TUVALU FUNAFUTI 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?
THE SOUVENIR SHEET
Information on this series is changing as more information is being discovered. This page and associated pages
will be updated as more information is made available.
The 1986 Royal Wedding stamps issued for Funafuti and the other seven islands have an interesting twist in regards to the normal
issued single stamp sets in tete-beche form. In my research I have discovered that the majority of the uncut press sheets of the normal
issued stamp pairs were separated for either booklets or resale with no regard to the tete-beche form nor the large gutters. This has
now placed the tete-beche formations and gutter pairs for the islands of Tuvalu in the extremely rare category!
I will present the following evidence to show why this is so. It is an interesting story.
This part of the presentation is repeated on all the Tuvalu Island 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.
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
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.
Getting back to the story on the Tuvalu Islands.
Mr. Bileski made a list of the islands and the number of sheets (for some) that he found in his purchases of the archive. Here is the list.
I have an older version of the list (shown in the PDF file) before he updated the "location" of the sheets. Note he never found the Tuvalu $1 value.
Nor the Nanumea 60c value. I have. But that is another story I will post on their pages in time. Basically the list shows he located all the others.
He did not write the number of sheets found but I can assure you they are at most 10-12 sheets. In some cases of which I now believe to
be true with Nukufetau, only 7-8 sheets were found. Possibly more but in many cases with archival material, several may have been heavily
damaged and thus not used.
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 Tuvalu 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! And now the twist.
For the islands of Tuvalu ONLY ONE OR A COUPLE SHEETS of the normal issued stamp pairs were there for most values for most islands!
So what happened to them all? My theory is that almost all of them were cut to either make booklet panes or for resale. Please understand the press
sheets are huge and hard to store. My evidence? This.
Each packet contains over 20 of these blocks. As you can see by the configuration
1.)The gutter is destroyed
2.)The tete-beche formation is destroyed
This is what has happened to almost every value of the normal issued stamp pairs for the Island countries of Tuvalu! Thus very few of the uncut
press sheets were saved intact and thus very few tete-beches and gutter pairs can exist! So in regards to the island country issues
of Tuvalu, Mr. Bileski is pretty much accurate in statements regarding the tete-beche and gutter varieties. Interesting yes?
The reprints for the Tuvalu Islands are difficult to define. They appear to be opposite in color contrast to the reprints of the Eastern Hemisphere
countries. The originals have deeper toning than the reprints. The Country names and denominations are all black so you cannot really define them
with those as you can with the different colors from the Eastern Hemisphere side.
With Funafuti there is a difference. The reprints appear to have the deeper toning!
Below are images of the subtle differences for Funafuti. The reprints were used for the gold overprinted 2nd issue series and various varieties.
The surplus being retained for the saved press sheets and probably some being sold by various dealers. The reasoning for this is that
at present I found that the normals from the archive and the police evidence stock appear to be the reprints. The Specimen overprinted and
Silver overprinted 2nd issue sets all are of the more toned variety. Being the original specimen overprints tells us which are the originals.
Note the darker toning on the reprints.
Prince Andrews face is darker and the black of the leaves on the left is darker on the originals. But on the reprints the browns on the hat and background are deeper.
When in attached pairs this stamp is the more difficult of the two to define.
Sarah's facial complexion has a slightly redder appearance on the originals.
This stamp is also difficult to define but Sarah's hair on her left side appears darker (almost black) on the reprints.
Note that Sarah's hair is brighter on the original. Prince Andrews face is darker and much more reddish on the reprint.
Note the deeper toning of Prince Andrews face on the reprint. As if he got a tan.
Because the rarity of the normal issued tete-beches for the islands of tuvalu is so much more extreme than for the major countries involved
and for Tuvalu itself we must factor this new equation into pricing for them.
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
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 BLOCKS
Through my findings from emailed accounts and stocks purchased from the police evidence stock I have finally been able to come
out with the quantitative figures of what was produced for the series in general.
For all normal issued 1st issues of the 1986 Royal Wedding stamp issues printed by the Format Printers for the islands of Tuvalu,
150 press sheets of 80 stamps were produced. Thus 6,000 stamp pairs were produced of each value.
For all normal issued 2nd issues (Silver overprinted) of the 1986 Royal Wedding stamp issues printed by the Format Printers for the islands of Tuvalu,
75 press sheets of 80 stamps were produced. Thus 3,000 stamp pairs were produced of each value.
The reason for the lower numbers is because the island issues did not have as much popularity, demand and
were not being listed in certain catalogs.
At present I have found no uncut press sheets of the 60c value still existing. Evidence shows that they may all have been broken with no regard to tete-beche formation.
For the $1 value only 3 press sheets still exist!
Basing on 150 sheets being produced of each value we can calculate that 5 x 150 = 750 of these gutter pairs could exist.
The same number of tete-beche blocks could exist.
This is not the case though as evidence shows that the majority 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%!
The known to exist count for Funafuti aside from the uncut sheets:
25-30 tete-beche gutters and 25-30 straight-up gutters of both values exist. Only a few uncut press sheets of the $1 value exist as stated above
which thus limits the numbers of complete sets of both values extremely.
40-60 tete-beche blocks exist. Several pairs exist.
We will base pricing for tete-beches and gutters at the possiblity of 75 of each existing.
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.
Because of the formation of booklets only corners are the sure way of proof that they came from the press sheets.
With Funafuti we seem to have an anomaly!
I have NOT been able to locate any values in corners!! With what I have found available on the market and my own acquisitions I must state at this point that it appears
any corner pairs or singles are extremely rare!
Pricing should run $35-40.00 each for intact gutter pairs either tete-beche or not. Gutter blocks as imaged should run at $75-80.00 each
Tete-beche pairs $20-25.00 and blocks at $40-50.00. Stamp pairs or singles with the LARGE corner selvage should run at $50-75.00 each, maybe more!
Intact uncut press sheets of both values are in the extreme rare category now as you can see.
NORMAL PERFORATED TETE-BECHE BLOCKS
NORMAL PERFORATED TETE-BECHE GUTTER BLOCKS
NORMAL PERFORATED "SPECIMEN" OVERPRINTED STAMPS FROM UNCUT PRESS SHEETS
The above imaged format exist for the SPECIMEN overprinted stamps as well. There are two versions of the SPECIMEN overprint.
The first being larger letters in italic in silver and the second being smaller block capital lettered in silver. It appears
that only the large italic lettered overprint exists on the Funafuti royal wedding stamps.
SPECIMEN OVERPRINT VARIETIES
LARGE SILVER SPECIMEN OVERPRINT ON 60c VALUE
LARGE SILVER SPECIMEN OVERPRINT ON $1 VALUE
Documentation and evidence show that:
At present it is unknown if any intact uncut press sheets with the specimen overprint still exist.
Research shows that these are from the original printing so we can safely assert 50 sheets total were produced making 2,000 sets of pairs.
Here we must then surmise the pricing for the SPECIMEN overprinted stamps at least 100% higher than the price for normal perforated gutter pairs etc; above.
Intact uncut press sheets are possibly in the rare category now.
PERFORATED 2ND ISSUE VARIETIES
60c Value with Silver Overprint
$1 Value with Silver Overprint
60c Value with Gold Overprint
The 2nd issue had both silver and gold overprints. The gold overprinted stamps were never issued postally.
There is no evidence that the $1 value still even exists with the gold overprint. None are available on the market.
Documentation and evidence show that:
At present it is unknown if any intact uncut press sheets still exist with either silver or gold overprints.
Research shows for the islands that we can safely presume 75 sheets of the Silver overprinted were produced of each value thus producing 3,000 sets of pairs.
Here we must then surmise the pricing for the SILVER overprinted stamps at 50% higher than the normal perforated gutter pairs etc; above.
Research shows that we can safely presume 50 sheets of the Gold overprinted were produced of each value thus producing 2,000 sets of pairs.
Here we must then surmise the pricing for the GOLD overprinted stamps at 100% higher than the normal perforated gutter pairs etc.
Again probably the $1 value does not exist with the gold overprint.
THE 2ND ISSUE FIRST RUN SILVER OVERPRINT VARIETIES
The following variety exists on all the Tuvalu Island Dependency issues. I can find no examples for Tuvalu itself.
I can neither find an example for all the Eastern Hemisphere countries. Some of Eastern Hemisphere countries issued at later dates and several did
not issue the 2nd issue at all!
There exists for the Funafuti 2nd issue, low value stamps with a vertical overprint placed to the right. On the high values the overprint is placed upward.
The placement of the overprints covers major portions of the images. Many times covering royalties faces or making it difficult to view the stamp
image. Although no documentation has been found, I believe these to be rejected and unissued varieties.
Although I have seen some in used condition, in many cases the stamp dealers have had varieties sent to themselves while visiting the country
of issue. Some appear CTO. An interesting subject that has never really been researched.
Similar to, for example, the St. Lucia rejected Royal Wedding souvenir sheet where the perforations cut across Prince Andrew's face. Evidence is
pointing toward most of these varieties being sold through Urch Harris at the time who had access to rejected and unissued varieties produced by
the Format Printers.
Generally speaking these varieties are sold on the market by very few in comparison with the normal issues. Because of the rarity of these being
offered, an accurate count of what was produced and what exists cannot be obtained. In most cases the seller does not even recognize that there is
Because of the very low number of offerings for this variety it stands to reason that the majority of the first run overprinted stamps were destroyed.
The probability that Urch Harris at the time only obtained a low number of the press sheets is in theory....correct. Therefore, they should be valued
at much higher pricing than the normal sets.
To this day I have seen none in tete-beche or gutter form.
MAJOR OVERPRINT ERRORS
In the police evidence stock we have found several uncut sheets with major errors of the overprint both in Silver and Gold!
These uncut sheets of course were destined to be destroyed but were confiscated as evidence before this could happen. These sheets
have multiple types of errors as in inverted overprints, A' Cheval overprints and just plain messed up overprints! Here is an image
of one such sheet from Saint Lucia.
Uncut Press Sheet of the Saint Lucia 80c Value with Silver Overprint errors
The 60c Value with Gold Overprint Inverted and Misplaced
These errors are true errors and thus are very valuable. Research is ongoing as to what that should be as some of the sheets have very
different variations of errors meaning some pairs are unique.
This basically sums up the perforated varieties of the single stamp sets.
FROM IMPERFORATE UNCUT PRESS SHEETS
So far seeming to exist are imperforate progressive color proofs including finals.
There does not appear to be any extra sheets of final imperforates which leads to the theory that they were all cut for booklet panes or confiscated.
Still this totally disputes the statement in Stanley Gibbons that imperforates come from booklets as they exist with the progressives. Still one should be aware that many imperforate booklets and panes do exist. Some wish to claim because they do not have staple holes that
they are not from booklets which is true. Basically they are cut for the booklets and the case is that more exist in this form than
the booklets themselves! The reason being because the making of the booklets was brought to a screeching halt after all the press sheets were
already cut (except the ones with the color proofs) for the booklets.
I would therefore value the intact booklets perforated or not at a higher value than these unused panes.
Please visit my page on the 1986 Royal wedding Booklet Panes
for more detailed information on what to look for when buying the proofs versus buying the booklet panes.
Here is the link.
It is unknown how many of the $1.00 value still exist but one can base value on the standard valuation from other islands.
I have recovered almost all of the 60c value. Again no gutters exist since the press sheets were cut into panes of 40 and 20.
Based on the findings a set of color proof pairs of either value should be valued at $30-50.00 unless it is found that the $1.00 value is mainly destroyed or lost.
Tete-beche block sets of each value should be valued at $50-100.00.
This basically sums up the stamp varieties for the Tuvalu Funafuti 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.
THE SOUVENIR SHEET
Following is the rundown of what was saved in regards to the unissued souvenir sheet.
THE PERFORATED SOUVENIR SHEET
It is estimated that 3,000 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 a tad bit out of perspective. You can see that the island
issued souvenir sheets are priced a little more than the souvenir sheet from Tuvalu. There is a reason. They are rarer.
THE 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.
In accordance pricing should be around $10.00 each considering one should not break them from the progressives.
THE PERFORATED AND IMPERFORATE SOUVENIR SHEET WITH SPECIMEN OVERPRINT
Documentation and evidence show that:
At present based on practices of the printer at the time 1,000 of each were made.
I found none in the the police evidence. This imperforate variety is on the market.
Perforated versions are seen rarely on the market.
In accordance pricing should be around $20-25.00 each considering rarity.
THE 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.
I have acquired only one pack each of the final stage without inscriptions and the brown final stage before black via the police evidence.
In accordance pricing should be around $25.00 for each set unless it is found that a major portion is missing which is highly probable in which case it would be much higher.
A note on the above progressives:
Notice there are eight stages. There is a nineth stage which is the black addition to the final colors. This set imaged is being sold without this stage
present thus it is not a complete set. We 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.
THE MISSING SILVER INSCRIPTIONS ERROR OF THE SOUVENIR SHEET
Based on practices of the printer at the time 1,000 errors of the souvenir sheets would have been made.
The quantity that exists of this variety is unknown but I can say it is not seen often on the market.
Again I would like to note that this "error" falls in line with the missing value stamps shown above. Could it be possible that this souvenir sheet
was made this way for a possible change in value and/or a change in country name perhaps? We may never know. It is odd though that the printer would
make these simple errors of no value and no inscriptions etc; on such a large scale. The commonality of them being quite noticeable. If they were
misperforated as in way off the mark etc; then that would be grounds for calling them "errors".
It has been stated that they are possibly "running proofs" where the printer runs a bunch to test final colors and positioning of the perforations.
For imperforate versions with missing denominations...simply testing the final colors for whatever reasons.
Please understand these were confiscated right from the printing company and from their archive. If the same type of raids were done on say Waterloo
or the ABN company would not the printing trials, running proofs ect; also be considered "errors" and possibly included with the actual made
for collector errors to boost the evidence against the printer in the trials? Think about it. With the rumors and over exaggerated calculations and
such written in biased articles years ago many stamps printed by the Format Printers have been and are mistakenly classified as errors.
There are no other type of "errors" for this souvenir sheet.
This basically sums up the stamp varieties for the Funafuti 1986 Royal Wedding souvenir sheet.
As new information and evidence is found it will be added to this page.