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THE FORMAT INTERNATIONAL SECURITY PRINTERS LTD. ARCHIVE

Information and Reference of What was Found in the Archive

Stamp issues for Saint Thomas and Prince Islands printed by the Format International Security Printers Ltd. and items found in the Archive

Flag of Saint Thomas and Prince Islands
Marquee for Golowe's Reference Site on the Format International Security Printers

SAINT THOMAS AND PRINCE ISLANDS
SAO TOMÉ E PRÍNCIPE

Saint Thomas and Prince Islands stamps printed by Format International Security Printers Ltd.
Links to pages with information on items found in the archive

Saint Thomas and Prince Islands stamp varieties were an interesting study at least for me because basically except for issues produced by the Format Printers....there are none! If you look on the market you will find that except for a few imperforates, varieties are rarely offered. Possibly this is due to popularity of the country or possibly because of the blanket statement found in Scott Catalog stating that some of the sets following from 1977 may not have been issued by the government.

It appears that production of stamps for this country increased significantly after Format stopped producing stamps for them in 1981. Archival evidence shows Format ended production of stamps for Saint Thomas and Prince Islands in 1981. It appears that the House of Questa took over and as is the usual case....started producing numerous large sets for this country. In the 1990's color proof sets and imperfs begin again and from 2000 on...well there are a lot of topicals being produced for this country to present day. Many with imperfs and such available.

For Saint Thomas and Prince Islands not a lot was saved. In most cases one or a couple press sheets were saved. Basically all were folded for storage. In my purchases of the Bileski estate a large envelope was found marked for this country and inside I found several unique items which until now are not known to exist. I will present them with the sets shown below.

Noting for Saint Thomas and Prince Islands that Stanley Gibbons nor any other catalog seems to note who the printers were during the time that Format printed stamps for this country. By scanning thousands of images looking for clues like the color guides and logo's and analyzing archival material I am able to present this page.

Stanley Gibbons only lists this countries stamps from 1977 onward in an addendum therefore no numbers will be used from them on this page.

1979 FLOWERS AND BUTTERFLIES
Scott #501-8

Except for the Flowers Souvenir sheet, the stamps and butterflies souvenir sheet do not appear to exist imperforate. They are commonly found CTO.
Four to Five press sheets mint and CTO of the stamps and one press sheet for the souvenir sheets was found in the archive. Kasimir Bileski obtained them in his purchases of the archive. Where the single stamp varieties are is unknown at present but the cross gutter blocks I have seen on the market.
The souvenir sheet press sheet was cut into double souvenir sheet pairs of which I obtained all that exist along with the diagrams showing how Mr. Bileski cut them and what exists. Only 8 varieties of each souvenir sheet exist!

1979 Saint Thomas and Prince Islands Flowers and Butterflies Stamps

Charaxes varanes defulvata
1979 Saint Thomas and Prince Islands Butterflies Souvenir Sheet

Hibiscus mutabilis
1979 Saint Thomas and Prince Islands Flowers Souvenir Sheet

Kasimir Bileski's standard practice after his purchases from the archive was to break the uncut press sheets into gutter varieties and the press sheets with souvenir sheets into souvenir sheet pairs imperforate between. For the Flowers and Butterflies issue both of the souvenir sheets were printed on one large press sheet. Until now the varieties made from the press sheet were not known to exist! Below is imaged the original diagram created by Mr. Bileski showing how he cut the press sheet and what exists.

Diagram of the 1979 Flowers and Butterflies Souvenir Sheet Press Sheet
1979 Saint Thomas and Prince Islands Diagram of the Flowers and Butterflies Souvenir Sheet Press Sheet

Rare Hibiscus mutabilis Souvenir sheet with Blank Perf from the Unique Press Sheet (2 exist)
1979 Saint Thomas and Prince Islands Flowers Souvenir Sheet with Blank Perfs from the Unique Press Sheet (2 exist)

Unique Hibiscus mutabilis and Charaxes varanes defulvata Souvenir sheets attached and Imperforate Between from the Unique Press Sheet (1 exists)
1979 Saint Thomas and Prince Islands Flowers and Butterflies Souvenir Sheets attached and Imperforate Between from the Unique Press Sheet (1 exists)

1979 INTERNATIONAL COMMUNICATIONS DAY
Scott #509-12

The stamps do not appear to exist imperforate. They are commonly found CTO.
Kasimir Bileski did not list this set as being in his purchases from the archive. I have seen no varieties of this set.

1979 Saint Thomas and Prince Islands International Communications Day Stamps

1979 INTERNATIONAL YEAR OF THE CHILD
Scott #513-17

The stamps do not appear to exist imperforate. They are commonly found CTO. The souvenir sheet was issued imperforate.
There was a label with the IYC emblem placed se-tenant between two values on the panes but not between all of them thus making it rarer than the set.
Kasimir Bileski did not list this set as being in his purchases from the archive. I have seen no varieties of this set.

1979 Saint Thomas and Prince Islands International Year of the Child Stamps

Children from Different Countries Holding Hands
1979 Saint Thomas and Prince Islands International Year of the Child Souvenir Sheet

1979 DEATH CENTENARY OF SIR ROWLAND HILL (1st issue)
Scott #518-19

Both of the souvenir sheets exist imperforate. The imperforates exist in quantities of around 3-5,000.
In 1983 Scott #519 was overprint for a series of events. It was not done by Format.
For these two souvenir sheet issues one press sheet of each was saved in the archive. Until now the double souvenir sheets imperforate between made from the press sheets were virtually not known to exist!

Mr. Bileski documented that only 8 pairs of each souvenir sheet exist. The documentation has discrepancies in regards to several single stamp issues though including the 2nd issue Rowland Hill set issued in 1980. Therefore I am presenting images of the documentation with the second issue set further down this page along with corrections for these discrepancies on each issue involved.

30th Anniversary of the 1st Airmail Flight, Lisbon to St. Thomas & Prince
1979 Saint Thomas and Prince Islands Rowland Hill DC-3 Dakota Souvenir Sheet

Brasiliana '79 International Philatelic Exhibition & the 18th UPU Congress
1979 Saint Thomas and Prince Islands Rowland Hill Graffic Zeppelin Souvenir Sheet

1979 Rowland Hill DC-3 Dakota Souvenir Sheet Pair (8 exist)
1979 Saint Thomas and Prince Islands Rowland Hill DC-3 Dakota Souvenir Sheet Pair from the Archive

1979 HISTORY OF AVIATION
Scott #528-33

The stamps do not appear to exist imperforate. They are commonly found CTO.
Kasimir Bileski documented press sheets found in the archive for this set along with the Rowland Hill and History of Navigation issues.
There are discrepancies though in the fact that 6 press sheets with CTO cancels existed proven by the cross gutters that exist. The number of mint press sheets is in question but it presently stands that only one existed. Therefore mint gutters are extremely rare! Two values of the History of Aviation were printed with two values of the History of Navigation sets on the same press sheet thus producing combo gutter pairs.

1979 Saint Thomas and Prince Islands History of Aviation Stamps

1979 History of Aviation Gutter Blocks
1979 Saint Thomas and Prince Islands History of Aviation Gutter Blocks

1979 History of Aviation CTO Cross gutter Block
1979 Saint Thomas and Prince Islands History of Aviation CTO Crossgutter Block

1979 HISTORY OF NAVIGATION, SHIPS
Scott #534-40

The stamps do not appear to exist imperforate. They are commonly found CTO. The souvenir sheet only exists imperforate.
Deluxe sheetlet sets exist. Standard printing would be 1-2,000 sets. They are not common therefore perhaps many have been lost or destroyed?
Kasimir Bileski documented press sheets found in the archive for this set along with the Rowland Hill and History of Aviation issues.
There are discrepancies though in the fact that 2 press sheets with CTO cancels existed proven by the cross gutters that exist. The number of mint press sheets is in question but it presently stands that only one existed. Therefore mint gutters are extremely rare! Except for the CTO cross gutter blocks and some gutter blocks, nothing is available on the market from the press sheets.
According to Mr. Bileski's documentation only 8 souvenir sheet pairs exist. Where they are is unknown at present.

1979 Saint Thomas and Prince Islands History of Navigation, Ships Stamps

Map of St. Thomas & Prince in 1602
1979 Saint Thomas and Prince Islands History of Navigation, Ships Souvenir Sheet

Deluxe Sheetlet Set
1979 Saint Thomas and Prince Islands History of Navigation, Ships Deluxe Sheetlet Set

1979 History of Navigation, Ships Cross gutter Block
1979 Saint Thomas and Prince Islands History of Navigation, Ships Crossgutter Block

1979 HOT AIR BALLOONS
Scott #555-560A

The stamps exist imperforate. Standard printing would be 5,000 sets. The stamps are commonly found CTO. The souvenir sheet does not appear to exists imperforate.

Kasimir Bileski did not documented press sheets found in the archive for this set. Perhaps he missed them in his study of the purchases.
There are discrepancies though in the fact that 4 press sheets with CTO cancels existed proven by the cross gutters that exist. The number of mint press sheets is in question. There were two press sheets used to make the singles. One was a combo of two values from this set and two from the Dirigibles set. Except for the CTO cross gutter blocks and some gutter blocks, nothing is available on the market from the press sheets.
The evidence showing Mr. Bileski must have had some of the press sheets is the souvenir sheet pair imaged below and existing gutter blocks. It stands to reason that more than likely, as with earlier issues, 8 souvenir sheet pairs exist. Where the other 7 are I do not know.

Progressive color proofs and presentation cards exist for this issue.

1979 Saint Thomas and Prince Islands Hot Air Balloon Stamps

Indoor Demonstration of Hot Air Balloon in 1709
1979 Saint Thomas and Prince Islands Hot Air Balloon Souvenir Sheet

1979 Hot Air Balloons Cross gutter Blocks
1979 Saint Thomas and Prince Islands Hot Air Balloon Crossgutter Blocks

1979 Hot Air Balloons Souvenir Sheet Pair (8 exist?)
1979 Saint Thomas and Prince Islands Hot Air Balloon Souvenir Sheet Pair from the Archive

1979 DIRIGIBLES
Scott #561-6

The stamps exist imperforate. Standard printing would be 5,000 sets. The stamps are commonly found CTO.

Kasimir Bileski did not documented press sheets found in the archive for this set. Perhaps he missed them in his study of the purchases.
There are discrepancies though in the fact that 7 press sheets with CTO cancels existed proven by the cross gutters that exist. The number of mint press sheets is in question. Except for the CTO cross gutter blocks and some gutter blocks, nothing is available on the market from the press sheets.

Progressive color proofs and Presentation cards exist for this issue.

1979 Saint Thomas and Prince Islands Dirigibles Stamps

1979 Dirigibles Cross gutter Blocks
1979 Saint Thomas and Prince Islands Dirigibles Crossgutter Blocks

1980 OLYMPICS, LAKE PLACID AND MOSCOW
Scott #567-72

The stamps and souvenir sheet exist imperforate. Standard printing would be 5,000 sets. The stamps are commonly found CTO.

Progressive color proofs of the souvenir sheet exist. Printing practices put quantities at 2-3,000.
I could not find any documents on the singles of this issue but did find the diagram of the souvenir sheet press sheet!
Nothing is available on the market from the press sheets except one dealer was selling one of the souvenir sheet pairs.
The evidence showing Mr. Bileski must have had some of the press sheets is the souvenir sheet pair imaged below. More evidence is that he notes the set on the documents imaged with the 1980 Rowland Hill issue.

1980 Saint Thomas and Prince Islands Olympics Stamps

1980 Olympics Souvenir Sheet
1980 Saint Thomas and Prince Islands Olympics Souvenir Sheet

Diagram of the 1980 Olympics Souvenir Sheet Press Sheet
1980 Saint Thomas and Prince Islands Diagram of the Olympics Souvenir Sheet Press Sheet

1980 Olympics Souvenir Sheet Pair

Here again I have a discrepancy. I found the diagram and all the souvenir sheet varieties the diagram shows to be made. The diagram shows the pair imaged here as only 4 exist. Yet another dealer was selling the same pair form! The number that exists according to the diagram can throw you off a bit because Mr. Bileski wrote the number that exists under each pair. For instance "4 exist" is written under each pair. Some may think that means four of each pair (four press sheets), when he really meant just the 4 pairs exist. You can see the logic simply by looking at the top pairs on the diagram. If it were the largerer number then four of the top pairs would also be noted.
Still because of the other seller having one pair there must have been at least one more press sheet of the souvenir sheet that existed thus the possibility of 5-8 pairs like this could exist. It appears now that the lower number is more accurate since the other seller no longer lists it therefore they probably only had one. Many times with press sheets from Format, because of the rough storage, major portions of the sheet for many issues was damaged beyond being viable to sell.

1980 Saint Thomas and Prince Islands Olympics Souvenir Sheet Pair from the Archive

1980 DEATH CENTENARY OF SIR ROWLAND HILL, STAMPS ON STAMPS (2nd issue)
Scott #573-7

The stamps and souvenir sheet exist imperforate. Standard printing would be 5,000 sets. The stamps are commonly found CTO.

Here I present the Bileski documentation for this issue and the History of Aviation and History of Navigation issues. Discrepancies exist for this issue as well. I have the cross gutter block described as unique where in fact another dealer is selling one. The one he is selling is also mint. Therefore more than one press sheet existed. This means quantities described by Mr. Bileski must be doubled. Still makes all the gutter varieties an extreme rarity but more accurate knowledge again is now known. Also archival composite press sheets were retained having imperforate stamps spaced far apart and the souvenir sheet with huge margins. Probably all on the same sheet.
Noting here also that none of Mr. Bileski's documents say anything about the souvenir sheet (Scott#577). I do not recall seeing any double souvenir sheets of this one either. Perhaps the same fate as the Scott#519 souvenir sheets?

1980 Saint Thomas and Prince Islands Death Centenary of Sir Rowland Hill (2nd issue) Stamps

1980 Rowland Hill and 1975 Independence Stamp
1980 Saint Thomas and Prince Islands Death Centenary of Sir Rowland Hill (2nd issue) Souvenir Sheet

Bileski First Document on the Rowland Hill, Aviation and Navigation issues (Page 1)
Saint Thomas and Prince Islands Bileski First Document on the Rowland Hill, Aviation and Navigation issues (Page 1)

Bileski First Document on the Rowland Hill, Aviation and Navigation issues (Page 2)
Saint Thomas and Prince Islands Bileski First Document on the Rowland Hill, Aviation and Navigation issues (Page 2)

Bileski Second Document on the 1979 and 1980 Rowland Hill issues
Saint Thomas and Prince Islands Bileski Second Document on the 1979 and 1980 Rowland Hill issues

1980 Death Centenary of Sir Rowland Hill Rare Gutter Blocks and Cross gutter Block

Saint Thomas and Prince Islands 1980 Death Centenary of Sir Rowland Hill Rare Gutter Blocks and Crossgutter Block

1980 10TH ANNIVERSARY OF APOLLO 11 MOON LANDING
Scott #578-82

The stamps and souvenir sheet exist imperforate. Standard printing would be 5,000 sets. The stamps are commonly found CTO.
Deluxe type sheetlets exist for this set including one for the stamp on the souvenir sheet. It appears they are rare. Still usually 1-2,000 sets were produced.

I could not find any documents on this issue but you can see on the documents above that Mr. Bileski did have the press sheets for this issue!
Nothing but the cross gutter is available on the market from the press sheets. I do recall seeing the souvenir sheet pairs somewhere. I have found that at least 5 CTO cross gutters exist like the one imaged. Needless to say it is still extremely rare.

1980 Saint Thomas and Prince Islands 10th Anniversary of the Apollo 11 Moon Landing Stamps

Command Module During Re-entry
1980 Saint Thomas and Prince Islands 10th Anniversary of the Apollo 11 Moon Landing Souvenir Sheet

1980 Saint Thomas and Prince Islands 10th Anniversary of the Apollo 11 Moon Landing Deluxe Sheetlet Set
1980 Saint Thomas and Prince Islands 10th Anniversary of the Apollo 11 Moon Landing Deluxe Sheetlet Set

1980 Saint Thomas and Prince Islands 10th Anniversary of the Apollo 11 Moon Landing CTO Cross gutter Block
1980 Saint Thomas and Prince Islands 10th Anniversary of the Apollo 11 Moon Landing CTO Crossgutter Block

These were the last stamps printed by the Format International Security Printers Ltd. for Saint Thomas and Prince Islands. The company went into bankruptcy in 1989.

References taken from:
Scott Catalog
Bileski Documentation
Inventory list for the Format Archive by Robson Lowe
Internet research

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UPDATED LAST ON: 28-May-2017 08:12 AM