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TUVALU VAITUPU
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
Vaitupu 1986 Royal Wedding (1st issue) Stamps
THE SOUVENIR SHEET
Vaitupu 1986 Royal Wedding (1st issue) Souvenir Sheet
Marquee for Golowe's Reference Site on the Format International Security Printers

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 Vaitupu 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.

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.

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. Bileski list of sheets found for the 1986 Royal Wedding issues for Tuvalu and the Islands
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. Packs of Blocks for Vaitupu 1986 Royal Wedding Issues
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?

REPRINTS

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.
Below are images of the subtle differences for Vaitupu. 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.
Vaitupu 1986 Royal Wedding Scott 65a Reprint Comparison
Note the darker toning on the originals.

Vaitupu 1986 Royal Wedding Scott 65b Reprint Comparison
Again note the darker toning on the originals.

Vaitupu 1986 Royal Wedding Scott 66a Reprint Comparison
Note the blacker wrought iron in the background.

Vaitupu 1986 Royal Wedding Scott 66b Reprint Comparison

Note the redder appearance of the reprints for Vaitupu.

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

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
Vaitupu 1986 Royal Wedding Perforated Gutter Pairs From Uncut Press Sheet of 80 Stamps
NORMAL PERFORATED LARGE SELVAGE CORNER STAMP PAIRS
Vaitupu 1986 Royal Wedding Perforated Large Selvage Corner Pairs From Uncut Press Sheets of 80 Stamps
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 2 uncut press sheets of the 60c value still exist. 1 part sheet was recovered.
We can see by the example above that pretty much all the rest have been broken.
At present 7 uncut press sheets of the $1 value still exist. The rest appear to have suffered the same fate.

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 Vaitupu:

Approximately 30 tete-beche gutters and 30 straight-up gutters of both values exist. As shown only a few uncut press sheets exist of each value.
30+ tete-beche blocks exist. Very few if only a couple pairs exist.

We will base pricing for tete-beches and gutters at the possiblity of 50 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. Only around 50-60 of each value probably exist now. Then divide that by 4 for the different corners. You see my point? Rare!

Pricing should run $50.00 each for intact gutter pairs either tete-beche or not. Gutter blocks as imaged should run at $100.00 each
Tete-beche pairs $50.00 and blocks at $100.00.
Stamp pairs or singles with the LARGE corner selvage should run at $50.00 each!

Intact uncut press sheets are in the extreme rare category now as you can see.

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

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 60c value has both versions of the overprint. I found only a couple sheets with the smaller block capital lettered overprint and none with the larger one although they do exist. I found that the $1 value only seems to exist with the larger overprint. Very odd. The status could change.

SPECIMEN OVERPRINT VARIETIES

SMALL BLOCK CAPITALS SILVER SPECIMEN OVERPRINT ON 60c VALUE
Vaitupu 1986 Royal Wedding 60c Perforated Small SPECIMEN Overprinted Stamps
LARGE ITALIC SILVER SPECIMEN OVERPRINT ON $1 VALUE
Vaitupu 1986 Royal Wedding $1 Perforated Large SPECIMEN Overprinted Stamps
Documentation and evidence show that:
At present only 2 uncut press sheets of the 60c value still exist with small specimen overprint. I found none with the large italic overprint but pairs are available on the market.
At present 36 uncut press sheets of the $1 value 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.
Of those how many actually still exist? I do not see them commonly for sale on the internet.

Here we must then surmise the pricing for the SPECIMEN overprinted stamps of the 60c value at least 3-400% higher than the price for normal perforated gutter pairs etc; above.
For the $1 value pricing would be 50% less as there are more in existence.
Here I must note that in regards to simple pair sets unless a larger quantity of 60c values is found they too are extremely rare as full sets. The possibility of only around 30 to 50 complete sets in pairs is very real!
Intact uncut press sheets are in the rare category now. The 60c ones in the extemely rare category unless more is found.

PERFORATED SPECIMEN OVERPRINT ERRORS

I have found that the $1 value has the overprint inverted and also A'Cheval! Judging from the quantities recovered of the press sheets for Vaitupu there must have been one error run and one corrected run during the printing process. Approximately 30 uncut press sheets with these errors in varying degrees have been recovered!

LARGE ITALIC SILVER SPECIMEN OVERPRINT ON $1 VALUE STRAIGHT UP GUTTER BLOCK WITH BOTH INVERTED AND A'CHEVAL ERRORS
Vaitupu 1986 Royal Wedding $1 Large SPECIMEN Overprinted Straight Up Gutter Block with Inverted and A'Cheval Errors
LARGE ITALIC SILVER SPECIMEN OVERPRINT ON $1 VALUE TETE-BECHE GUTTER BLOCK WITH BOTH INVERTED AND A'CHEVAL ERRORS
Vaitupu 1986 Royal Wedding $1 Large SPECIMEN Overprinted Tete-beche Gutter Block with Inverted and A'Cheval Errors

Pricing for these should run at same pricing as the normal $1 Specimen overprinted stamps.

PERFORATED 2ND ISSUE VARIETIES

60c Value with Silver Overprint
Vaitupu 1986 Royal Wedding 60c 2nd Issue Perforated with Silver Overprint
$1 Value with Silver Overprint
Vaitupu 1986 Royal Wedding $1 2nd Issue Perforated with Silver Overprint
60c Value with Gold Overprint
Vaitupu 1986 Royal Wedding 60c 2nd Issue Perforated with Gold Overprint
$1 Value with Gold Overprint
Vaitupu 1986 Royal Wedding $1 2nd Issue Perforated with Gold Overprint
The 2nd issue had both silver and gold overprints. The gold overprinted stamps were never issued postally.
Documentation and evidence show that:
At present only 1 uncut press sheets of the 60c value with Silver overprint still exists. Another one missing a couple pairs I broke. 2 more with inverted overprints.
At present 26 uncut press sheets of the $1 value with silver overprint still exist.
At present 1 uncut press sheets of the 60c value with Gold overprint still exist. I have broken the one other.
At present 29 uncut press sheets of the $1 value with Gold overprint still exist. Several damaged.

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.

Because of the apparent rarity of the 60c Value the gutters and tete-beches for these command a much higher premium. Here we must then surmise the pricing for the SILVER overprinted $1 stamps at 50% higher than the normal perforated gutter pairs etc; above.
For the 60c value again 3-400% higher unless more are recovered!
Therefore sets of both values are expensive! Even in simple pairs!

Intact $1 uncut press sheets are in the rare category now. 60c value...unless more are found which is doubtful... unique.

Research shows that we can safely presume 50 sheets of the Gold overprinted were saved 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 because of the apparent rarity of the 60c value all gutters and tete-beches and even the singles should be 3-400% higher.
Therefore again sets of both values are expensive!

Intact $1 uncut press sheets are in the rare category and the 60c again, unless more are found which is doubtful, in the unique category now.

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!

Vaitupu 1986 Royal Wedding 2nd Issue First Run Silver Overprint Stamp Set
There exists for the Vaitupu 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 a difference!

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 I have found two uncut sheets with major errors of the overprint in Silver! There was another which has been broken and pieces are available elsewhere.
These uncut sheets of course were destined to be destroyed but were confiscated as evidence before this could happen. Here is an image of one such sheet.

Uncut Press Sheet of the 60c Value with Silver Overprint errors
Vaitupu 1986 Royal Wedding 60c 2nd Issue Perforated with Silver Overprint errors on Uncut Press Sheet
The 60c Value with Silver Overprint Inverted
Vaitupu 1986 Royal Wedding 60c 2nd Issue Perforated with Silver Overprint Inverted
These errors are true errors and thus are very valuable.

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.
Vaitupu 1986 Royal Wedding Imperforate Booklet 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.

The 1986 Royal Wedding Booklets

THE PROGRESSIVE COLOR PROOFS
Vaitupu 1986 Royal Wedding Progressive Color Proofs
It is unknown how many of the 60c value still exist but one can base value on the standard valuation from other islands.
I have recovered almost all of the $1.00 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 60c 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 Vaitupu 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 unissued souvenir sheet.

THE PERFORATED SOUVENIR SHEET
Vaitupu 1986 Royal Wedding (1st issue) 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
Vaitupu 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.

In accordance pricing should be around $10.00 each considering one should not break them from the progressives.
A dilemna here though. It appears the progressives are lost or destroyed. Please read on!

THE PERFORATED AND IMPERFORATE UNISSUED 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. Perforated versions are seen rarely on the market.

In accordance pricing should be around $20-25.00 each considering rarity if a stock is found.

THE PROGRESSIVE COLOR PROOFS OF THE UNISSUED SOUVENIR SHEET
At present it appears that the progressive color proofs for this souvenir sheet are either lost or destroyed.
They are not offered anywhere on the market.
In the evidence stock I found one pack of the All colors with no inscriptions and one partial pack of the Blue/Red color.
That is all!
It is possible that more will turn up but at present time sadly it appears that this is all that is left.

This basically sums up the stamp varieties for the Vaitupu 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: 23-Jan-2015 02:02 PM