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GRENADINES OF SAINT VINCENT LEADERS OF THE WORLD CRICKET PLAYERS STAMP ISSUES AND VARIETIES

The Cricket Players Stamp Issues for Saint Vincent Grenadines Produced by the Format International Security Printers
A Study of the Varieties and Quantities Produced

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In 1984 Saint Vincent Grenadines joined other commonwealth countries in the production and issuance of the Leaders of the World (LOW) Cricket Players series of stamps. Saint Vincent Grenadines issued two sets of them in 1984 and one set in 1985. This page will try to clarify how many sets were issued and produced and what varieties were also produced. I will show examples of the varieties that exist including progressive color proofs, specimen overprinted varieties, imperforates and yes, made for collector errors and where possible, genuine errors.

There was a huge controversy on the legitimacy of the production and sale of the varieties which ended up in court trials against the owners of the Format International Security Printers Ltd. and associated companies, their owners and some employees. The trials proved that the companies and owners had the sole right to reprint, and produce the varieties at their discretion for promotional programs and such despite the objections of the Tuvalu Philatelic Agency and others. A large portion of the progressives and other varieties were seized as evidence for the trials by the British Metropolitan Police and held by the same until 2008 when they were finally released back to the original owners. We are lucky it survived! Representatives for Tuvalu went through the material and confiscated some for destruction but much was left and now these varieties are available to the collecting community to add to their topical and specialized collections. As for the material from St. Vincent, St. Lucia etc;, it was released back without tampering.

The valuation of the material has been grossly under valued because of the stigma produced by a few agencies, clubs and ex-employees and some dealers over the past 20+ years instilling in the collecting community the idea that there are "millions" out there hidden away in warehouses, attics etc. This is NOT the case and with the evidence I now have, we can now show this to be a huge exaggeration on the facts.

I will present each set as it was issued and show examples of some of the varieties. I will use existing documentation which shows the general practices used for ordering and printing of the varieties which shows the general consensus of quantities produced and if possible...what still exists. As (and if) more information and documents are discovered, it will be added to this study for reference to collectors.

Through evaluation of the documents I have in my possession and the common practices of the printer, all sets of Leader of the World issues fall under the same consensus of quantities produced. We know that some issues for Saint Vincent Grenadines were reprinted once. The standard was the same for all that 21,000 normal sets were reprinted for the Philatelic Distribution Corporation, (PDC). General invoices and documents show that original orders for many stamp sets outside the Leaders of the World Series and including the LOW series as well ranged from 15,000 to 25,000 sets for Saint Vincent Grenadines. At that time the PDC had a set allotment printed for resale via outside stamp selling entities. The allotment was generally 2/3 of the given original orders. The calculation of 21,000 for Saint Vincent appears over and over and is an easy quantity to break down for the allotment. 21,000 went to the Saint Vincent Philatelic Bureau and 14,000 went to the PDC's outlets. So I will base on the higher figure that a total of 75,000 sets were produced for Saint Vincent Grenadines.

There is a difference with Eastern Hemisphere countries as there was also an allotment of the regular issued stamps that was added to the issues sent to the PDC. These were called "GOOD OVERS" which was a supplemental stock or extra number of sheet runs (possibly to compensate for any errors) in the main run of reprints.

At the time of original printing some Progressive color Proofs and varieties were produced. These were usually in what I call 5-stage or 6-stage sets. The 5-stage sets include the yellow and black colors combined stage. The 6-stage sets have no all colors with no inscriptions stage. The 7-stage sets are the reprints for all the series up until late 1986 when the 7-stage sets became the norm. All presentation folders have the reprints. The reasons for the reprinting were that the earlier printings were from press sheets of which very few were saved. The reprinting was done to produce limited quantities of varieties for collectors to buy at affordable prices to enhance their collections. The majority of reprints come from cut panes. Storage of press sheets, which are very large, proved to be from the earlier versions not viable and so almost all the reprints were cut into panes for ease of storage.

The standard printing was set for all reprints.

3,000 sets of 7-stage progressive color proofs.
5,000 sets of imperforate stamps.
2,000 sets of specimen overprinted stamps

In most cases 1,000 sets of imperforate specimen overprinted stamps and 3,000 sets of misperfed or missing color "errors" were also produced. Of them, most now appear to have been destroyed.

Most all specimen overprinted stamps, imperforate stamps and errors were all printed at the time of reprinting as allowed by the "reprint agreement". Therefore all of them have finite numbers. With Tuvalu it was agreed to allow them to confiscate what they deemed as errors. Progressive color proofs are not errors but they confiscated and destroyed many of them before they could be saved. Most all imperforate specimen overprinted sets and quite a few imperforates and even some of the normal specimen overprinted sets were also taken. I do not know why they did not take all of them but theorize that because the evidence taken was so large, I am talking about many thousands of panes, that they just simply missed them. The evidence was just thrown into police evidence bags with no regard to the philatelic preservation what so ever! Thus sorting through the material was quite difficult.

LET'S GET STARTED!

1st Series Cricket Players issued August 16, 1984

For Saint Vincent Grenadines 1st series it appears no color proofs nor errors exist. Imperforates exist for the modern day players in the set which were all printed on one press sheet. Imperforates seem not to exist for the older players issues which also were all printed on one press sheet.
Evidence shows they were all reprinted.

1984 Saint Vincent Grenadines Leaders of the World, Cricket Players (1st series) Stamps

75,000 sets of the normal perforated issues were produced.

1984 Saint Vincent Grenadines Leaders of the World, Cricket Players (1st series) SPECIMEN Overprinted Stamps

2,000 specimen overprinted sets produced according to general reprinting practices.

1984 Saint Vincent Grenadines Leaders of the World, Cricket Players (1st series) Imperforate $2 Stamps

5,000 imperforate sets produced according to general reprinting practices. At this time this dealer is selling only the $2 value. You can see they are available in full panes which is solid evidence the set was reprinted. The location and status of all the other values as imperforates is unknown. Again possibly in a dealers stock forgotten about.

1984 Saint Vincent Grenadines Leaders of the World, Cricket Players (1st series) Presentation Proof Cards

Presentation Proof Cards are usually very limited in numbers. These three cards show more evidence that the imperforates exist. There is no evidence that the four values with older players exist imperforate. There are no imperforates available for them anywhere.

CROSSGUTTER BLOCKS FROM THE UNCUT PRESS SHEETS
1984 Saint Vincent Grenadines Leaders of the World, Cricket Players (1st series) Crossgutter Blocks

The number of these that exist is around 4-5 so they are extreme rarities. Any gutter pairs or blocks will stand under the same status of extremely rare. No intact press sheets known to exist at this time.
You can see the date printed on the older player crossgutter is June 2, 1988. Solid evidence they were reprinted.

At present there is no evidence that any other varieties exist for the 1st Cricket Players series.
It is evident that they were produced but at present no others are known on the market.
At this time, no errors are available on the market.

2nd Series Cricket Players issued November 28, 1984

For Saint Vincent Grenadines 2nd series it appears no imperforates, color proofs nor errors exist. The status of this can change.

1984 Saint Vincent Grenadines Leaders of the World, Cricket Players (2nd series) Stamps

75,000 sets of normal perforated issues were produced.

1984 Saint Vincent Grenadines Leaders of the World, Cricket Players (2nd series) SPECIMEN Overprinted Stamps

2,000 specimen overprinted sets produced according to general reprinting practices.

At present there is no evidence that any other varieties exist for the 2nd Cricket Players series.
It is possible that they were produced but at present no others are known on the market.
At this time, no errors are available on the market.

3rd Series Cricket Players issued February 22, 1985

For Saint Vincent Grenadines 3rd series it appears no imperforates, color proofs nor errors exist. The status of this can change.

1985 Saint Vincent Grenadines Leaders of the World, Cricket Players (3rd series) Stamps

75,000 sets of normal perforated issues were produced.

1985 Saint Vincent Grenadines Leaders of the World, Cricket Players (3rd series) SPECIMEN Overprinted Stamps

2,000 specimen overprinted sets produced according to general reprinting practices.

1984 Saint Vincent Grenadines Leaders of the World, Cricket Players (1st series) Presentation Proof Cards

Presentation Proof Cards are usually very limited in numbers. These four cards show more evidence that the imperforates exist.

1985 Saint Vincent Grenadines Leaders of the World, Cricket Players (3rd series) Progressive Color Proof Stamps

3,000 sets of progressive color proofs produced according to general reprinting practices. The seven stage sets are available on the market by one seller minus the final proofs. This is again solid evidence this set was reprinted.

At present there is no evidence that any other varieties exist for the 3rd Cricket Players series.
It is possible that they were produced but at present no others are known on the market.
At this time, no errors are available on the market.

I stated on the introduction page that press sheets of the imperforates and progressive color proofs were sold in the 1995 final sale of the archive. Some were sold again in auction recently at a very low bid in consideration of the rarity. The status is unknown on them at present.

This concludes our study of the varieties produced for the Leaders of the World Cricket Players series issued by Saint Vincent Grenadines. I hope that this clarifies the point that the stigma that millions were made of each issue is completely false and should be ignored by collectors and dealers of these issues. Because of a few biased and exaggerated opinions and written articles on these issues of which they have no evidence to back their claims the LOW stamp issues and varieties have been undervalued and shunned by many for years. Sometimes the "experts" are not such experts as they have not completed the research needed to verify their claims.

Your friend and fellow collector and researcher,
JLowe

References taken from:
Stanley Gibbons Windward Islands and Barbados
Scott Catalog
Inventory list for the Format Archive by Robson Lowe
Documents obtained from the trial exhibits
Actual materials from the police evidence used in the trials
Online research
Documents obtained from the printers files that still exist
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UPDATED LAST ON: 07-Mar-2015 04:05 PM