which was proven to be found not guilty of all charges was also happening. The British Metropolitan Police made numerous raids on the companies including raiding the printing company and confiscating anything that looked like stamp errors. They took several tons of philatelic material including progressive color proofs, specimen overprinted, imperforate proofs, on and on from the companies and the archive. Mainly involving the countries involved in the trials including Tuvalu and the islands, St. Vincent and dependencies, St. Lucia, Nevis, etc;.

The materials left in the archive were sold via Christie's/Robson Lowe in private treaties and several public auctions with the final auction being made in 1995. One of the major buyers of the archive was Mr. Kasimir Bileski, a famous stamp dealer in Canada. In his purchases he acquired the majority of uncut press sheets from all the countries involved in the 1986 Royal Wedding Omnibus Series. He became fascinated by the tete-beche formation of the sheets and began a heavy research into what they were for and what existed. He studied them among hundred's of other studies for around 16 years before his passing. In the sale of the archive several other dealers obtained some of the sheets and Mr. Bileski for years tried and did in fact locate and purchase most of them from them to reunite with his own.

I have produced a PDF file with Different Bileski Write-ups on the 1986 Royal Wedding Tete-beches. Most have never been seen publicly. You can download and read them here.

The Bileski Documents on the 1986 Royal Wedding Tete-beches

It is interesting here to note that during all this time it was unknown about the existence of the materials that were confiscated for the trials of the printer of which included a large quantity of the uncut press sheets and such of the Omnibus Series in many forms. I wish to note the exciting news at this point that not very many (if at all) uncut press sheets of the normal issued stamp pairs from the islands of Tuvalu were confiscated!

My interest in the series began in about 1998 when in my dealings with Mr. Bileski, he sent me a "bonus gift" in one of my purchases of a set of the tete-beche pairs from all of the countries involved. I followed his research and after his passing have carried it on to today. It has been a fun study and has advanced far beyond Mr. Bileski's study of the series.

After Mr. Bileski's passing, his estate was put up for auction in many different lots over a couple of years via R. Maresch Auction House. In several large lots over this time the materials from the Format Printers Archive were placed for auction. At this time I had not been dealing with Mr. Bileski for years and did not know of his passing. Several of the earlier sold lots were purchased by Mr. Karl Marquis, owner of KMPhilately. KMP broke the large lots into smaller random lots and began sales on their internet auction sales. THIS is when I discovered what had happened. I feverishly bid on many of the lots including the ones with the tete-beches and won most of them, but lost a few also. I reorganized them and reunited them and began the count. Over several years I have found the other buyers who were my competitors and purchased much and received the counts of what they have or had. The counts hold true with the documents written by Robson Lowe and Mr. Bileski my friends!

I have since taken the research even further! I have acquired the police evidence stock held in the police warehouse until 2008 on the Saint Lucia side! In the stock were hundreds of the press sheets still intact and much more cut for storage. Of these all the varieties as in the second issues, silver and gold overprints, Specimen overprinted, missing value, imperforates, progressives. A wonderful find!
With this stock I have been able to gain the evidence needed to come up with the quantities produced for all varieties on the eastern hemisphere side of the series!

REPRINTS

I have found there to be two printing of the 1st series for all countries. The British Virgin Islands is easy to define as the original stamps are watermarked whereas the reprints are not.
With British Virgin Islands the reprints have deeper toning as red and black were intensified. This makes the faces more "livid" in color. The black colors are deeper.
Following are the comparisons.

DIFFERENCES IN THE LETTERING ON THE 35c
British Virgin Islands 1986 Royal Wedding Scott 537-8 Reprint Letter Differences The Country name and values on the 35c are light pinkish-red on the originals whereas they are dark pinkish-red on the reprints.

DIFFERENCES IN THE COLORS ON THE 35c
537
British Virgin Islands 1986 Royal Wedding Scott 537 Color Comparison Prince Andrew's hair is almost black on the reprint and Sharah's much more red-brown.
Note the deeper toning on the faces and throughout on the reprint.

538
British Virgin Islands 1986 Royal Wedding Scott 538 Color Comparison Sarah's hair is much more red-brown on the reprints and her face more toned.
Note again the deeper colors throughout on the reprint.

DIFFERENCES IN THE LETTERING ON THE $1
British Virgin Islands 1986 Royal Wedding Scott 539-40 Reprint Letter Differences The Country name and values on the $1 are light purple on the originals whereas they are darker purple on the reprints.

DIFFERENCES IN THE COLORS ON THE $1
539
British Virgin Islands 1986 Royal Wedding Scott 539 Color Comparison Prince Andrew's hatband, hair and coat are blacker and his ear is redder on the reprint. Must be cold!
Again note the deeper colors throughout on the reprint.

540
British Virgin Islands 1986 Royal Wedding Scott 540 Color Comparison Again Sarah's hair is more red-brown and much deeper toning on her face on the reprints
Note again the deeper colors throughout on the reprint.

On this page we will try to break down quantities that exist to try to establish a value for the material. All varieties come from the uncut press sheets and the saved print runs. These numbers may change as more information becomes available.

Section 1 will deal with the single stamp issues and section 2 will deal with the souvenir sheet.

PRICING IS FOR VARIETIES FROM UNCUT PRESS SHEETS, NOT NORMAL ISSUED STAMPS

SECTION 1

THE PERFORATED VARIETIES

Normal gutter varieties etc.

Based on the configuration of the uncut press sheets we will base quantities on the Bileski method of cutting or breaking the sheets. Also included in the equations will be the fact of how many intact sheets still exist.

Please note that once the stamps are separated from the large selvage or gutter and or the tete-beches are separated they cannot be distinguished from the normal issued stamps or that they did not come from booklet panes.

FROM NORMAL PERFORATED UNCUT PRESS SHEETS

NORMAL PERFORATED GUTTER PAIRS
British Virgin Islands 1986 Royal Wedding Perforated Gutter Pairs From Uncut Press Sheet of 80 Stamps
NORMAL PERFORATED LARGE SELVAGE CORNER STAMP PAIRS
British Virgin Islands 1986 Royal Wedding Perforated Large Selvage Pairs From Uncut Press Sheets of 80 Stamps
At present I have 6 uncut press sheets of the 35c value unwatermarked. I have none fully intact with watermarks.
At present I have 6 uncut press sheets of the $2 value unwatermarked. 5 uncut press sheets with watermarks. Basing on 300 sheets being produced as per the research on the Saint Lucia stock of each value we can calculate that 5 x 300 = 1500 of these gutter pairs could exist. The same number of tete-beche blocks could exist.

We must then separate these quantities by half being 150 sheets watermarked and 150 sheets unwatermarked. I believe that the watermarked sheets have almost all been broken though for normal issued stamps.

This is not the case though as evidence shows that many of the tete-beches have been separated with no regard to their rarity. I found many broken sheets separated from the middle of the tete-bech pairs. Many separated from the gutters thus destroying the gutters. This has greatly decreased the number of tete-beches in both forms that can still exist. Looking back on the history of their sales in the market few are offered and when they are the owner usually only has one or a couple. This shows that very few have been saved intact.

In my acquisitions of the Bileski estate I have managed to reunite a major portion of the tete-beches he created of the 1st issue. For some countries almost 100%! For the British Virgin Islands almost 50%.

Referencing from the Robson Lowe count of sheets found in the archive and the additional sheets recovered from the police evidence stock I can assure you that the tete-beches and gutters are rare!

The known to exist count for the British Virgin Islands:

Approximately 100 tete-beche gutter blocks and 100 straight-up gutter blocks of the $1 value exist. Around the same number of tete-beche blocks. Also a number of tete-beche pairs.

I personally have recovered from the Bileski side
The $1 value
59 tete-beche gutter blocks
54 straight up gutter blocks
16 tete-beche blocks
50 tete-beche pairs
For the 35c value
59 tete-beche gutter blocks
55 straight up gutter blocks
13 tete-beche blocks
49 tete-beche pairs

All the above are unwatermarked. More are available on the market from buyers from the same source.
In my purchases of the Bileski stock I recovered several of the uncut press sheets also thus not all 26 referenced in the Robson Lowe inventory list were broken.

We will base pricing for tete-beches and gutters at the possiblity of 150 of each existing.
This is for the unwatermarked version. At this time I believe almost all watermarked versions were separated much the same way as the Tuvalu Island issues were thus destroying the tete-beche and gutter formations!
Therefore it is possible that the watermarked sheets I have recovered may be the only possible source to make these varieties from making them extemely rare!

As far as large selvage stamps go, 10 pairs can exist from each sheet, 5 from each side, thus 1500 pairs. Not a lot with the millions of collectors out there. Now consider how many have had the large selvage removed.

Pricing should run for unwatermarked versions at $25-50.00 for intact gutter pairs either tete-beche or not. I have no calculation for watermarked at present.
Tete-beche pairs $8-10.00 and blocks at $25-50.00.
Stamp pairs or singles with the LARGE selvage should run at triple catalog values.

Intact uncut press sheets are in the extreme rare category for either watermarked or unwatermarked now as you can see.

NORMAL PERFORATED TETE-BECHE BLOCKS
British Virgin Islands 1986 Royal Wedding Perforated Tete-beche Blocks
NORMAL PERFORATED TETE-BECHE GUTTER PAIRS
British Virgin Islands 1986 Royal Wedding Perforated Tete-beche Gutter Pairs

NORMAL PERFORATED "SPECIMEN" OVERPRINTED STAMPS FROM UNCUT PRESS SHEETS

At time of this writing it appears that none exist for the SPECIMEN overprinted stamps. This may change in future. Research ongoing.

LARGE ITALIC SILVER SPECIMEN OVERPRINT ON 35c VALUE
British Virgin Islands 1986 Royal Wedding 35c Perforated Large SPECIMEN Overprinted Stamps
LARGE ITALIC SILVER SPECIMEN OVERPRINT ON $1 VALUE
British Virgin Islands 1986 Royal Wedding $1 Perforated Large SPECIMEN Overprinted Stamps
Evidence is showing only the large italic SPECIMEN overprint is all that exists except on the souvenir sheets.
Possibly a deal was set with the Crown Agents or the BVI agency not to reprint SPECIMEN stamps for this country.
Obviously not the case with the souvenir sheet.

PERFORATED 2ND ISSUE VARIETIES

The 2nd issue apparently was printed with both silver and gold overprints but was never issued. Examples exist but it is unknown at present how much was saved.

MAJOR OVERPRINT ERRORS

Inverts of both silver and gold overprints exist.

THE PERFORATED 1ST ISSUE MISSING VALUE ERROR

British Virgin Islands 1986 Royal Wedding Perforated Missing Value
There still exists at least 6 full uncut press sheets of the 35c value of these. Unknown if any of the uncut press sheets of the $1 value still exist.

In my study of the printing practices of the printer I have seen these type of stamps in other countries. A good example being the Guyana Reichenbachia Orchids series. Several stamps were produced with different values and the same stamp produced in this fashion as well. The value being placed at a later time. It is possible these stamps may not be made for collector errors at all but produced to be printed with new values at a later date. Perhaps in conjunction with the 2nd issue overprints. There are no documents on the production of the 1986 Royal Wedding issues so we may never know. Standard printing practices for the made for collector errors was for 3,000 of a given stamp. That would mean only 75 sheets would be made. Given the higher number of sheets produced for other countries in this series it falls outside the normal practices of the printer. They are an interesting novelty nonetheless and a mystery still.

Based on these numbers and other research one should value these at around $5.00 a pair. Gutter pairs and blocks and selvage pairs should can be considered extremely rare and thus priced much higher than normals above.

This basically sums up the perforated varieties of the single stamp sets.

FROM IMPERFORATE UNCUT PRESS SHEETS

UPDATES 2016

December 2016 Update
This month the color proofs and imperforates have appeared in bulk! A major stock of cut perforated and imperforate booklet panes and normal pairs as well have been placed on the market. I have discovered that eglobals-stamps has been consigned a major stock of them. there are two lot offers. The first offer I discovered is under a Montserrat "Royal visit" lot of all things. Here is an image from that lot.
British Virgin Islands 1986 Royal Wedding Perforated Imperforate Booklet Pane Hoard
I think they got confused somehow because the lot is for the "Royal Visit" issue which you can see part of at the bottom of the image. I cropped out the bottom part of the image for this image. This particular lot does not mention the imaged Royal Wedding stock at all! The second lot I discovered contains "74,000" in what they are calling sheets of the color proofs. Actually they are cut strips of 10 pairs from the sides of the press sheets. In that lot the booklet pane stock is mentioned but not imaged. (see images below)

This is more evidence that almost all the normal perforated and imperforate press sheets were all cut into booklet panes. Therefore unless imperforates have large selvage on both sides of a pair or block they cannot be called "proofs" since they were made for normal postage. The majority of proofs will be sold with the color proofs only.

So now we have two sources of the imperforates. From calculations of what is in eglobals lots, I have now come to the conclusion that the BVI imperforates and color proofs were printed and reprinted in the same quantities as the issues containing images of Princess Diana.
10,000 imperforate sets
6,000 color proof sets which included the final imperforates also

I am retaining my updates from July (and added an image) so you can see how the stock was and is being placed on the market. I predict this will happen with the other country issues for the Western Hemisphere side of the series less Saint Lucia.

July 2016 Update
The above stock was not known to exist at this time

Imperforate booklet pane blocks are now appearing on the market via a Latvian based seller on eBay with apparent ties to the Feigenbaum network.
British Virgin Islands 1986 Royal Wedding Imperforate Booklet Pane Lots
So far as of July 10, 2016 the seller is offering them in bulk lots of 10 blocks of each value in booklet pane form. At this point it appears the press sheets were all cut to this form as I have yet to see imperforate gutters. This new appearance enforces the theory that all of the imperforates for the series have been retained. As shown below the final imperforates are being sold in the tete-beche form with the color proofs.

No uncut press sheets, nor gutters seem to exist in imperforate form for the BVI issue.
Standard practice of the printer was to produce 5,000 sets of imperforates and another 3,000 sets as the final proofs of the color proof sets.
The problem with discerning whether imperforates are from proof sheets is if they are not taken from a corner, or are tete-beche or have gutters in between or are in blocks of 6 or more, one cannot tell if they are the proofs or taken from or produced for imperforate booklet panes which are fairly common.

End July Update

Evidence now shows that there will never be imperforate gutter pairs or gutter blocks of this issue.

PROGRESSIVE COLOR PROOFS

UPDATE 2016

December 2016 Update
So, as described above I have discovered that eglobals-stamps has been consigned a major stock of the color proofs. This changes the status completely for the color proofs of the BVI 1986 Royal Wedding issues.

The lot describes that 74,000 stamps are in the stock. Here are images from the lot on eBay.
British Virgin Islands 1986 Royal Wedding Imperforate Color Proof Hoard
British Virgin Islands 1986 Royal Wedding Imperforate Color Proof Hoard eBay Description
I note that in the description it mentions "including pairs, also many booklet panes". In the 36 images there are no pairs nor booklet panes shown.
This shows there are some errors eglobals did and probably they will correct them once I contact them.
Please note the weight of the lot as well! Indeed it is a lot! The press sheet stock for this series was huge and weighed just for the color proofs and imperforates for one country over 100 pounds!

Now let us calculate how many actual sets of the color proofs are in this lot basing on the description given by eglobals. I have found that around 3,000 sets are in this lot. This is based on the 9 color proof form. Yes, for the British Virgin Islands issue there were nine different color proofs including the finals.

I have shown in the July update below that the center sections of the press sheets are being broken and sold via eBay by Latvian based sellers on eBay. They contain tete-beche forms. Since the above imaged lot contains no tete-beche forms, you can see they are from the left and right sides of the press sheets. The lot contains two images of the final proofs for each value. Interesting enough, they have the quantities posted on the packaging. Here is an image.
British Virgin Islands 1986 Royal Wedding Imperforate Final Proof Hoard
You can see that there are less in two of the packs. this is because:
1.) Some were used for the presentation folders
2.) Some were sold off over the years
3.) Some were probably damaged and/or destroyed from terrible storage conditions.

I can assert this as fact from my own acqusitions from the Saint Lucia and Tuvalu stocks held by the British Police until 2008.

I am again retaining my updates from July (and added an image) so you can see how the stock was and is being placed on the market. I predict this will happen with the other country issues for the Western Hemisphere side of the series less Saint Lucia as well.

July 2016 Update
The above stock was not known to exist at this time

The progressive color proofs are now appearing on the market via a Latvian based seller on eBay with apparent ties to the Feigenbaum network.
British Virgin Islands 1986 Royal Wedding Imperforate Tete-beche Color Proof eBay Lots
So far as of July 10, 2016 the seller is offering them as blocks of eight from the center positions of the press sheets. This places blocks of four tete-beche to each other. It appears that as is the case with other sets of the color proofs for some issues of this series that the press sheets were cut along the gutters with the center being retained for storage. At this point, no gutter blocks have been seen. This new appearance enforces the theory that all the color proofs for the series have been retained.

At least 3,000 pairs of each value were printed according to the standard practices of the printer. Some were placed in presentation folders.

End July Update

The status is now proven that 6,000 pairs of each value were printed as color proofs

This basically sums up the stamp varieties for the British Virgin Islands 1986 Royal Wedding single stamp issues printed by the Format International Printers Ltd.
As new information and evidence is found it will be added to this page.


SECTION 2

THE SOUVENIR SHEET

Following is the rundown of what was saved in regards to the souvenir sheet.

THE PERFORATED SOUVENIR SHEET
British Virgin Islands 1986 Royal Wedding Souvenir Sheet
It is estimated that 6,000 normal issued souvenir sheets were produced. This is based on practices by the printers during the time. Usually quantities of souvenir sheets in respect to the single issued stamp sets was around 30% of the quantities issued. Because there are no documents we will base the figures at the highest rate of 50%. Catalogue values for the normal issue are thus in perspective.

Because of the reprinting of the issue the souvenir sheet is a mystery. At present I have not seen the souvenir sheet with watermarks. There is a difference between the "original" souvenir sheets and the Reprints. The gum on the reprints is completely different. Much whiter whereas on the "originals" it has a greenish tint to it. Here is a scan showing them.
British Virgin Islands 1986 Royal Wedding Gum Comparison of the Souvenir Sheet
THE IMPERFORATE SOUVENIR SHEET
British Virgin Islands 1986 Royal Wedding Imperforate Souvenir Sheet
Documentation and evidence show that:
At present based on practices of the printer at the time 2,000 imperforate souvenir sheets were made.
Another 1,500 were produced with the progressive color proofs. I have acquired very few via the police evidence. At present very few are on the market.

Because of the seeming rarity of these and the possibility that many were destroyed pricing should range around of $25.00+.

Because of the fact that modern forgeries of the single stamp issues are now on the market, it is probable that this souvenir sheet has also been forged. So far I have discovered several other country souvenir sheets of this series as imperforates are forgeries.
You must be wary now of all issues of this series from the Western Hemisphere side caused by the greed of a small group of stamp dealers bent on ripping you off with low quality fake reprint forgeries!

THE IMPERFORATE SOUVENIR SHEET WITH SPECIMEN OVERPRINT
British Virgin Islands 1986 Royal Wedding Imperforate SPECIMEN Overprinted Souvenir Sheet
Documentation and solid evidence show that:
At present based on practices of the printer at the time 1,000 imperforate and 1,000 perforated were made.
I have acquired 478 imperforate SPECIMEN overprinted souvenir sheets via the police evidence. Note the overprint is the small block letter overprint.

In accordance pricing should be around $20-25.00 each considering rarity.
No perforated copies have been found at present.

THE PROGRESSIVE COLOR PROOFS OF THE SOUVENIR SHEET
British Virgin Islands 1986 Royal Wedding Progressive Color Proofs of the Souvenir Sheet
Documentation and evidence show that:
At present based on practices of the printer at the time 1,500 progressive color proof sets of the souvenir sheets were made.
We have acquired several of the colors via the police evidence. The full set does exist as shown. Again it appears that possibly several of the colors have been lost or destroyed extensively. I am still researching this.

Normally pricing should be around $25.00 for each set but with the possibility of much being destroyed or lost the price for a complete set could be steep now!

A note on the above progressives:
Notice there are nine stages. The eighth stage is the black addition. Some of these sets were sold without this stage present thus they are not complete sets. I have noticed that the final color progressive is also being sold as an error as it does not have the silver inscriptions. This is not correct. It would only be an error if it was perforated. At this time there is no evidence that any made for collector errors were made for this particular souvenir sheet.

This basically sums up the stamp varieties for the British Virgin Islands 1986 Royal Wedding souvenir sheet. As new information and evidence is found it will be added to this page.

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UPDATED LAST ON: 13-Dec-2016 10:31 AM