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THE JOHN J. AUDUBON BIRDS ERROR STAMPS
AND OTHER VARIETIES PRINTED BY THE FORMAT INTERNATIONAL SECURITY PRINTERS LTD.

The 1985 Birth Bicentenary of John J. Audubon Stamps and What was Found in the Archive

In 1985 the Format International Security Printers Ltd. were commissioned By the Nevis postal authorities to produce a series of stamps depicting pictures of the famous paintings by John J. Audubon of birds to celebrate the bicentenary of his birth. Two sets of four pairs of stamps were produced for Nevis. They were:

NEVIS
1985 BIRTH BICENTENARY OF JOHN J. AUDUBON (1st issue) Scott #408,410,411,413, SG #269-76

1985 Birth Bicentenary of John J. Audubon (1st issue) Stamps

1985 BIRTH BICENTENARY OF JOHN J. AUDUBON (2nd issue) Scott #407,409,412,414, SG #285-92

1985 Birth Bicentenary of John J. Audubon (2nd issue) Stamps

Marquee for Golowe's Reference Site on the Format International Security Printers

According to prior written information and internet research the following findings will be presented and will stand until solid evidence is presented proving otherwise........

THE 1985 JOHN J. AUDUBON BIRDS ERRORS (missing yellow)

1985 Birth Bicentenary of John J. Audubon Birds Error (missing yellow) Stamps
The following was written by the late Mr. Kasimir Bileski who acquired all existing sheets of the Nevis 1985 John J. Audubon birds color error issues found in the archive.

NEVIS:
THE BICENTENARY OF AUDUBON'S BIRTH
Scott #'s 407, 408, 411, 412, 417, 418, 421, 422 ERRORS one color missing plus
some overprinted Specimen.

Note that these numbers were from older Scott catalogs. Since then Scott in their strange ways
have lumped both sets of issues into one group and are missing SC#415-22 entirely.

In checking sheets of the 1985 Audubon set printing inspectors, discovered a
major error; the yellow color was missing from some sheets on which are printed
no less than eight values, the 1c, 40c, 60c, and $2.50.

There are two printing guides for each color used. For these stamps four colors
were used; blue, black for lettering, red and yellow. These guides, known
as 'traffic lights' and 'color controls' appear at the bottom of the sheet and
advise the printer if one or more are missing. However the yellow color is most
difficult to spot if one looks only at the two guides.

So how could the yellow color be missing on no less than eight stamps? Surely
this is a deliberate error?

First of all, these stamps were printed in an interesting fashion. It is a long
set of 16 different Bird stamps, reproductions of Audubon's famous and now most
rare paintings of birds. On one big sheet of 200 stamps no less than four values
were printed at one time in panes of 50. Each pane of 50 has two different birds
but same values, se-tenant over the entire 50 stamps.

Thus one sheet of 200 stamps can have eight different errors, if one color is
missing, as in this case the easily overlooked yellow color. One other big
sheet has the remaining eight values, for the total of 16 different birds.

My reasons for considering these to be genuine errors are as follows:
1. No errors 'made to order' so to say on the other eight values
2. No other colors missing. If one wanted deliberate errors, it would be
a simple matter to remove the red, or the blue, or the black or any other
combination possible.

Whoever was in charge of the Archives selected four sheets of the missing yellow
error, making thus possible only 100 sets of eight errors. And to emphasize these
he also put in four normal sheets except that these are overprinted SPECIMEN, a
rarity in themselves. All were locked up in the Archives.

And that is all that exists: 100 sets. No other errors on these have ever appeared
on the market since 1985.

I am selling these strictly on the basis that only 100 sets exist as verified by
Robson Lowe.

Missing colors or lettering in a multi color job are a fact of life in any printer's
life no matter how large or careful the company is. Consider Canada with all its
missing lettering, which sell $500 to $5,000 per stamp. USA has plenty such errors
and they sure are not cheap. Take a look at Scotts and see how many there are with
this or that color omitted. Plenty cost over $1,000.00 each.

My price for one of the 100 sets of errors + one of the normal sets, but overprinted
Specimen is

$1,000.00



______________________________________Kasimir Bileski___________

The error stamps themselves were saved in uncut press sheets of 200. As Mr. Bileski states four sheets were found. The same number for the SPECIMEN overprinted stamps was found. There is a difference from these which in my research I have discovered, in comparison to the quite commonly sold SPECIMEN overprinted sets seen on the market today. More details on that are farther down the page. According to Robson Lowe (who took inventory and was in charge of liquidation of the archive after the printing company went bankrupt), the following was written in the inventory list:

St. Kitts Nevis 1985 Birds, 100 examples yellow omitted opt
SPECIMEN also normals

In my analysis of this you can see Mr. Lowe is kind of vague on these.
The quantities listed comply with the write ups by Mr. Bileski.

The following will be presented in two sections.
SECTION 1 will pertain to the missing yellow error stamp sets.
SECTION 2 will pertain to the SPECIMEN overprint stamp sets. Here we go.

________________SECTION 1_______________

In my purchases of the Bileski estate holdings I discovered one large envelope and various sets and pieces of this major rarity just thrown about randomly in the boxes. In reuniting all of these I am now able to present to you and the world the images of the fully rebuilt press sheet of 200 of which none exist anymore! Also images and valuations of the different gutter portions from the sheets. Enjoy the show!

THE REBUILT UNCUT PRESS SHEET OF THE 1985 NEVIS AUDUBON BIRDS MISSING YELLOW ERROR
1985 Birth Bicentenary of John J. Audubon Birds Error (missing yellow) Rebuilt Press Sheet

Because of the number of gutter pieces I have found in the estate holding, quantities of the single pair sets are quite a bit lower than the original 100 set figures. Let us see what that might be!
I believe I have found all that are left in existence of some of these items.

THE CROSS GUTTER WITH DOUBLE PAIRS OF ALL VALUES
1985 Birth Bicentenary of John J. Audubon Birds Error (missing yellow) in Cross Gutter with Double Pairs
I found all three of them. The fourth may have been broken but evidence will show that it still exists.
Based on the following information about rarity, valuation and just plain understanding that these are the main centerpiece of the uncut press sheets their value is $4,000.00.

The following is taken from another write up by Mr. Bileski. Based on this write up we can get a general feel for the valuation of these items. I will explain after the read. Here we go.

Mr. McLean:

Enclosed $8,000.00 is quite a bit of spare change
and while it is from a group on which I will be
lucky to break even, am doing pretty well on the
Format Archive, unissued, etc.

Robson Lowe could only find one grand major error
(the Nevis Audubon missing yellow color) plus
some minor varieties in other Commonwealth issue
stamps of no great consequence. Not a bad record
after some 30 years of printing.

I've already sent you a set of eight of this error.

But to sweeten this $8,000.00 offer, here is a
block set with four sets showing horizontal gutter
and a strip set with two more sets showing vertical
gutter. These are of considerable rarity as only
four each are possible. Normal sets are well worth
$1,000.00. These complete gutter sets are worth a
considerable premium, say $8,000.00 for the two
units.

Sincerely,

______________________Kasimir_____________

In the envelope described above were the two left and right side horizontal gutters
with double pair sets of the error and the same with SPECIMEN overprinted sets.
Also vertical gutter single pair sets of both errors and SPECIMEN overprinted.

Basing on the $8,000.00 valuation for all the breakdown must be:

1.Matched side horizontal gutter sets $2,500.00 each set
2.Matched vertical gutter single pair sets $1,500.00 each set.

An interesting note:
Actually only 2 vertical single pair gutters sets can exist. Through reassembly and count of what was in the holdings it is only possible for two sets to exist without destroying part of what was in the holding. I believe that Mr. Bileski PLANNED to do this but passed on before it could actually be done. More on this below.
So here we go with more images.

THE LEFT AND RIGHT SIDE HORIZONTAL GUTTER DOUBLE PAIR SET
1985 Birth Bicentenary of John J. Audubon Birds Error (missing yellow) in Side Horizontal Gutters with Double Pairs
I found 3 sets of these in the estate holding. Only four sets can exist.
Value is $2,500.00.

THE HORIZONTAL GUTTER SINGLE PAIR SET
1985 Birth Bicentenary of John J. Audubon Birds Error (missing yellow) in Horizontal Gutters with Single Pairs
I found only this one set in the estate holding. Only four sets can exist.
Value is $1,500.00.

THE VERTICAL GUTTER DOUBLE PAIR SET
1985 Birth Bicentenary of John J. Audubon Birds Error (missing yellow) in Vertical Gutters with Double Pairs

I found 6 of the low values in this state and 4 of the higher values in same state.
This is where it was getting complicated as to what can and does exist. How come there are 6 vertical gutter double pairs of the low values? Positional wise there should only be four! I figured it out though after pulling a few hairs out. There exists only two of the TOP selvage vertical gutter double pairs. By destroying the other two of these we have the 6 vertical double pairs. So why not 6 of the higher values? I found all four of the BOTTOM selvage vertical gutter double pairs intact! There is no other way to get them unless you start destroying the cross center blocks and well, that was not going to happen.
So again basing values on the above and single set prices and noting STILL only four sets can exist the value for a set is $2,500.00.
The two extra low values still are worth $1,250.00 but without their counterparts would be a tough sell so I will probably break at least one into singles as I have the option with the BOTTOM selvage vertical gutters as two of them have blocks of 4 pairs! Or I could completely destroy two of the BOTTOM selvage vertical gutters and get two more vertical gutter pairs. See below images for examples. Onward!

THE VERTICAL GUTTER SINGLE PAIR SET
1985 Birth Bicentenary of John J. Audubon Birds Error (missing yellow) in Vertical Gutters

I found only one set of these in the holding. Only two sets can exist. They were take from the second row top and bottom selvage vertical gutters. At some point I may make it four sets that can exist by taking the extra gutters from the quadruple bottoms (see below) and breaking one of the two low value double vertical gutter pairs.
Value stands at $1,500.00 whether this is done or not.

THE TOP AND BOTTOM SELVAGE VERTICAL GUTTER DOUBLE PAIR SET
1985 Birth Bicentenary of John J. Audubon Birds Error (missing yellow) in Top and Bottom Selvage Vertical Gutters with Double Pairs

I found in the estate holdings only two tops and four bottoms. Only two sets can exist as this.
Value is $4,000.00.

THE BOTTOM SELVAGE QUADRUPLE PAIR VERTICAL GUTTER
1985 Birth Bicentenary of John J. Audubon Birds Error (missing yellow) in Bottom Selvage Vertical Gutters with Quadruple Pairs

I found two of these in the estate holdings. As I explained earlier the top vertical gutters that were destroyed supplied the extra two low values vertical double pair gutters. The single vertical pair gutters were from the existing top ones. If I take a vertical gutter pair off each of the two existing bottom ones like this we would have the four existing gutter pairs. If I were to destroy these two I could manage having 6 of the vertical gutter double pair sets. Quite the dilemma yes? As it stands now this item (considering it has 4 pairs of the higher values) would be worth in the neighborhood of $2,500-$3,000.00. It will take some time to decide on this one.

THE FOUR CORNERS FROM THE SHEET WITH DOUBLE PAIRS
1985 Birth Bicentenary of John J. Audubon Birds Error (missing yellow) in All Four Double Paired Corners From the Sheet

I found one set of these in the estate holding. Only four sets can exist.
Value based on same principles here and as the Nevis Spitfire corners is $4,000.00.

In counting out what is still in intact large piece form we can safely deduct 26 full sets from the 100 possible.
Counting out the bottom selvage quadruples, extra vertical double gutters and a few other items another 10 sets can be deducted thus 36 from the 100 possible. Then taking into account what has already been sent out in the market in these forms (as in items I do not have in my possession) I think we can safely say that there are around 50 singles sets possible.
On this basis, the topic of the stamps, being a genuine error, and just being a beautiful set in general I believe Mr. Bileski's pricing the singles set with the SPECIMEN overprint set at $1,000.00 is very generous indeed!
Ahhh, now the SPECIMEN overprints.

_____________________end Section 1____________________

___________________SECTION 2_____________________

To begin I again present to you and the world an image of a rebuilt uncut press sheet this time of the above set in their normal form with SPECIMEN overprints.

THE REBUILT UNCUT PRESS SHEET OF THE 1985 NEVIS AUDUBON BIRDS WITH SPECIAL "SPECIMEN" OVERPRINT
1985 Birth Bicentenary of John J. Audubon Birds SPECIMEN Overprinted Rebuilt Press Sheet

Now you say, so they are SPECIMEN overprinted, so what? There is quite a difference between normal issued SPECIMEN overprinted stamps and the SPECIMEN overprinted stamps from the uncut press sheets. Here is the normal issued ones.

NORMAL ISSUED SPECIMEN STAMP SET
1985 Birth Bicentenary of John J. Audubon Birds SPECIMEN Overprinted Issued Stamp Set

And here are the ones from the uncut press sheets.

SPECIMEN STAMP SET FROM UNCUT PRESS SHEETS

1985 Birth Bicentenary of John J. Audubon Birds SPECIMEN Overprinted Stamp Set From Uncut Press Sheet

Notice the difference? Obviously....the positioning of the overprint. But what else is different?
Let's go a little deeper....

THE 1c SPECIMEN STAMPS ENLARGED VIEW
1985 Birth Bicentenary of John J. Audubon Birds SPECIMEN Overprinted Stamp Enlarged View

Notice the lettering is heavier on the issued SPECIMEN stamp than the one from the uncut press sheet.
And now, let's go a little deeper still....

THE 1c SPECIMEN STAMPS ENLARGED VIEW
1985 Birth Bicentenary of John J. Audubon Birds SPECIMEN Enlarged View of the SPECIMEN Overprint

Note that the uncut press sheets overprint is larger than the issued stamps overprint.
The overprints from uncut press sheets is approximately 17.5MM whereas the overprints
from the issued stamps are 16MM. Quite a variance in philatelic terms. So check those SPECIMEN overprinted Nevis 1985 2nd issue stamp sets out because you may have a set worth
$500.00!!!

Now on with the show!

Again because of the number of gutter pieces I have found in the estate holding, quantities of the single pair sets are quite a bit lower than the original 100 set figures. Let us see what that might be also!
I believe I have found all that are left in existence of some of these items too.

THE CROSS GUTTER WITH DOUBLE PAIRS OF ALL VALUES
1985 Birth Bicentenary of John J. Audubon Birds SPECIMEN Overprinted Stamps in Cross Gutter with Double Pairs
Again I found three of them. Once again the fourth may have been broken but evidence will show that it still exists.
Based on the above information about rarity, valuation and just plain understanding that these are the main centerpiece of the uncut press sheets their value too is $4,000.00.

THE LEFT AND RIGHT SIDE HORIZONTAL GUTTER DOUBLE PAIR SET
1985 Birth Bicentenary of John J. Audubon Birds SPECIMEN Overprinted Stamps in Side Horizontal Gutters with Double Pairs
I found 3 sets of these in the estate holding. Again only four sets can exist.
Value is $2,500.00.

THE HORIZONTAL GUTTER SINGLE PAIR SET
1985 Birth Bicentenary of John J. Audubon Birds SPECIMEN Overprinted Stamps in Horizontal Gutters with Single Pairs
Again I found only this one set in the estate holding. Only four sets can exist.
Value is $1,500.00.

THE VERTICAL GUTTER DOUBLE PAIR SET
1985 Birth Bicentenary of John J. Audubon Birds SPECIMEN Overprinted Stamps in Vertical Gutters with Double Pairs

Once again I found 6 of the low values in this state and 4 of the higher values in same state.
Again this was getting complicated as to what can and does exist. Again the question of how come there are 6 vertical gutter double pairs of the low values? Again I figured it out after pulling a few more hairs out. Again There exists only two of the TOP selvage vertical gutter double pairs. By destroying the other two of these we have the 6 vertical double pairs. The question again, so why not 6 of the higher values? I found all four of the BOTTOM selvage vertical gutter double pairs intact! There is no other way to get them unless you start destroying the cross center blocks and well, that was not going to happen with these either.
So again basing values on the above and single set prices and noting STILL only four sets can exist the value for a set is $2,500.00.
The two extra low values still are worth $1,250.00 but without their counterparts would be a tough sell so I will probably break at least one into singles as I have the option with the BOTTOM selvage vertical gutters as two of them again have blocks of 4 pairs! Or again I could completely destroy two of the BOTTOM selvage vertical gutters and get two more vertical gutter pairs. See below images for examples. Onward again!

THE VERTICAL GUTTER SINGLE PAIR SET
1985 Birth Bicentenary of John J. Audubon Birds SPECIMEN Overprinted Stamps in Vertical Gutters

Again I found only one set of these in the holding. Believe only two exist. At some point I may make it four sets that can exist.
Value is $1,500.00.

THE TOP AND BOTTOM SELVAGE VERTICAL GUTTER DOUBLE PAIR SET
1985 Birth Bicentenary of John J. Audubon Birds SPECIMEN Overprinted Stamps in Top and Bottom Selvage Vertical Gutters with Double Pairs

Again I found in the estate holdings only two tops and four bottoms. Only two sets can exist as this.
Value is $4,000.00.

THE BOTTOM SELVAGE QUADRUPLE PAIR VERTICAL GUTTER
1985 Birth Bicentenary of John J. Audubon Birds SPECIMEN Overprinted Stamps in Bottom Selvage Vertical Gutters with Quadruple Pairs

Again I found two of these in the estate holdings. As I explained earlier the top vertical gutters that were destroyed thus supplying the extra two low values vertical double pair gutters. The single vertical pair gutters were from the existing top ones. If I take a vertical gutter pair off each of the two existing bottom ones like this we would have the four existing gutter pairs. If I were to destroy these two I could manage having 6 of the vertical gutter double pair sets. Quite the dilemma again yes? As it stands now this item (considering it has 4 pairs of the higher values) would be worth in the neighborhood of $2,500-$3,000.00. It will take some time to decide on this one.

THE FOUR CORNERS FROM THE SHEET WITH DOUBLE PAIRS
1985 Birth Bicentenary of John J. Audubon Birds SPECIMEN Overprinted Stamps in All Four Double Paired Corners From the Sheet

I found one set of these in the estate holding. Only four sets can exist.
Value based on same principles here and as the Nevis Spitfire corners is $4,000.00.

Also found in the holding were two sets of the high value corners with FOUR pairs! Here is an image.

THE TWO CORNERS FROM THE SHEET WITH QUADRUPLE PAIRS
1985 Birth Bicentenary of John J. Audubon Birds SPECIMEN Overprinted Stamps in Two Quadruple Paired Corners From the Sheet

The upper corners whereabouts are unknown. These would have a value of around $3,000.00 for both.

In counting out what is still in intact large piece form we can safely deduct 28 full sets from the 100 possible.
Counting out the bottom selvage quadruples, extra vertical double gutters and a few other items another 20 sets can be deducted thus 48 from the 100 possible. Then taking into account what has already been sent out in the market in these forms (as in items I do not have in my possession) around 10 more sets,
I think we can safely say that there are around 40 singles sets possible.

After all of these observations are taken into consideration I state that Mr. Bileski's pricing is well within bounds of what these rarities are worth and do believe they will increase in value as time goes by.

_________________End Section 2________________

THE IMPERFS AND COLOR PROOFS
Imperforates seem quite common on the market and price wise are pretty reasonable. Valued at $3-6.00 a pair.
Full color proof sets are quite reasonable also. Do not buy a single pair color proof set for more than say $20-25.00. A single pair color proof set of all 8 pairs from both series should go no higher than $200.00. Usually the printers saved more panes of the imperforate finished product proofs than the color proofs themselves, thus the price difference. Multiple pairs from corners and such showing the color guides or company logo command a premium. Here is an image of such.
1985 Birth Bicentenary of John J. Audubon Birds Color Trial Corner Blocks with Company Logo

Anyone asking higher prices for these types of varieties should not be dealt with.
Quantities are unknown.

THE SPECIMEN OVERPRINTS
1985 Birth Bicentenary of John J. Audubon Birds SPECIMEN Overprinted Issued Stamp Set

Normal Specimen overprinted stamp sets seem quite common on the market and price wise are pretty reasonable also. Valued at $3-6.00 a set for each series. Approximately $10-$15.00 for both series. The first series were overprinted sideways.
Quantities are unknown.

Basically the last word on the Nevis 1985 John J. Audubon Birds Stamps color errors and varieties. Any new information on this set will be taken into consideration and modifications made if needed.

References taken from:
Stanley Gibbons Leeward Islands
Scott Catalog
Inventory list for the Format Archive by Robson Lowe
Kasimir Bileski notes
----View the notes here----
Online internet research

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UPDATED LAST ON: 04-Feb-2017 03:54 PM