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THE HOUSE OF QUESTA AND THE FORMAT INTERNATIONAL SECURITY PRINTERS


Information and Reference on the ties between The House of Questa and The Format International Security Printers Stamp Printing Companies

A Study of the two companies origins, location, and similarity in varieties and errors produced

Marquee for Golowe's Reference Site on the Format International Security Printers
Information on this page is compiled from financial documents, articles, patents, and various other sources. This page will be updated as more information is made available. If you have documented evidence proving or disproving the following information you can contact me at any time for consideration of changes to this page.

I have created this page because in my research on the Format International Security Printers Ltd. solid evidence has been compiled that there were very strong ties and similarities between the company and The House of Questa.
Over the years the history of the two companies has slowly been erased from records. Be it from lack of interest or by design a very important piece of philatelic history is being lost as time passes. The true location of the House of Questa has been controversial for years now. Most collectors and specialists reference the location at Byfleet which is actually only a fleeting moment in Questa's history. The main operating facilities was located right next to the Format International Security Printers facilities and remained at that location until 2002 when De la Rue purchased The House of Questa and renamed the company as Alnery no. 2273 Limited.
In my research on the Format Printers I was able to pinpoint both facilities. The Byfleet location appears to no longer exist. Here are a couple of images of the Format International Security Printers facility. As you can see most of it appears unoccupied now due to the windows being boarded up and such.

VIEW OF FORMAT FROM SATELLITE
Satellite View of the Format International Security Printers Premises
VIEW OF THE BACK OF FORMAT
View of the Format International Security Printers Premises
FRONT VIEW OF FORMAT
View of Front of the Format International Security Printers Premises

FORMAT INTERNATIONAL SECURITY PRINTER FLOORPLAN
View of Floor Plan of the Format International Security Printers Premises

This case can and will change the stamp collecting communities views forever. The suspicions that have been around for years will be shown to be truth and will no longer be put down as fantasy and/or rumors. It will change the status of thousands of stamp issues for the British Commonwealth countries including Great Britain itself and many other countries the two printing companies produced stamps for. It will change the status of stamps that are listed (or not listed) in the major stamp catalogs such as Stanley Gibbons and Scott Catalogs. It will change the status of stamp printing companies as a whole because Format and Questa are not the only printers that have produced these varieties and "errors" purposely and intentionally for profits from collectors. In general they all have....

There are many sources who will object to this research. Many who do not wish for it to be known. Many who have diligently worked toward the destruction of and/or changing of evidence pointing toward the simple fact that these two companies did in fact produce stamps and varieties of those stamps including made for collector "errors" in the same quantities and in similar fashion during the 1970's through the 1990's and were closely associated with each other and printing companies like Cartor, Waddingtons, Walsall and many others in their past and during their existence. Be it through private connections of employee to employee, or friend to friend, or family to family or through the various philatelic agents and agencies the network of stamp printers has always had a hidden side since the earliest days when it was discovered that stamp varieties and errors produced major profits from collectors like you and me.

This page only shows the evidence of the ties between the Format Printers and the Questa Printers and shows you the road to studying ties between other printers. For stamp "experts" to be true experts, they must follow the history of the stamps they specialize in to the very core of their creation which starts with the agencies and the printers. True experts will document stamps not starting at the day of issue but studying all that happened from the day the stamps were first conceived.

Will this ruin the market for these stamp issues? Not really. In reality it will stabilize it. For years now varieties and errors of many stamps produced by the two companies have been bought and sold in a highly fluctuating price range. Format varieties and errors being sold for peanuts because of the bias created against them whereas Questa varieties and errors fought for in many cases for high dollar amounts. The main reason being the listing of them in Stanley Gibbons. I will show the evidence of this using the 1981 Royal Wedding issues and the 1985 "Carribean Royal Visit" overprinted stamps as examples.
Perhaps these series of examples is one of the many reasons for the hush up on the companies ties. Could it devalue the errors produced by Questa? Very much so! Could it increase the value of the errors produced by Format? Very much so! How? They will all have to be equalized in values.

THE ORIGINS

The origins of the two companies has been shrouded in mystery....until now. In my research into the company I have found a lot to dispute with what is documented on the StampPrinters.info website and elsewhere. The site will be proven inaccurate and inadequate at least in regards to these two printers which puts in to question accuracy on all the other stamp printers referenced on that site. Unless major updates are made to that site which has not been done for years now the information (or lack off) cannot be relied upon.

The reason I state conflict with that site only is because it, at this time, is the only site dedicated toward being a source of information on stamp printing companies in general and thus anybody who is looking for information on a stamp printer will only find the site as a reference. It is very important for a public website to maintain accuracy and updates if it wants to be a trusted source. I am sorry but that site has not been updated in years and by just checking my research here you will see that the proven information I give to you is not presented on that site and so it cannot be given the status of being a "reliable source" at least for the Format and Questa printing companies. Should the owner of the site update and correct the errors I will state it has been done here. Here are snapshots of the references in error as they stand today.

Stampprinters.info reference for The House of Questa Stamp Printers
Snapshot of Stampprinters.info reference for The House of Questa Printers
Stampprinters.info reference for The Format International Security Stamp Printers
Snapshot of Stampprinters.info reference for the Format International Security Printers
Let's begin!

Questa Colour Limited was incorporated on May 23, 1966. House of Questa Colour Limited was not founded on this date as it shows on StampPrinters.info. It was never called that!

Questa Colour Limited Incorporation Document
Image of Questa Colour Limited Incorporation Document

The question of what stamp or set of stamps were printed by them first is interesting. The first documented set is a set from Trinidad and Tobago entitled in Stanley Gibbons as "Carnival Winners" issued in 1970. It was not under the name of The House of Questa like issues that came later. The logo shown in the image below "QCSPL" stands for Questa Colour Security Printers Limited.

Image of Trinidad and Tobago 1970 Stamp with Questa Logo

So my question is....why does the "compiler" say "First stamp(s) traced by compiler: 1966"? Just because of the incorporation? Let's see the stamps! You cannot see them because no stamps were produced by Questa until 1970. They all were made by Format at the location shown.

The House of Questa Limited was incorporated on October 26, 1972. It did not exist under that name until that time. It was still Questa Colour Ltd. and several other names were added in 1970 but the actual name of "The House of Questa" did not exist until the 1972 incorporation.

Finding the records of the company was a real puzzle and is still ongoing. It is as if someone was trying to hide them placing them under different company names of which some do not even have any association with printing stamps at all! Questa had numerous different names registered and all were at the same location.

January 5th, 1970 Questa Colour Security Printers Limited was incorporated when the three directors moved to the new facilities next door. It is then that the Trinidad and Tobago 1970 Carnival set was printed.

Questa Colour Security Printers Limited Incorporation Document
Image of Questa Colour Security Printers Limited Incorporation Document

January 27th, 1970 Questa Colour Limited registered a move to Parkhouse Street. Between 1966 (when they incorporated) and 1970 there are no financial documents for Questa Colour Limited showing they were not doing any business. This includes registered office changes. All business by the three founders was being done under the Format name under the direction of the parent company, Caldew Colour Plates Ltd. To state that Questa made all the stamps under Formats name in some kind of "consortium" is deceptive. Indeed the fact is that Format was the reason that The House of Questa came to be! Financing from Caldew/Format is what got the new facilities (next door) built! A major portion of profits from Trucial States stamps is what helped which was all directed through none other than the philatelic agent, Finbar Kenny with Fouad Antoun.

You can see by this document that the new facilities was named "The House of Questa" in 1970 but the company name was never incorporated until 1972.

Questa Colour Limited Registered Office Move Document
Image of Questa Colour Limited Registered Office Move Document

October 26th, 1972 Grantland Limited was incorporated
Grantland Limited Incorporation Document
Image of Grantland Limited Incorporation Document

On that same day a special resolution was voted in to change the name from Grantland Limited to The House of Questa.

Grantland to House of Questa Name Change Resolution Document
Image of Grantland to House of Questa Name Change Resolution Document

December 21st, 1972 The House of Questa Limited was incorporated as the new name.

The House of Questa Name Change Incorporation Document
Image of The House of Questa Name Change Incorporation Document

Any way you look at it The House of Questa did not exist under that name until 1972.

The Format International Security Printers Limited was incorporated on August 4, 1967.
No name changes. No massive director changes. No buy outs to other printing companies. One simple set of files under the correct name.

First stamps for Format were Middle Eastern.....Trucial States. I have traced it to Fujeira November 2, 1967 Cats issue. StampPrinters.info either by design or error does not even show the companies founding date. Why? It was easy to find!

THE CONTROVERSY

Now, here is a written account by Wally Rogers (one of the founders of Questa) of what happened in the past between the two companies. This written account of the history is a complete article of disinformation! Here is his statement.

The Format International Connection
A suggestion was made that a ‘one-stop-shop’ package could be offered to clients with well-known stamp designer Victor Whiteley offering his design services, Caldew Colour Plates producing the plates and Questa Colour Ltd printing the stamps. This consortium was given the name of Format International Security Printers Ltd and, at that time, Format’s name appeared on many issues that had actually been printed by Questa, including those for the Crown Agents, from 1968. Security was of paramount concern, as there was some distance between the printer and the plate maker, and so Questa moved to premises alongside Caldew in South London. The three founders of Questa found themselves in disagreement over future policies for Format at this time and felt an obligation to move away from the triangular arrangement that had been in operation and to set-up on their own. Following the split, Format International then started printing stamps in its own right, with no further involvement from the three founders of Questa. (The problems later to be experienced by Format were therefore totally unconnected with the House of Questa Ltd.)
-END-

Here is an image of a newspaper clipping showing another statement made by Mr. Rogers to the editors of The Bulletin in retort to another writer.

Walter Rogers Explaination of the history of The House of Questa

Here are again examples of someone using the media to muddy the waters, cover up the evidence and hide the truth in regards to the history.

Now I am going to tear these statements apart!

The three founders of Questa are:
Charles Haswell
Kenneth McAllen
Walter (aka Wally) Rodgers

Who were the founders of Format?
According to some sources on the internet including the Tuvalu - A Philatelic Scandal Article by Brian Cannon:
William Peeling
Frederick Hughes

Sorry, all past articles and reference sites stating they were the founders of Format are incorrect.

The founders of Format are none other than:
Walter (aka Wally) Frederick Rogers
Charles George Haswell
Kenneth Michael McAllen
The three founders of Questa! So why no mention of it by Wally?

The evidence:

The Official Incorporation Document
View of the Format International Security Printers Incorporation Document

The Official Original Directors (Founders) Document View of the Format International Security Printers First Directors List

So what gives? Wally wants to make you think that all Format issues were made by Questa when in reality Questa has no financial documents from 1966 to 1970 showing that the "company" was either sitting on the side lines dormant or was nothing more than a name they planned to use later. Format was established by Caldew Colour Plates Ltd. who funded the project and was the parent company to both Format and Questa. According to the financial records the printers that incorporated the companies had all of the minimum amount of £1,000 starting Questa and no property. Format was incorporated with £10,000 and already had facilities set up. Wally and the others were printers who worked with Caldew at Format. Yes, they were named founders and directors of both companies but the stamps issued from 1967 to 1969 were directly under the name of Format and that is all there is to it.
I note the reference to the document above showing they were directors of Questa. It does not show them directing any other business other than Questa. This is because they were never "directors" of anything prior to Format and Questa.

The three founders of Questa found themselves in disagreement over future policies for Format at this time and felt an obligation to move away from the triangular arrangement that had been in operation and to set-up on their own.
If that were the case....they would not move right next door into a brand new facility that was being built for them over the past year or two.

Another source stated, "They decided to go on their own and moved out of the Format Premises with one heidelburg press". Again this is doubtful. They continued to use the same plate maker (Caldew), the same artists, the same agents, and the same style of printing. Caldew records show evidence of involvement in ownership of the new plant. I would say they moved one press into the new plant and then expanded from there.
They indeed did sign over all stocks and resigned as directors of Format on December 31, 1969. It was planned to be that way.

Who became the new directors of Format?

None other than Mr. William John Duncan Peeling and Mr. Leonard Matthew Salmon. Both owners and directors of Caldew Colour Plates Ltd.
Interestingly they became directors on October 1, 1969. Three months before Wally and the others resigned. This is more evidence of planning. Mr. Frederick George Hughes and Mr. Reginald Raymond Samuel Pattison became directors February 4, 1970. Also owners and directors of Caldew Colour Plates Ltd.
None of them can be called the founders since they were not the original signers nor had any of the stock shares until that time. The financial records show that they were supporting the project.

The mysteries about The House of Questa run deep indeed in the fact that nobody has done the extensive research on them until now. Over the past four years of my research on the Format Printers (I have been researching them much longer), The House of Questa kept coming up in one way or another be it through joint stamp printing of different omnibus series to items found in the Format printers archive. It kept bothering me and everywhere I turned denial of ties with Format kept coming. So I decided to go deeper into the research than anyone has ever gone before and have uncovered a totally different history. You have to invest quite a bit of time and money to get to the bottom and the truth about certain stamp printing companies of which I can safely say nobody has.

A key point of evidence are financial records

Even though all the documents of the history of production of stamps by Questa have been destroyed leaving us with nothing but a few sets that can be somewhat followed that were researched by stamp specialists of a given country or topic there are documents that they could not destroy. They are the business records that had to be filed every year by law for any business that is legitimate. Security printers are no exception and thus the history of their finances, ownership, who was in charge right down to who the head secretary was are all documented and recorded and saved on microfilm for public disclosure at a price. These documents paint an entirely different picture of The House of Questa than any collector, dealer, specialist or "expert" has ever portrayed them to be and indeed will change the opinion of all from this time forward.

I write this according to the financial documents recovered from Companies House which stores all financial documents for all British businesses in the past and present. All of the imaged documents are certified, unaltered and authentic taken from the microfilmed files. If you wish to view them directly then you are free to research and purchase them yourself. They are public records supplied by the British Government.

The story continues......

So in 1969 the Questa directors moved out of Format to their own facilities and had nothing to do with Format again according to Mr. Rogers.

In reality it was an expansion of the companies.
The new facilities being built between 1968-9. A falling out? Nothing to do with Format? Sorry...it was planned.

What the public seems not to understand is that The House of Questa was a conglomerate of names made up by these three printers all at the same location.
Questa Colour Limited incorporated on May 23rd 1966 with no valid location except the registrar office at that time. No financial records until 1970.
Format was incorporated on August 4, 1967 at Parkhouse Estate. All stamp issues between 1967 and 1969 made by the founders were produced under the name of Format. Mr. Rodgers cannot deny it anymore because....there was no House of Questa until the new premises was built.
Questa Colour Security Printers Limited incorporated on January 5, 1970 at 3 Parkhouse Estate proven with the documents.
The House of Questa was incorporated under the name Grantland Limited on October 26th 1972.
On December 21st, 1972 The name Grantland Limited was changed to The House of Questa Limited.
On December 4, 1973 The House of Questa was Dissolved of all things because of no filings. It was re incorporated on appeal though. And the location? Again at The House of Questa Parkhouse Estate.

So you can see that there already were some weird things going on with these printers. Why use all these different names? All located at the same place. My personal opinion and mine to have is it was setting up for tax shelters. Taxes are very high in the UK and a poor printer just starting up does not make a lot of profit as the financial records show. Let alone three printers.

Another interesting point.

This was a "ma and pa" business! Documents show noting the founders names shown earlier:
Questa Colour Security Printers Limited's Secretary was Mrs. M. Haswell.
Questa Colour Limited's Secretary was Mrs. J. Rodgers for years.
The House of Questa Limited's Secretary was Mrs. Marion McAllen.
So all the wives were involved too! Recorded occupations...housewife...

The location

3 Parkhouse Estate, Parkhouse Street SE5 7TP under the original name of Questa Colour Ltd. and the other names. Format was 6 Parkhouse Estate. The operation at 3 Parkhouse Estate continued operations there until 2002 when De la Rue took ownership. This means all through the 70's and 80's Format and Questa were close neighbors.
When Waddingtons took over Questa in 1984 a lot of collectors think that Questa moved to Waddingtons. They did not. They just moved their office of registration there. Their location all the way through the 1990's can be proven by their proof presentation folders and patent records.

It was very difficult to pinpoint the actual location of Questa even through the financial documents. The known argument is that they were located across the street (Parkhouse Street). For some reason they always wrote their address as "The House of Questa, Parkhouse Street, London, SE5 7TP". When trying to pinpoint it using google maps and others it always pointed to locations across the street from Format outside the business park. I finally found the accurate address written on one of their earliest documents dated December 15, 1969 which shows their true address. Here is the image:

The Original 1969 House of Questa Change of Registered Office Document The Original 1969 House of Questa Change of Registered Office Document

Recently I found the absolute proof of location for The House of Questa in the Alnery no. 2273 Limited files. It is in the Hive Down Agreement made in 2002 when De la Rue took over. In the very first section of the agreement called the interpretation section I found "Camberwell Properties" and there is the exact address as it is today! The House of Questa was located at Units 2, 3, 4 and 5 Burgess Industrial Estate, Parkhouse Street, Camberwell, London.
Proof of The House of Questa Location Next to Format Security Printers

This is the only document I could find with the full and most current address. It proves that Questa did not even move outside the business park where Format is located. An interesting note is that the business park had name changes. It was called Parkhouse Works originally, then called Parkhouse Estate and now is called Burgess Business Park. Another note is that the postal code is no longer used. SE5 7TP is now SE5 7TJ.

So where was Questa exactly? Here is the aerial view of it.

VIEW OF THE HOUSE OF QUESTA FROM SATELLITE
Satellite View of The House of Questa Premises
No ties huh? As you can see....the buildings are virtually connected.

The unit numbers have remained over the years. There are several different businesses there now and none appear to be involved in printing.

THE PRESENTATION FOLDERS ARE EVIDENCE!

Format Printers Presentation Folder with Address
Proof Presentation Folder Showing Address of the Format International Security Printers

Jamaica 1984 First Prime Minister Stamp Proof Pair in Addressed Presentation Folder produced by Questa.
1984 Example of Proof Presentation Folder Showing Address of The House of Questa Stamp Printers

Bhutan 1990 Butterflies Proof Set in Addressed Presentation Folder produced by Questa.
1990 Example of Proof Presentation Folder Showing Address of The House of Questa Stamp Printers

Look at your Stanley Gibbons specialized stamp catalogs and you will see a constant printing status of the two companies. Sometimes mixed, and many times one company will take the lead and then the other takes over. At the end of Format's printing career in the late 80's the printing was immediately taken over by The house of Questa.
Still no ties huh?

Now look at what exists on the market. Massive "errors", imperfs, specimen overprinted, on and on all produced by The House of Questa. In 1971-2 the majority of lithograph stamp sets produced for the Trucial States were printed by Questa Colour Security Printers. If you have the catalogs you can see that production became massive until the end in 1972 when the market refused to continue buying them and the states united. It shows that Questa had already started associating with the shadier side of dealer run stamp agencies. They are not alone though I must say because other printers were doing the same thing. Only Format got exposed because of the trials. It was the same for all printers. Orders were made for varieties and the printers complied. The evidence are the stamps themselves. You do not need the documents to know this. It is obvious. The printers worked for the same agents.

Who absorbed who?

Here is another unknown fact to most. For years the stamp market assumed that the House of Questa "absorbed" Waddingtons. It is the other way around. Waddingtons absorbed The House of Questa. They took over the company allowing the management to remain. It was stated in the book called The Waddington's Story, "We had also taken over The House of Questa, one of the few printers of postage stamps in the UK. The post office, a major customer, had declared that they intended to have just two suppliers of lithograph stamps instead of three, and we concluded that we would be the one for the chop because we could take such a blow on the chin whereas either of the other two suppliers might have had to close down. So, we approached House of Questa (who incidentally feared that we would be the chosen supplier) and soon agreed a purchase of their business which would leave the incumbent management in charge."

The Waddingtons financial records show this to be true.

In going through hundreds of financial documents The Questa group sure did a lot of weird accounting. According to financial records
Questa Colour Limited went dormant
The House of Questa went dormant
Waddington's Printers went dormant after taking over Questa
Questa Colour Security Printers were dormant
Questa Services Limited were dormant

They all want to be called "dormant" companies. The question is....who was making all the money? In some cases one company made profits but deferred them to another "parent" company. Yet that one claimed it was dormant. Interesting yes?

Here is the evidence of locations:

Format was located next to Caldew basically in the same building.

FORMAT: 6 Parkhouse Estate, Parkhouse Street, London SE5 7TP
Aerial View of the Format International Security Printers Premises

CALDEW: 6 Parkhouse Estate, Parkhouse Street, London SE5 7TP
Aerial View of Caldew Colour Plates Premises

Need more evidence? Here is the front ad for the sale of Format's printing presses and Caldew's camera equipment after going bankrupt.
View of Front Page of Auctioneer Catalog of Sale of the Printing Presses owned by the Format International Security Printers

Here is a final liquidation document for Caldew Colour Plates showing The House of Questa owing them.

View of liquidation document showing ties between The House of Questa and Caldew Colour Plates Ltd in 1989

So even though Mr. Rogers wants to say they made their own plate making company....as if they never worked with Caldew again, this evidence shows that all the way to the end Questa used Caldew to make plates and thus when dealing with Caldew they were dealing with Format.
But there were no ties....

HOW LONG WERE THEY THERE?

Financial records, patent records and liquidation records show they were located at Parkhouse Estate until 2002. Here are images of several more documents proving this.

Questa Located at Parkhouse Street in 1984
View of liquidation notice in the London Gazette June 27, 1984 showing Questa Services Ltd location

Questa Located at Parkhouse Street in 1998
View of patent application in 1998 showing The House of Questa Ltd location

So is there other evidence of the ties?

Indeed there is. Due to the finding of uncut press sheets which were taken from the Format Printers archive and what was found and sold in auction during the liquidation of the Format Printers the evidence gets stronger. Issues from the 1972 series made for Trucial States that are supposed to be made by Questa were found with older issues proven to be made by Format and taken from the archive. Many of the later 1972 issues had many different forms of printing for each issue. Thus it appears that Format was helping Questa in printing these different varieties.

Sets from all over the world have been produced by Format and Questa in partnerships. Questa made good profits in 1971 and 1972 but when the UAE united the contracts ended and Questa was left out in the cold so to speak. In viewing what occurred we can see that Questa indeed was printing huge numbers of made for collector stamps for the Trucial States obviously only for profits with no regard to collector ethics.

Before moving forward here I quote a Format document that was found in what was left of the printers files.

The Company

Format Company has been established 21 years, it has produced postage stamps
for over 112 territories at different periods; Crown Agents being a major
customer over an eighteen year period. The technique of production i.e.
screen rulings in reproduction and manner of printing have produced a superior
product acknowledged as probably the best in its field. The company has
many "firsts" to its credit with others following, it is the only company to solely
produce stamps; this specialization with other aspects of quality control
setting the standard that others aspire to achieve.

Caldew was originally the parent company from which the Security Company
stemmed. When colour T.V. was in it's infancy' the Caldew camera was the
only one in Europe capable of producing the original shadow masks for the
T.V. Screens and was used by Mullards Boffins to produce the screens that
were masters for all subsequent T.V.. This expertise was of high quality
giving Format a good lead on all competitors. Prior to this 95% of
stamps were produced by gravure whereas now 95% are produced by Litho.
This denotes the Format impact on the market.


So why doesn't The House of Questa have similar references? Same directors...same location...same parent company.

The Format Printers Archive.

Many items "produced" by Questa were found in the Format Printers archive. Now why would the Format Printers be storing Questa's products in their archive if they did not have ties? Looks kind of funny yes?

Here is something to find interest in. Why are there no press sheets from Questa with notes? My theory is quite simple. Press sheets from archives are evidence. Printers make notes on them. Many press sheets tell us what the printers were doing including making errors on purpose! Many have the errors themselves right on them! I have some still intact from the archive. Can't have that type of evidence lying around if you want to cover up the fact. Just happened that Format's archive was not only raided but also sold off before anyone who cared could get to the evidence and "get rid" of it. One of the documents shown below shows that Questa paid to have materials destroyed during the liquidation. Why? Also, Questa had years to destroy evidence in their own archive.

WHY DENY IT?

There are many reason for denial of the ties. The first and most important one, and the one that started it, was the fact that Format was "found out". The trouble would have brought Questa down too if it was found out the two companies were connected. Questa was already printing stamps for Great Britain including heavy involvement in the Machins. I note here...there are a ton of varieties produced by Questa for them. This would indeed have diminished and probably destroyed the validity and popularity of collecting British stamps should it be found out that they were indeed following the same standards of printing as Format. This could not be allowed and I am pretty sure now that some very powerful official figures became involved in "straightening out" the mess.

As we have seen time and time again, the media, be it newspapers, stamp magazines, circulars etc always seem to be the outlet from which stories are created to muddy the waters, cover up the lies, and create new ones to protect the interests of the guilty parties. These once again seem to be the tools used in this case.

The immediate denial of ties if anyone presents them is a clear sign that something is up. Creating large documentaries denying it also a sign. Noting all these were created years after the fact.
But the denials cannot hold up because the evidence is too profound and too widespread to support the denials.

DOCUMENTS ARE THE EVIDENCE!

Here are some liquidation documents showing disbursements of funds involving Questa and an "associate".

This document shows ties with Fuad Antoun all the way until Format went bankrupt. He was a close associate to the owners of Questa involved in many Middle Eastern Stamps. Looks like the "consortium" never broke up at all!

Proof that the Format International Security Printers had ties with Fuad Antoun

Here we have the evidence of The House of Questa paying for destruction of philatelic material.
I note here that we see the fee was quite a bit higher than the other philatelic agencies. This shows that Questa had a bit more material they wanted to destroy than Saint Vincent did and so forth.
The question is....why, if they did not have any ties, was Questa paying for destroying anything in 1994?
Proof that the Format International Security Printers had ties with The House of Questa

Philatelic agencies

It seems that many in the community tend to turn a blind eye on philatelic agents and the ties with the printers. If you think the agents use just one printer you are definitely mistaken. An example for instance is I.G.P.C.. In later years Format had large financial dealings with them. Indeed The House of Questa did also and it can be verified. The question is...do you understand that I.G.P.C. ordered varieties from both printers? Or do you think they only ordered them from Format? The same holds true with all the agents. P.D.C., Crown Agents, Unicover or whatever. Most are run and have been run by stamp dealers. Dealers that run these operations are running them for profits. They are not running them out of the goodness of their heart so don't think for a minute they are not going to order varieties for profits as long as collectors are going to buy them. Just look at what is being produced now.

PROOF THAT QUESTA MADE VARIETIES AND ERRORS TO ORDER
THE STAMPS ARE THE EVIDENCE!

The overwhelming number of varieties and "errors" produced by the House of Questa far exceeds quantities that would have "gotten out" of a high security printers hands with 20 quality inspectors unless they were purposely meant to get out. This is exactly the same as what Format was doing. It cannot be denied because the evidence is all over the internet in stamp auctions, stamp dealers stocks....and much is listed in Stanley Gibbons.
Why is that? Oh that's right....stamp dealing company that makes the catalog. The two cannot be mixed without favoring what you are selling.

So here we go!

THE 1981 ROYAL WEDDING ISSUES

In 1981 the Royal Wedding of Prince Charles and Lady Diana was celebrated in stamps all over the world. Two of the largest producers of these issues was, and you guessed it, The Format Printers and The House of Questa. Both companies produced massive quantities of stamps and both companies produced numerous varieties of those same stamps. Format was shown to do it on purpose. Questa denied it and was never confronted. I present many of them here now and you decide... were they deliberate errors or legitimate errors. The answer is obvious and thus will change your view forever!

First I want to show you exactly how massive the production of the 1981 Royal Wedding "Loving" stamp issue was. Recently I was informed by a collecting friend that there was a lot for sale on eBay for a dealers stock of this issue for Montserrat. Montserrat's population at the time of issue was 11,900 people. When I saw the lot I was shocked! The lot contained 900,000 to 1 million stamps of this issue and all are for Montserrat alone. Here are a few images and snapshots from this lot.

1981 Royal Wedding 1,000,000 Stamp Dealers Stock Lot
1981 Royal Wedding Loving Stamp 1,000,000 Stamp Dealers Stock Lot The Description
1981 Royal Wedding Loving Stamp 1,000,000 Stamp Dealers Stock Lot Description The House of Questa Unopened Stamp Packages
1981 Royal Wedding Loving Stamps Unopened House of Questa Stamp Packages I must point out that this stock alone proves beyond a shadow of a doubt:

1) That The Stamp Agents ordered massively large quantities of stamps with extreme popularity absolutely in excess of postal needs.
2) That the inverted watermarked varieties and other "errors" were purposely made by The House of Questa.
3) That Stanley Gibbons working with the Stamp Agents, knowingly promoted these stamps and sold the varieties and "errors" including many that are not listed as valuable collectibles to thousands of unsuspecting collectors of Princess Diana memorabilia at overinflated prices.
4) That Stanley Gibbons knowing that these stamp were massively produced by The House of Questa and sold through their Stamp company did and are still listing them including the inverted watermark varieties even though they break every standard and policy they say is made for the stamps to qualify for listing in the catalogs.

It is proof that all other country issues for this omnibus series were produced in the same quantities, using the same standards in producing varieties and "errors" that were made for collectors on an even more extreme level than the Format International Security Printers ever did!!

Stanley Gibbons therefore must either delist them all or place them all in an addendum without numbers exactly the same as they have done to the Tuvalu Islands and Saint Vincent Dependency issues. Or list the named island issues with numbers and values. I am sorry to say but keeping the catalogs in the status that they are today is unfair and totally biased in all regards.

The following list of "errors" and varieties has been taken from Stanley Gibbons Specialized Catalogs. There are more that were produced by Questa that are not listed such as blue overprints and others. They were sold at the time through Stanley Gibbons Promotions programs. Now why would SG be selling stamp varieties and errors to collectors, at a high cost I might add, and won't even list them in their own catalogs? I thought everything from the House of Questa was legitimate....

THE LOVING STAMPS

1981 Royal Wedding Loving Stamps from the Omnibus series

Kiribati made by Questa

The 12c values exists with watermark inverted.

Montserrat made by Questa

Every single value exists with watermark inverted.
The 1982 Officials all exist with double overprints and inverted overprints, many with inverted watermarks.
The 1983 surcharged issues all exist with surcharge doubled or inverted with and without inverted watermark.

Saint Kitts made by Questa

Every single value exists with watermark inverted.
The 1983 Officials all exist with double overprints and inverted overprints, missing decimal points, many with inverted watermarks.

Nevis made by Questa

Again every single value exists with watermark inverted.
The 1983 Officials all exist with double overprints and inverted overprints, missing decimal points, many with inverted watermarks.

Saint Vincent made by Questa

Every single value except the 60c exists with watermark inverted.
The 1982 Officials all exist with double overprints and inverted overprints, noting no inverted watermarks listed.

Saint Vincent Grenadines made by Questa

Every single value except the 50c exists with watermark inverted.
The 1982 Officials all exist with double overprints and inverted overprints, noting no inverted watermarks listed.

Seychelles made by Questa

The 10r values exists with watermark inverted.
The 1983 surcharged issues all exist with surcharge doubled or inverted noting no inverted watermarks listed.

Zil Eloigne Sesel made by Questa

The 40c values exists with watermark inverted.
The 1983 surcharged issues all exist with surcharge doubled or wrong values noting no inverted watermarks listed.

Sierra Leone made by Format

Same design....no errors.
The 1982 surcharged 2L on 35c exists with surcharge doubled noting no inverted watermarks listed.

Tuvalu made by Questa

Same design....no errors. Hmmm.
The 1982 Tonga Cyclone Relief overprinted exists with double overprints and inverted overprints

THE COMMON DESIGN

View of Front of the Format International Security Printers Premises

Antigua made by Questa

No errors.

Ascension made by Questa

No errors.

Barbados made by Questa

No errors.

Barbuda made by Questa

One with overprint doubled.

Dominica made by Questa

Every single value exists with perforation variety.

Falkland Islands made by J.W. (Waddington)

The 10p and 13p values exists with watermark inverted.

Falkland Islands Dependencies made by Format

No errors.

Fiji made by Questa

No errors.

Gambia made by J.W. (Waddington)

No errors.

Ghana made by Questa

All values exist as imperforates.

Grenada made by Questa

The $4 value exists imperforate.
1982 Officials were made....no errors.

Grenada Grenadines made by Format

No errors.
1982 Officials were made....no errors.

Lesotho made by Format

All values exist as imperforates (noted with value)
All values exist as part perforated from the archive (noted)

Maldives made by J.W. (Waddington)

All values exist as imperforates (noted with no value)
All values exist as perf 12 (noted with value)

Mauritius made by Questa

No errors.

Pitcairn Islands made by Format

The $1.20 values exists with watermark inverted. (listed and valued)

Saint Helena made by Questa

The 29p value exists with watermark inverted. (listed and valued)

Saint Lucia made by Questa

No errors.

Samoa made by Walsall

No errors.

Sierra Leone made by Harrison

The 1L values exists with watermark inverted. (listed and valued)
The 35c and 45c values with 50c overprint exists with overprint doubled one being inverted. (not listed)
The 45c value with 50c overprint exists with overprint doubled. (not listed)

Solomon Islands made by J.W. (Waddington)

No errors.

Swaziland made by Walsall

No errors.

Tristan da Cunha made by Walsall

No errors.

Uganda made by Questa

Numerous Surcharge errors listed.

Virgin Islands made by Harrison

The 10c and 35c values exists with watermark inverted. (listed and valued)

So the question asked here.....who is actually producing the most "errors"?
The question also is....who is getting theirs listed?
Well, I think you can see it.....can't you? Lets try this again......with SG numbers.

THE 1985 CARIBBEAN ROYAL VISIT STAMP ISSUES

Montserrat

SG 650 inverted overprint error produced by Format. Not listed.
Satellite View of the Format International Security Printers Premises
SG 651 double overprint error produced by Format. Not listed.
Satellite View of the Format International Security Printers Premises
SG 652-3 inverted overprint error produced by Format. Not listed.
Satellite View of the Format International Security Printers Premises
SG 655a Missing "CARIBBEAN ROYAL VISIT" on the large $4 overprint error produced by Questa. Listed.
Satellite View of the Format International Security Printers Premises

Nevis

SG 339 double overprint error produced by Questa. Not listed.
Satellite View of the Format International Security Printers Premises
SG 342-3 double overprint error produced by Format. Not listed.
Satellite View of the Format International Security Printers Premises
SG 342-3 inverted overprint error produced by Format. Not listed.
Satellite View of the Format International Security Printers Premises
SG 345 double overprint error produced by Questa. Not listed.
Satellite View of the Format International Security Printers Premises
SG 346 double overprint error produced by Questa. Not listed.
Satellite View of the Format International Security Printers Premises
SG 345ca wrong value overprint error produced by Questa. Listed.
Noting this one is missing the "CARIBBEAN ROYAL VISIT" overprint on the large stamp thus Not listed.
Satellite View of the Format International Security Printers Premises
So the question again is asked here.....who is actually producing all these "errors"?
And now more questions are raised. Why are the double overprints produced by Questa not also listed in Stanley Gibbons?
Not legitimate??
Well.....that just plain does not compute! Get my point?
Want more?

Saint Lucia

SG 846 inverted overprint error produced by Questa. Not listed.
Satellite View of the Format International Security Printers Premises
SG 849-50 double overprint error produced by Format. Not listed.
Satellite View of the Format International Security Printers Premises
SG 849-50 inverted overprint error produced by Format. Not listed.
Satellite View of the Format International Security Printers Premises

Saint Vincent

SG 936 inverted overprint error produced by Questa. Not listed.
Satellite View of the Format International Security Printers Premises
Really is getting bad isn't it? This makes it worse! Showing large production of "errors" were made by Questa.
SG 936 A double pane sheet of the inverted overprint error produced by Questa. Not listed.
Satellite View of the Format International Security Printers Premises
SG 939 double overprint error produced by Questa. Not listed.
Satellite View of the Format International Security Printers Premises
And again to make matters worse.
SG 939 A partial double pane sheet of the double overprint error produced by Questa. Not listed.
Satellite View of the Format International Security Printers Premises
Here is more.
SG 934-5 double overprint error produced by Format. Not listed.
Satellite View of the Format International Security Printers Premises
SG 937a Missing "CARIBBEAN ROYAL WEDDING" overprint error produced by Questa. Listed.
Satellite View of the Format International Security Printers Premises

Saint Vincent Grenadines

SG 426 inverted overprint error produced by Malysia Security Printers? Not listed.
Shame on you!
Satellite View of the Format International Security Printers Premises
SG 421 double overprint error produced by Format. Not listed.
Satellite View of the Format International Security Printers Premises
SG 420 missing overprint error produced by Format. Not listed.
Satellite View of the Format International Security Printers Premises
SG 422-3 inverted overprint error produced by Format. Not listed.
Satellite View of the Format International Security Printers Premises
It is not even remotely possible for a high security printing company to allow such a massive number of "errors" to slip between the cracks without being detected and thus the proof is right in front of you that indeed The House of Questa was doing exactly the same thing as The Format Printers. Probably under the same sort of protections as Format was under which was proved in the trials to be binding (meaning the contracts and agreements) which relinquishes them from the accusation of "doing anything illegal".
I note that Format took it a step further in producing missing color errors and inverted frames. Questa tried to play it safe by sticking with watermark, overprint and perforation errors.

What they did do wrong though is to tarnish the validity of all errors produced in the 1970's to the 1990's and beyond. The evidence shown above is only a small piece of the whole picture. What about the British Machins? What about the many other countries that Questa produced stamps for? Guernsey, Jersey, on and on? You see...the profits that can be made from the sale of just a few "errors" in the stamp market, are just to huge for a company of this type to pass up, considering they were basically policing themselves. Just by "accidently" putting a piece of paper in the press the wrong way a rarity worth many thousands of pounds can be created. What...do you think these people were angels and would never do such a thing? Very sorry....but that is not the case and it is time that the truth be known so collectors and dealers can get a proper perspective on value.

The documents showing quantities that were produced of the errors and varieties by Questa have long been destroyed. The evidence seized from the Format Printers for the trials gives us a base in which to follow in valuation of stamp errors and varieties produced by the House of Questa and others. It is time for buyers and sellers of these varieties to use that base in giving legitimate prices to them. They are not worth hundreds and in many cases they are not worth even $10.00. It is up to you to do the research before you buy or sell them. If there are a lot on the market you can fairly say that at least 3,000 sets were made!

The House of Questa and the Format International Security Printers had very close ties indeed. The denial of that fact is plainly...not true because the physical evidence disputes it and proves it. When they were conducting business they never realized that the computer age would allow access to their financial records worldwide for everyone and thus it was and is impossible for them to cover up the deception that they have done to the philatelic community anymore. Because of internet access we all can now see just how common many of these errors and varieties that have been sold for years by "reputable dealers" at high costs are. We now need to sort out what is a true rarity and....what is not. Always do the research before investing in stamp varieties.



Your friend and fellow stamp collector and researcher,
JLowe

References

Questa Colour Ltd. microfilmed records
The House of Questa Ltd. microfilmed records
Waddingtons microfilmed records
Format International Security Printers Ltd. microfilmed records
Caldew Colour Plates Ltd. microfilmed records
Alnery no. 2273 Ltd. microfilmed records
U.S. Patent records
The London Gazette
The Bulletin
Format Security Printers trial evidence
Stanley Gibbons Specialized Stamp Catalogs
Google Earth
Internet research

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