THE FORMAT INTERNATIONAL SECURITY PRINTERS LTD. ARCHIVE
Information and Reference of What was Found in the Archive
Stamp issues for Bangladesh printed by the Format International Security Printers Ltd. and items found in the Archive
Bangladesh stamps printed by Format International Security Printers Ltd.
In 1971 the Format International Security Printers were commissioned by E.E. Oatway a reputed stamp dealer and philatelic investor to print
the first issue for Bangladesh. Mr. Oatway was asked to issue, distribute and to sell the stamps by Mr. John Stonehouse who was previously
the postmaster general for Britain. This was done free of charge for Bangladesh and the proceeds were kept by the agency. This was done with
intent to publicize the plight of the people of Bangladesh and their fight for liberation from Pakistan. At first the new
issue was rejected by many and all catalog makers because they considered them labels because Bangladesh was not fully liberated from Pakistan
at the time of issue. This view changed on December 16, 1971.
There is a lot of mystery on this issue and subsequent issues. It is stated in some catalogs including Scott catalog that imperforates of
this issue were found in the liquidation of the printer. To this day none have ever been on the market and I for one believe the statements
are conjecture with no evidence. Imperforates are usually commissioned by the agency except for genuine proofs and nothing of the kind was
reported to be found by Robson Lowe for Bangladesh in the liquidation.
The quantities that were produced are unknown. Due to future quantities of issues it is safe to say that it must be in the range of
500,000 to 1 million. The popularity was shown to be extreme.
The "Bangladesh Liberated" overprint issue is also a mystery. There are two types. The original type is 12mm in height. Only the
10p, 5r and 10r were accepted as valid by the government. This is probably because when Mr. Stonehouse brought the original first issue
he only had these three values with the overprint and so the government (probably for historical reasons) decided that the rest of the
issue that had been overprinted would remain invalid.
It is obvious that some of the other five values with the overprint were sent to Bangladesh (at a later time) but were not used postally.
Instead some were held and then all eight values placed on FDC's and postmarked in 1974.
It is here that agency greed and stamp dealers running them rears it's ugly head. The 13mm overprints were made probably with no intent
that any would reach Bangladesh but instead would be sold to the worldwide market. Already the five values with the 12mm overprints had
been rejected. There were tons of the normal issue already on the market and the overprinted issue brought higher profits. Therefore by
making a small change to the overprint legally the sellers would not be held "accountable". Just a theory mind you on my part.
Then we have the final mystery. The 1972 issue. This issue would be under the status of planned but never issued. As with many issues
the stamps were printed in preparation for the next issue date probably at the same time the "Liberated" overprints were being produced.
Demand for new stamps was high and as getting issues produced and delivered takes a lot of time the agency with the printer are "thinking
ahead" so to speak. Now that the country had already rejected a large portion of the overprinted stamps the agency, namely this E.E. Oatway
was feeling the heat of which he had invested a large sum to have the stamps made. He promptly distributed them to his dealer sources
in Europe and the U.S. to sell.
Bangladesh officials did not validate them and it is obvious that their ties with E.E. Oatway were immediately severed. More than likely
this is why there is hardly any information on this dealer because the venture in greed probably cost him his reputation and his business!
Having several million stamps printed is not cheap!
1971 SUPPORT BANGLADESH ISSUE Scott #1-8, SG #1-8
1971 LIBERATION OF BANGLADESH ISSUE Scott #9-16, SG #9-11
Only the 10p, 5r and 10r were issued in Dacca. The others were never validated.
Exists with 12mm overprint (original) and 13mm overprint (reprint). Over the years these two types have probably been
intermixed within sets being sold on the market. You cannot define them by images posted by sellers.
1972 UNISSUED SUPPORT BANGLADESH ISSUE WITH NEW VALUES
Scott noted, SG noted
These were the last stamps printed by the Format International Security Printers Ltd. for Bangladesh.
References taken from:
Stanley Gibbons Online Catalog
Inventory list for the Format Archive by Robson Lowe