1988 SEOUL OLYMPICS UNISSUED STAMPS PRINTED BY THE FORMAT INTERNATIONAL SECURITY PRINTERS LTD.
Information and Reference on the UNISSUED 1988 Olympic Stamp Sheetlets and Souvenir Sheets made for
Saint Vincent, Saint Vincent Grenadines, Bequia, Union Island, Tuvalu Nukufetau, Vaitupu and the other Islands
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.
Around August 17, 1988 the Philatelic Distribution Company placed orders to the Format International Security Printers Ltd. under
commission of the Saint Vincent Philatelic Bureau and the Tuvalu Philatelic Bureau to produce sets of stamps depicting images for
and from the 1988 Olympics held in Seoul, South Korea.
It was quite the production and various forms were used in the production. At this time the contraversy over the production of
varieties and errors by the printer was in full swing and the breakdown in the contractual agreements happened thus ending business
relations between The Format Printers with Tuvalu and Saint Vincent. Because of the breakdown certain issues that were produced for
these countries and their dependencies that at that time were under contract to be made ended up not being fully implemented into the
delivery and issuing by the said countries. This has now created a contraversy on the status of these stamps.
The Tuvalu website designed and operated by Brian Cannon wishes to call these stamps FAKES. Examples being imaged on his site here.
I am afraid that the terms fakes or forgeries cannot be used on these issues. They are simply unissued stamps. Nothing more
and certainly nothing less!
So you say "What proof do you have?". Well...about 15 documents on the issues production by the printer taken directly from the printers files
and used against them in the trials which Tuvalu instigated. Thus the evidence needed to show legitimate production of the stamps in question.
And more! What and how much was produced! Sorry to say but the figures will shock collectors and sellers alike. Once again dealers overinflating
prices will have to rethink their standards and price these with fair valuations.
So let's get started!
So what stamps am I talking about? Looking at the catalogs we see that Tuvalu issued a set in 1988 and they are honored.
TUVALU Scott 501-506, Stanley Gibbons 534-539 issued August 19, 1988
We can see that Tuvalu Funafuti issued a set and although Stanley Gibbons has it in an addendum (the whole country which in my opinion should be changed)
yet they are honored in Scott Catalog and others.
A note on these, on the official Tuvalu stamp site there is no image given for this set.
Apparently the Tuvalu Philatelic Bureau is watching as now the image is provided on the site and I am proud to say it
appears they are using my image for the set! Note the name at the bottom of the image.
Earlier I was thinking it possible they were trying to make this set part of the "fakes" because it is the odd man out so to speak, conflicting with the said fakes.
I note that it is the only listed set of stamps for all the islands in 1988. All the other island issues end in 1987.
TUVALU - FUNAFUTI Scott 72-77 issued August 19, 1988
These are the only two sets honored in the catalogs for Tuvalu and the islands. notice the difference in design.
Again now, looking through the catalogs for Saint Vincent. Note the set for Saint Vincent was printed by the House of Questa.
SAINT VINCENT Scott 1116-1120 Stanley Gibbons 1153-1156, MS 1157 issued December 7, 1988
Nothing issued for the dependencies. I note a huge gap between issues for the dependencies. Grenadines almost six months. Bequia and Union Island
had almost a year between the issues in 1988 and 1989. This is because of the breaking of the contracts.
I show the above imaged sets and dates of issue for a reason. So you can see by dates that the stamps issued and the so called fake stamps were
made in the same time era. Also to show the difference in designs used.
Note the date being August 17, 1988. The request being to create issues for all the dependencies and islands of the two countries.
Here we see the added note concerning other islands not included in the print order. Those islands are Nui, Niutao and Vaitupu. They are
referenced separately because they are of a different design than the sheetlet style. They were more the design of the issued stamps from Tuvalu
and Funafuti imaged above.
The so called fake stamp imaged below and imaged in the fakes and forgeries section on the tuvaluislands.com website is not a fake at all. It
is simply one existing value from the unissued set.
TUVALU VAITUPU UNISSUED 1988 OLYMPIC GAMES 70c STAMP
I have yet found another image! This is one of the values from the Niutao set.
TUVALU NIUTAO UNISSUED 1988 OLYMPIC GAMES 35c STAMP
I believe these are probably some of the only values from the sets that still exists. There is nothing on the market available at this time.
I must delve on this point a bit farther so that everything is clear.
I found on the internet only one other reference to these mysterious sets. I found it under a reference to bicycle stamps. Imaged below is
part of a page of that reference. It proves again the point of why I state that the Nui, Niutao and Vaitupu sets were of a different form than the other
As you can see by the images the Niutao stamps are the same style as the Vaitupu stamp imaged. There is no reference for the Nui stamps but I am sure they
fall right in line with these. Let's move on!
BILL FOR PLATE MAKING
This shows the plates were made and ready for producing the stamps on September 10, 1988.
THE STAMP DESCRIPTIONS
The descriptions match exactly with the unissued stamp sheetlets. It is kind of sad to see that certain island issues may no longer exist.
THE ORIGINAL SHIPPING INVOICE
Here you get the general idea of quantities produced. As you can see...millions of a single stamp issue was never produced as (like I always state)
some dealers and so called "experts" would like you to believe.
I note that here you can see they decided not to ship the progressive color proofs.
THE HANDWRITTEN ORDER FOR THE ADDITIONAL ISLANDS
Here I note the job numbers. They differ from the sheetlet job number. Why?....because they are different styles of stamps.
Also noting they are lower numbered than the sheetlet order. This shows they were planned earlier. Probably at the exact same time as
the issued Tuvalu and Funafuti sets.
THE FINAL SHIPPING INVOICE FOR THE SHEETLETS
And here you get actual figures of how many sheetlets were produced including varieties. At this point I have only seen the SPECIMEN overprinted
variety. As you can see, 3,000 were produced making them not as rare as some sellers want you to think. Still...much rarer than the sheetlets themselves.
THE FINAL SHIPPING INVOICE FOR THE SHEETLET "GOOD OVERS"
Good overs are the residuals left over from the print run that pass inspection for resale. Add the two invoices above together and you have finite
numbers of what was produced for the 1988 Olympic Games unissued sheetlets!
THE FINAL SHIPPING INVOICE FOR THE SOUVENIR SHEETS
The finite numbers produced for the 1988 unissued Olympic Games souvenir sheets! Apparently no "good overs".
THE FINAL SHIPPING INVOICE FOR THE SOUVENIR SHEET VARIETIES
I have only seen a few of these with SPECIMEN overprints. The whereabouts of all the other varieties is unknown if they still even exist.
At least now you have the true numbers to go by on all of these unissued sets.
So far what seems still to exist I will image below. Of the imaged sheetlets and souvenir sheets the major portion of them has been retained.
They are everywhere on the market showing that they are quite common.
SAINT VINCENT UNISSUED 1988 OLYMPIC GAMES STAMPS
SAINT VINCENT GRENADINES UNISSUED 1988 OLYMPIC GAMES STAMPS
SAINT VINCENT GRENADINES BEQUIA UNISSUED 1988 OLYMPIC GAMES STAMPS
SAINT VINCENT GRENADINES UNION ISLAND UNISSUED 1988 OLYMPIC GAMES STAMPS
TUVALU NUKUFETAU UNISSUED 1988 OLYMPIC GAMES STAMPS
These are all the issues that are freely available. Below is imaged from the bicycle stamp reference book one stamp from Nukulaelae.
As you can see again this sheetlet must exist....somewhere.
What is interesting also about these issues is the question....do the souvenir sheets not imaged still exist?
This basically sums up the evidence showing the unissued stamps, sheetlets and souvenir sheets for the 1988 Olympic Games for Saint Vincent and
Tuvalu and their dependencies as not being fakes or forgeries. Also summing up what was actually produced for the issues.
As new information and evidence is found it will be added to this page.
If you have any examples of the missing sheetlets or souvenir sheets or have any varieties of any of the above as in imperforates, errors,
or progressive color proofs, please feel free to contact me and send me images!