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THE 1988 DISCOVERY OF AMERICA STAMPS
AND OTHER VARIETIES PRINTED BY THE FORMAT INTERNATIONAL SECURITY PRINTERS LTD.

The 1988 Saint Vincent 500th Anniversary of the Discovery of America Stamps (2nd issue) and What was Found in the Archive

In 1987 the Format International Security Printers Ltd. were commissioned By the St. Vincent postal authorities to produce another issue of stamps depicting various scenes of Columbus and the discovery of America. The stamps were to commemorate the upcoming celebration of the 500th anniversary of the discovery of America in 1992. The set of stamps were produced for Saint Vincent only. Many other commonwealth countries as well as other foreign countries were to celebrate the event mostly in 1992. For some reason St. Vincent and Dependencies got off with an early start to the celebration. Saint Vincent issued the stamps on January 11, 1988.
This page is only for the 1988 Saint Vincent issue. This is the set which was produced and issued:

1988 500TH ANNIVERSARY OF DISCOVERY OF AMERICA (1992) BY COLUMBUS (2ND ISSUE) Scott #1087-93, SG #1125-30,MS1131

1988 Columbus Discovery of America 2nd Series Stamps
1988 Columbus Discovery of America 2nd Series Souvenir Sheet

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........

SAINT VINCENT

THE NORMAL IMPERFORATE PROOFS

1988 Discovery of America Imperforate Proof Stamp Set
1988 Discovery of America Imperforate Proof Souvenir Sheet

Based on market scanning and analysis it is fairly safe to say these have a medium rarity factor. Price variances from $20.00 to $100.00 a set of singles and $15-50.00 for the souvenir sheet shows that these are getting to be a tough buy. Quantities are unknown but availability is limited. Fair market value should be around $50.00 for the set and $25.00 for the souvenir sheet.

THE PROGRESSIVE COLOR PROOFS

1988 Discovery of America Progressive Color Proofs
1988 Discovery of America Progressive Color Proofs
1988 Discovery of America Progressive Color Proofs Souvenir Sheets

These examples I found were for sale at around $50.00 each set. An exceptional deal for these! These are getting tough to find. Market valuation for a full set is around $2-300.00. The souvenir sheet another $100-150.00.
Color proofs come in varying numbers for different stamps and sets. This particular issue has total of 7 variants including the final product. When buying these be sure to check that all the variants are there or it should be considered a short set. Many sellers say nothing in these regards.

THE SPECIMEN OVERPRINTS

1988 Discovery of America SPECIMEN Overprinted Stamp Set
1988 Discovery of America SPECIMEN Overprinted Souvenir Sheet

I found very few examples of these for sale. Pricing ranging from $4.00 to $35.00 for a singles set and $5-20.00 for the souvenir sheet. Judging from availability would estimate $15.00 to $20.00 for the set and $10.00 to $15.00 for the souvenir sheet.
Quantities unknown.

GUTTERS ETC.

Judging from what is available it appears that the gutters and cross gutters from uncut press sheets have a modest rarity factor. Cross gutters are being offered at around $50.00 thus the probability of 20-50 uncut press sheets were saved. More research is needed on these.

VARIETIES

No errors reported for this issue.

The following are

NEW DISCOVERIES

from the Bileski Estate!!!

THE DOUBLE SOUVENIR SHEET PROOFS

In my purchases of the Bileski Estate I found a large manila envelope packed with souvenir sheet pairs cut from archival sheets. I was amazed to find they all pertained to the 1988 Columbus issue for Saint Vincent and the 1988 Explorers issues for Saint Vincent Grenadines and Saint vincent Bequia. Several years ago I acquired several documents with diagrams of the uncut press sheets for these which included the number found, the description of how the souvenir sheet pairs were cut and how many exist. I present to you here now images of the above mentioned souvenir sheet pairs never before seen on the market and previously unknown till now.

1988 500TH ANNIVERSARY OF DISCOVERY OF AMERICA (1992) BY COLUMBUS (2ND ISSUE) Scott #1093, SG #MS1131
THE SOUVENIR SHEET PAIR WITH PERFS ALL AROUND
Four uncut sheets were found in the archive.
45 vertical pairs were cut.
4 horizontal pairs were cut.
VALUE = $300.00 for vertical pairs

1988 Discovery of America Souvenir Sheet Proof Pair with Perforations all Around

1988 500TH ANNIVERSARY OF DISCOVERY OF AMERICA (1992) BY COLUMBUS (2ND ISSUE) Scott #1093, SG #MS1131
THE SOUVENIR SHEET PAIR WITH PERFS MISSING ON THE RIGHT SIDE
Three uncut sheets were found in the archive.
26 vertical pairs were cut.
4 horizontal pairs were cut.
VALUE = $500.00 for vertical pairs

1988 Discovery of America Souvenir Sheet Proof Pair with Perforations Missing on Right Side

1988 500TH ANNIVERSARY OF DISCOVERY OF AMERICA (1992) BY COLUMBUS (2ND ISSUE) Scott #1093, SG #MS1131
THE SOUVENIR SHEET PAIR WITH ODD PERFS ON THE RIGHT SIDE
A SUPER RARITY! Only one uncut sheet was found in the archive!
2 vertical pairs were cut.
8 horizontal pairs were cut.
VALUE = (horizontal)$1000.00, (vertical)$2500.00

2 EXIST
1988 Discovery of America Souvenir Sheet Vertical Proof Pair with Odd Perforations on the Right

8 EXIST
1988 Discovery of America Souvenir Sheet Horizontal Proof Pair with Odd Perforations on the Right

Now let us move on to the unissued varieties!

UNISSUED $6.00 SOUVENIR SHEET. 300 FOUND IN THE ARCHIVE
1988 Columbus Discovery of America 2nd Series Unissued Souvenir Sheet

Judging from pricing for this souvenir sheet we might assume more are out there than what was found in the archive.
Here again we have a discrepancy with Scott Catalog. Scott has added the number 1093A and lists this souvenir sheet as issued. It lists the value at $4.50. A bit low if only 300 exist one would think, yes? Stanley Gibbons notes that a $2 and $6 souvenir sheet exists but were never issued and were found after the liquidation of the archive. I have yet to see a single $2 issue. There is a set of 6 unissued souvenir sheets with PAIRS of $2 stamps on them. So who is right? Robson Lowe states the $6 was never issued. So does Kasimir Bileski. I think Mr. Robson Lowe has a little more pull in these regards than an editor of Scott Catalog as he was and still is considered one of the foremost philatelic authorities in the world.

IMPERFORATE PROOFS

1988 Columbus Discovery of America 2nd Series Unissued Souvenir Sheet

This one was selling at $110.00. The only one on the market at this time. At this point I would say the rarity factor is quite extreme.

THE PROGRESSIVE COLOR PROOFS

Very little is available on the market today. This shows that there is a rarity factor for these.

THE SPECIMEN OVERPRINTS

No SPECIMEN overprinted unissued souvenir sheets found for sale. Again concluding there is a rarity factor.

Another

NEW DISCOVERY

from the Bileski Estate!!!

1988 500TH ANNIVERSARY OF DISCOVERY OF AMERICA (1992) BY COLUMBUS (2ND ISSUE) Scott #1093A noted in SG
THE UNISSUED $6 SOUVENIR SHEET PAIR WITH PERFS MISSING ON THE BOTTOM
Five uncut sheets of 9 were found in the archive.
17 vertical pairs were cut.
18 singles with wide margins were cut.
VALUE = $500.00 for pairs, $250.00 for singles

1988 Discovery of America Unissued $6.00 Souvenir Sheet Proof Pair with Perforations Missing on the Bottom

THE UNISSUED SET OF SIX SOUVENIR SHEETS

Here is a little story written by the late Kasimir Bileski on these.

Orders were given at the start for Nevis and St. Vincent to also issue a series of
miniature sheets. The artists at Format International Security Printers went to work
with great enthusiasm and produced a most beautiful array of six designs for each
British Commonwealth nation. Enormous amounts of time and work were put into the
total of 12 miniature sheets, utilizing pairs of the issued stamps on 12 completely
(I note he means from the 1986 issues)
different backgrounds. The values of the pairs of stamps were raised to $4.00 total
for each sheet ($2 + $2) and the designers must have been highly pleased with
themselves when samples of the 12 sheets went out to the postal officials. This all
must have taken six or more months.

Back came a refusal to accept same. "Sorry, we need a $6.00 small sheet".
(This is where the story gets a little strange)
So whatever was printed was destroyed, except for 300 sheets of each which
were put into the Archives.

A $6.00 sheet was printed, totally different in design, and at least for St. Vincent
300 were put into the Archives.

Or were the 300 of the $6.00 sheets in the archives the same as sent out to St. Vincent?
I have nothing to compare it so leave it up to buyers to locate a $6.00 issued
sheet and compare.

As you may have noticed there is no mention as to the $5.00 issued sheet for St. Vincent.
Robson Lowe states in the British Philatelist:

The high value miniature sheet is similar to that issued but is a $6 value instead of $5. The theme is the first voyage of 1492 showing the route to Cuba and Hispaniola.

He is referencing that the $6.00 souvenir sheet is unissued.

UNISSUED $2.00 SERIES. 300 OF EACH FOUND IN THE ARCHIVE
1988 Columbus Discovery of America 2nd Series Unissued Souvenir Sheet
UNISSUED $2.00 SERIES. 300 OF EACH FOUND IN THE ARCHIVE
1988 Columbus Discovery of America 2nd Series Unissued Souvenir Sheet
UNISSUED $2.00 SERIES. 300 OF EACH FOUND IN THE ARCHIVE
1988 Columbus Discovery of America 2nd Series Unissued Souvenir Sheet
UNISSUED $2.00 SERIES. 300 OF EACH FOUND IN THE ARCHIVE
1988 Columbus Discovery of America 2nd Series Unissued Souvenir Sheet
UNISSUED $2.00 SERIES. 300 OF EACH FOUND IN THE ARCHIVE
1988 Columbus Discovery of America 2nd Series Unissued Souvenir Sheet
UNISSUED $2.00 SERIES. 300 OF EACH FOUND IN THE ARCHIVE
1988 Columbus Discovery of America 2nd Series Unissued Souvenir Sheet

Due to the low number existing of these a set should be valued at $300.00.
Likewise so should the set of six for Nevis. A good deal would be $500.00 for all 12.

There are several uncut press sheets still in existence for these sets but they are now extremely rare.
Advise is...if you have one retain it and you may find it to be unique. Most have been broken and the pieces are slowly dispersing among the collecting community. Because these issues deal with ships and America's discovery the estimated number of uncut press sheets that were saved range from 7 to 10 sheets. The range is higher for Saint Vincent though as we can see the commonality of many of the varieties. The Format Printers last owners created a huge problem in this area because:

1.) Saint Vincent Postal Authorities seemed not to care WHAT the printers did with their issues.
2.) The company produced quite a few "made for collector" errors for this country between 1986-7.
3.) The company produced and held onto a large number proofs and color trials for various (what they considered) popular issues meaning LOW issues and topical issues and yes, royalty issues for Saint Vincent.

As we can see in the declining numbers of items available variety wise with the dependencies, they obviously at the time thought that the dependencies would not be as popular and thus less material was produced for them. This same methodology appears to be apparent with other commonwealth countries also such as Tuvalu and its dependencies. High numbers for Tuvalu and lower numbers for the dependencies.

This may not be quite so true with the explorer issues though as it seems to be opposite. It seems that color trials and such were saved in larger quantities for the explorer issues of 1988 Grenadines and Bequia than of the 1988 Discovery of America issues of St. Vincent. Possibly due to the topic. The St. vincent issues solely pertaining to Columbus whereas the the Grenadines and Bequia issues dealt with several explorers.

Luckily the whistle was blown and this type of production was put to a screeching halt in late 1987 and early 1988. Some materials were destroyed before police raids could get to them. Inside sources are now portraying the picture of what happened to some of the materials. Some quantities of sheets with errors were quickly sold off to investors who quickly got them off their hands before the raids. Investors who bought them, out of fear, locked them away and never resold them. Some destroyed the materials out of fear. SOME of the materials may STILL be locked away. Certain sources are now retracing the trails to find out what happened to them. As time goes by more and more information WILL be found and truths will be revealed. Shady dealers will be revealed and scorned. Pricing of these materials will be stabilized and most of what the Format International Security Printers produced will be shown to have been legitimately made and saved in the archive.

References taken from:
Stanley Gibbons Windward Islands and Barbados
Scott Catalog
Inventory list for the Format Archive by Robson Lowe
The Bileski Documentation
Online internet research

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