SAINT VINCENT UNION ISLAND LEADERS OF THE WORLD CRICKET PLAYERS STAMP ISSUES AND VARIETIES
The Cricket Players Stamp Issues for Union Island Produced by the Format International Security Printers
A Study of the Varieties and Quantities Produced
In 1984 Saint Vincent Union Island joined other commonwealth countries in the production and issuance of the Leaders of the World (LOW) Cricket Players series of stamps.
Union Island only issued one set of them in 1984. 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
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 Union Island 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 Union Island. 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 Union Island.
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!
Cricket Players issued November 19, 1984
For Union Island it appears no errors exist for this issue. The following evidence shows that they were reprinted. Imperforates and Progressive color proofs
are only from original press sheets putting into question if the reprints exist or were lost. The imperforates can be classified as very rare if indeed
the pane sets are lost.
75,000 sets of the normal perforated issues were produced.
2,000 specimen overprinted sets produced according to general reprinting practices.
This pane along with all values was sold in bulk lots on eBay in 2014. They were in the Saint Vincent side of the police evidence stock.
5000 imperforate sets produced according to general reprinting practices.
This set I found on the market. Due to the large selvage they appear to be from one of the press sheets. Nothing available at this time.
This deluxe sheetlet is available on the market. It is imperforate. Possibly made for promotional reasons. Any information please contact me.
PROGRESSIVE COLOR PROOFS
I stated earlier that the color proofs can only be found from the original printing. I was lucky enough to catch one auction where the uncut press
sheets were sold and it appears they may be unique in nature. Many times the printer only saved one or two sets of the press sheets. They are
the 5-stage progressive color proofs. The fifth stage is yellow and black combined. One final stage press sheet was still intact but the other
was cut into pane sizes.
None are available on the market so I am contemplating cutting them for collectors to have.
CROSSGUTTER BLOCKS FROM THE UNCUT PRESS SHEETS
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 perforated press sheets known to exist at this time.
The lower crossgutter is more evidence that the set was reprinted in 1988.
At present there is no evidence that any other varieties exist for the Saint Vincent Union Island Cricket Players issue.
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.
This concludes our study of the varieties produced for the Leaders of the World Cricket Players series issued by Union Island.
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,
References taken from:
Stanley Gibbons Windward Islands and Barbados
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
Documents obtained from the printers files that still exist RETURN TO TOP