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UNION ISLAND
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
Union Island 1986 Royal Wedding (1st issue) Stamps
THE UNISSUED SOUVENIR SHEET
Union Island 1986 Royal Wedding (1st issue) Unissued 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.

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 Saint Vincent Union Island have an interesting twist as the souvenir sheet for the set was never issued. My theorized reasoning behind this is that possibly the postal authorities rejected it on the grounds that the wedding dress appears to be a dark yellow in color in the image whereas in all other issues it is white as the dress was made in ivory silk. To the royal family this would be considered disrespectful. In any regards the country of Saint Vincent Union Island never issued the souvenir sheet to the public.

Some stamp dealers and collectors at present time want to call this souvenir sheet "unauthorized" or "bogus" trying to downgrade its legitimacy in the collecting community. For their information many times stamps have been authorized to print and have been produced on a productive scale by the printer BEFORE being rejected by the postal authorities of a given country. This may be done as an oversight by the postal authority of said country when approving the master proofs for full production. It has happened MANY times throughout history with many stamps. A wrong spelling of a name or word. A wrong picture. A flaw and so on. A good example is the U.S. Legends of the West pane which made it all the way to the postal offices and even a few were used before the U.S. postal authorities realized the picture of Bill Pickett was a picture of his cousin and not him, thus causing the postal service to recall the whole printing. Who was responsible for allowing it to be produced to the extent it was before it was recalled? The printing company? Afraid not! As you can see this souvenir sheet basically went through the same process.
Unauthorized? No. Bogus? No. Rejected or recalled? Yes.

So, what did the Format Printers do with this souvenir sheet which they had already produced along with all the issues for this series for eighteen contries? Of course, they saved them for resale as an unissued stamp to try to make some of the revenue back from printing them. You see, printing postage stamps is NOT free and printing a full run and then having it rejected and NOT paid for is not good business sense. In my opinion I do not blame them one bit.

First 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.
With Union Island one cannot define the difference well by the inscriptions as they are similar with Tuvalu issues as in they are black.
Following are the comparisons.

Union Island 1986 Royal Wedding Scott 228 Reprint Comparison
Note the darker toning on the originals.
Prince Andrew's Cap is browner on the originals.

Union Island 1986 Royal Wedding Scott 229 Reprint Comparison
This one is a bit difficult but again note the slightly darker toning. Complexion is a touch redder on the reprints.

Union Island 1986 Royal Wedding Scott 230 Reprint Comparison
Note the much darker toning on the originals.
The eye makeup much more intense!

Union Island 1986 Royal Wedding Scott 231 Reprint Comparison
Note the deeper toning of the faces on the originals. A deeper bluish hue on Prince Andrews collar on the originals.

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
Union Island 1986 Royal Wedding Perforated Gutter Pairs From Uncut Press Sheet of 80 Stamps
NORMAL PERFORATED LARGE SELVAGE STAMP PAIRS
Union Island 1986 Royal Wedding Perforated Large Selvage 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 and 2nd issues of the 1986 Royal Wedding stamp issues printed by the Format Printers, 300 press sheets of 80 stamps were produced. For the smaller island issues 150 were produced. Thus 12,000 stamp pairs were produced of each value for the main countries and 6,000 stamp pairs produced for the islands and dependencies.

At present I have only 3 uncut press sheets of the 60c value still intact.
At present I have 3 uncut press sheets of the $2 value still intact. These were found in the Bileski Estate holdings.

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 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%! With Union Island I have recovered around 50% of the Bileski stock.

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 pretty rare!

The known to exist count for Union Island:

Approximately 100 tete-beche gutter blocks and 100 straight-up gutter blocks of both values probably exist. Tete-beche blocks are available in various locations at very low pricing showing that quite a few must have been retained.
Tete-beche pairs are possibly more common although I do not see much being offered.

I personally have recovered from the Bileski side
The $2 value
54 tete-beche gutter blocks
57 straight up gutter blocks
10 tete-beche blocks
57 tete-beche pairs
For the 60c value
57 tete-beche gutter blocks
56 straight up gutter blocks
8 tete-beche blocks
60 tete-beche pairs

As far as large selvage stamps go, 10 pairs can exist from each sheet, 5 from each side, thus 750 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 $25-35.00 for intact gutter pairs either tete-beche or not unless a huge cache is found which is doubtful.
Tete-beche pairs $5.00 and blocks at $10.00! They are rare but not exceptionally so.
Stamp pairs or singles with the LARGE corner selvage should run at $10-15.00 each!
Intact uncut press sheets are in the extreme rare category now.

NORMAL PERFORATED TETE-BECHE BLOCKS
Union Island 1986 Royal Wedding Perforated Tete-beche Blocks
NORMAL PERFORATED TETE-BECHE GUTTER PAIRS
Union Island 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. Both types exist on the Union Island royal wedding stamps.

SPECIMEN OVERPRINT VARIETIES

SMALL BLOCK CAPITALS SILVER SPECIMEN OVERPRINTS
Union Island 1986 Royal Wedding Perforated Small SPECIMEN Overprinted Stamps
LARGE ITALIC SILVER SPECIMEN OVERPRINTS
Union Island 1986 Royal Wedding Perforated Large SPECIMEN Overprinted Stamps
Documentation and evidence show that:
No evidence on the large specimen overprinted stamps has been released. Sale of them has begun on eBay from the Saint Vincent side of the police evidence stock thus showing a number of them still exist. It looks like the owner of the stock is breaking the sheets for some of them.
It has been documented that 5 intact perforated uncut sheets with the smaller SPECIMEN overprint existed quite a few years ago.
This was from the archive and documented on the Bileski/Robson Lowe end. They were all broken into gutters and tete-beche blocks and pairs.
I now have found that much more exists. A different seller on eBay has been releasing them in large blocks.
The smaller overprint is from the second printing.

It was documented to me a few years ago that 28 perforated $2 uncut press sheets with the small specimen overprint still existed. I suspect that the 60c values being sold on eBay in large blocks now are the other half and thus same quantities of the sheets existed.

Based on equations from the Saint Lucia side of the police evidence stock and practices of the printer, it is estimated that 50 sheets of the large overprint were made thus producing 2000 sets whereas 75 sheets were made with the smaller overprint thus producing 3000 sets.

Here we must then calculate that for the perforated large and small specimen overprinted stamps. They are not rarer than the normal perforated gutter pairs above.
At present though the tete-beche blocks and pairs are rarer than normals.
They are being sold as intact gutters and tete-beches. Therefore pricing should be based more on the Saint Lucia equations.

Therefore for the perforated SMALL specimen overprinted at least $15-20.00 for intact gutter pairs either tete-beche or not.
Tete-beche pairs $6-7.00 and blocks at $12-15.00.
Stamp pairs or singles with the LARGE corner selvage should run at $10-15.00 each!

The larger overprinted gutter pairs, tete-beches etc. should command a 25% premium on top of that.

Again intact uncut press sheets are fast becoming into the extremely rare category now.

PERFORATED 2ND ISSUE VARIETIES

60c Value with Silver Overprint
Union Island 1986 Royal Wedding 60c 2nd Issue Perforated with Silver Overprint
60c Value with Gold Overprint
Union Island 1986 Royal Wedding 60c 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:
It has been documented that 10 uncut press sheets of the 60c value with Silver overprint still existed a few years ago.
It has been documented that 64 uncut press sheets of the $2 value with silver overprint still existed a few years ago.
It has been documented that 26 uncut press sheets of the $2 value with Gold overprint still existed a few years ago.
There is no documentation on the 60c value with gold overprint but pieces have been sold on eBay as the image shows.

I would like to note that because of the way the sheets are being broken the rarity factor for tete-beches is increasing as I write this.

Research shows that we can safely presume 150 sheets of the Silver overprinted were printed of each value thus producing 6,000 sets of pairs.
Here we must then calculate the pricing for the SILVER overprinted stamps a bit lower than the small specimen overprinted perforated gutter pairs etc. above.
Intact uncut press sheets are in the rare category now.

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.
Since there are the same numbers printed as the LARGE specimen overprinted stamps above we must then price the GOLD overprinted stamps at the same values.
Intact uncut press sheets are in the rare to extremely rare category now.

MAJOR OVERPRINT ERRORS

Because evidence is pointing to similar errors existing for Saint Vincent Union Island, I am presenting this section from the Saint Lucia page on these type of errors. At present none of these errors for Union Island are on the market but with the pieces I have received from other sources I suspect that the same holds true for Union Island issues.

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.

Uncut Press Sheet of the 80c Value with Silver Overprint errors
Saint Lucia 1986 Royal Wedding 80c 2nd Issue Perforated with Silver Overprint errors on Uncut Press Sheet
The 80c Value with Silver Overprint Inverted
Saint Lucia 1986 Royal Wedding 80c 2nd Issue Perforated with Silver Overprint Inverted
The 80c Value with Gold Overprint Inverted and Doubled
Saint Lucia 1986 Royal Wedding 80c 2nd Issue Perforated with Gold Overprint Inverted and Doubled
The 80c Value with Gold Overprint A' Cheval
Saint Lucia 1986 Royal Wedding 80c 2nd Issue Perforated with Gold Overprint A' Cheval
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.

As I stated earlier so far I have not seen any of these errors for Union Island. If you should see or have them please contact me with details.

THE PERFORATED 1ST ISSUE MISSING VALUE ERROR

The 60c Missing Value
Union Island 1986 Royal Wedding 60c Perforated Missing Value Error
A bit of bad news for sellers over inflating prices.
Documentation and evidence show that:
It has been documented that 45 uncut press sheets of the $2 value with Missing Value still existed a couple years ago.
There is no documentation on the 60c value with Missing Value but pieces have been sold on eBay as the image shows.

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 evidence that a higher number of sheets were produced fall outside the normal practices of the printer. They are an interesting novelty nonetheless and a mystery still.

Evidence shows that 100 sheets were produced making 4000 sets possible. Thus the same rules should apply as the small specimen overprinted stamps above as far as value.
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 be priced close to the same (or a little less) than the perforated small specimen overprinted stamps above.

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

FROM IMPERFORATE UNCUT PRESS SHEETS

So far there exists imperforate proofs including finals and imperforate SPECIMEN overprinted sheets. Also imperforate missing value errors. This totally disputes the statement in Stanley Gibbons that imperforates come from booklets.
STILL one should be aware that many imperforate booklets and panes do exist. 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.

The 1986 Royal Wedding Booklets

IMPERFORATE PROOFS

Documentation and evidence show that:
It has been documented that 58 uncut press sheets of the imperforate $2 value still existed a couple years ago.
There is the possibility that they are all that is left from the progressive color proof sets.
There is nothing documented on the 60c value. None other than booklet panes and pairs probably from booklet panes are on the market.
Possibly they will turn up with the selling of the Saint Vincent side of the police evidence.
Evidence shows that 75 sheets were produced making 3000 sets possible. Another 75 sheets would be included with the progressives. Thus we can see that these are in the same class as the perforated small specimen overprinted stamps above unless more are found.

Based on these numbers and other research one should value these the same as the above mentioned specimen overprinted stamps.
WARNING: please be very careful in purchasing these imperforates as previously shown most come from booklets and are not actual proofs and thus do not have the value of the actual proofs.

IMPERFORATE SPECIMEN OVERPRINTED PROOFS

IMPERFORATE SPECIMEN OVERPRINTED PROOFS OF THE 60c VALUE
Union Island 1986 Royal Wedding 60c SPECIMEN Overprinted Imperforate Proofs
At present it seems that only imperforates with the small block capital lettered overprint exist.
Documentation and evidence show that:
It has been documented that 28 uncut press sheets of the imperforate $2 value with SPECIMEN Overprint still existed a couple years ago.
There is nothing documented on the 60c value.
Evidence shows that 50 sheets were produced making 2000 sets possible.

Based on these numbers Gutter pairs and blocks and selvage pairs should be priced at the same pricing of perforated GOLD overprinted stamps shown above.

IMPERFORATE MISSING VALUE ERROR PROOFS

IMPERFORATE MISSING VALUE ERROR PROOFS OF THE 60c VALUE
Union Island 1986 Royal Wedding 60c Missing Value Error Imperforate Proofs
Documentation and evidence show that:
It has been documented that 10 uncut press sheets of the imperforate $2 value with Missing Value still existed a couple years ago.
There is nothing documented on the 60c value.
This shows that at least 25 sheets were produced making 1000 sets possible. Thus these do have a rarity factor. We will base on 50 sheets.

Based on these numbers Gutter pairs and blocks and selvage pairs should be priced the same as imperforate specimen overprinted imperforates above.

PROGRESSIVE COLOR PROOFS

At present there is no evidence that progressive color proofs of the single stamp issues were saved.
Possibly all were destroyed? Possibly still in the Police Evidence waiting to be discovered? Time will tell.

This basically sums up the stamp varieties for the Union Island 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 UNISSUED SOUVENIR SHEET

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

THE PERFORATED UNISSUED SOUVENIR SHEET
Union Island 1986 Royal Wedding Unissued Souvenir Sheet
Sorry to say but this may shock a few sellers and buyers.

Documentation and evidence shows that:
At present at least 5,000 copies of this issue were saved. Possibly more.
This is based on the following evidence found in the St. Lucia holding.

1.) 3,000 copies have been found in the police evidence.

2.)These are for sale by numerous internet sellers and stamp dealers.

3.)One dealer of Format Material (mentioning no names) is selling bulk lots of 5 seeming to have many copies.

Because of these factors pricing for this souvenir sheet should run at average Scott listed pricing of $3-5.00.

THE IMPERFORATE UNISSUED SOUVENIR SHEET
Union Island 1986 Royal Wedding Imperforate Unissued Souvenir Sheet
Documentation and evidence shows 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. We have acquired all but a few via the police evidence. The count is 2,430 of which a few were damaged.

In accordance pricing should be around $10.00 each.
At present there seem not to be hardly any of the progressive color proofs left. In our receipt of these only a couple colors were in the shipment and of those only about 30 of each except for one pack of final colors without inscriptions. Possibly the 9th which is missing in most progressive proof sets. We believe most may have been destroyed. Still searching. If this is the case then the finals from the progressive side will also be sold alone with the final color ones without inscriptions.

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.
We found none in the the police evidence. None appear to be on the market. Destroyed?

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

THE PROGRESSIVE COLOR PROOFS OF THE UNISSUED 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 only the above mentioned via the police evidence. It is possible almost all are lost forever.

We have noticed that the final color progressives for other country souvenir sheets are sometimes 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 Saint Vincent Grenadines Union Island 1986 Royal Wedding unissued souvenir sheet. As new information and evidence is found it will be added to this page.

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UPDATED LAST ON: 11-Nov-2016 04:26 PM