Information and Reference of What was Found in the Format Archive
In 1986 eighteen British Commonwealth countries participated in the production and presentation
of commemorative stamps celebrating Prince Andrew and Sarah Ferguson's Royal Wedding.
Nine countries from the Western hemisphere including St. Vincent, St. Vincent Grenadines, St. Vincent
Bequia, St. Vincent Union Island, St. Vincent Mustique (never issued), St. Lucia, Nevis, Montserrat,
British Virgin Islands.
And nine countries from the Eastern hemisphere including Tuvalu, Funafuti, Nanumaga, Nanumea, Niutao,
Nui, Nukufetau, Nukulaelae, Vaitupu.
These postage stamps were produced in two pairs of different values depicting scenes of different events
in their lives. They were produced by the Format International Security Printers Ltd.. Today one can find
them in many different forms of presentation. Singles, panes, First day covers, Presentation books, on and
on. This page is in reference to the 1986 Royal Wedding Booklet Panes.
Production began with the stamps being produced on sheets of 100 (10 X 10)in se-tenant pairs.
Then the printers began to print a new order. They re-arranged the plate format. Robson Lowe
describes this sheet in The Philatelist. The sequence being:
a pair - gutter - a strip of 4 tete-beche - gutter - a pair.
This made the sheet 8 stamps across and 10 stamps down totalling 80 stamps per sheet.
Here is an image of one of the sheets.
Was this something to get more money from collector's? No. In most countries, booklets of stamps
containing one or more little panes are the best way to carry stamps. Producing this type of sheet
is the time honoured way of preparing booklets and the tete-beche is absolutely necessary if one
is going to produce lefthanded booklets of which is all that exist for this series.
None of the stamp catalogs list the 1986 Royal Wedding stamps as issued booklet panes nor issued
booklets. Something happened. The order was given to STOP printing booklet pane sheets!
Any printed stocks were to be destroyed. The Format Printers Archive made sure it got a share.
Thus, today, because of the liquidation of the archive, many forms of these tete-beche pairs and
booklets are on the market.
As stated earlier this page is for information on the booklets and panes from the booklets.
In future more pages will be added with information pertaining to tete-beches, proofs, color
trials, errors, etc; of this series.
The booklets were produced in perforated and imperforated forms. Each of the value pairs were
placed into the booklets. One pane of 4 of one value and one pane of 4 of the other value. Each
booklet has pages depicting the story leading up to the wedding. None of the booklets have the
country name on the cover. A variety of colors and one of several impression of the Royal Coach
or Royal Hall are depicted on the cover. Country of issue is depicted inside on the first page.
At present the quantities existing of the booklets themselves is unknown. Judging from present
knowledge of the handling of issues by the archive an educated guess would be that 250 to 500
booklets exist for each of the countries both in perforated and imperforated form.
Booklet panes without staple holes recently are showing up in the market leading to the conclusion
that numbers of the panes were also retained in the archive. Presumably the same numbers exist for
each. See the images below for comparison.
More and more cases of fraudulant tampering of the panes is occuring in regards to the imperforate
panes. Certain entities are cutting the panes out to try to make them look like they are from a
proof sheet. The booklets are at present not selling well at all thus some shady characters are
removing the panes from the imperforate booklets and cutting off the area where the staple holes
are at and then presenting them as proofs. Others are cutting the imperfs into
singles and also doing the same. Here are examples of how it is done:
At present as of September 7, 2011, The only proof sheets that were found in the archive were from
St. Vincent MUSTIQUE (which were never issued in any form).
Many PROOF sheets have been found in the long lost Police Evidence stock which has been stored for over 20 years!
Apparently these uncut press sheets were confisticated for the trial and thus never reached the collector market. We are now in process
of acquiring the stock which contains MANY new discoveries for many commonwealth countries. At present the TUVALU $1 value in imperforate
proof sheets of 80 in the form of normal proofs, missing value proofs, SPECIMEN proofs and 2nd issue proofs have been found! Also the
progressive color proofs in the same form have been found!
Both values of St. Lucia have also been found. Several of the Tuvalu Island issues have also been found!
This TOTALLY contradicts the statements (notes) in Stanley Gibbons that "Imperforates come from souvenir stamp booklets.".
Here is an image of one of the super rare Mustique full uncut proof sheets.
Anyone that is selling imperforate singles, pairs, and/or blocks of these issues claiming
that they are proofs are wrong in their description. The only way to prove that imperforates
from this series are authentic proofs is if they have large selvage on two sides or contain
the large stamp size gutter or are in blocks of five or greater or strips of three or greater.