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Information and Reference of What was Printed and Found in the Format Archive

Would YOU store YOUR specialized collections this way?

Example of how the Police Evidence Stock was Stored

Stamp Issues of 1985 Leaders of the World Audubon Birds Bicentennial Series

1985 Audubon Birds Stamp Set
Marquee for Golowe's Reference Site on the Format International Security Printers

Recently in 2014 I discovered forgeries of all of this series have been flooded onto the market in the form of normal issues, imperforates, color proofs and errors of missing value and sets of inverts. Until 2014 no "inverts" existed because there were none made! The only existing errors were missing color errors and those only exist for certain sets!
Visit this link to get to my introduction on the many forgeries that now exist including the Audubon Birds issues.

Modern Fake Stamps


On April 26, 1985 the bicentennial (200th anniversary) of John J. Audubon (Ornthologist) birth was to be celebrated.
This became a huge event in the stamp world with many countries producing sets of stamps and souvenir sheets celebrating the event. The Format International Security Printers Ltd. were commissioned to produce a many of these sets.
The largest order being the Leaders of the World series which was produced for a number of the countries that the 1986 Royal Wedding Omnibus series were produced for.
This was the famous or as some in the philatelic world like to call the infamous Leaders of the World series. The reason it is considered the largest is because all the stamps are different depicting different images of the Audubon Birds. Numerous varieties of the issues were produced including specimens, imperforates and some errors.

A very interesting series that was well designed and is to this day a very popular series to collect despite what some in the field want to call wallpaper simply because varieties were produced for collectors as in imperforates, specimen overprinted and progressives.
The countries the Leaders of the World series were produced for are in the following table.

Eastern Hemisphere Western Hemisphere
Tuvalu SC#279-282 Montserrat SC#580-583
Niutao SC#25-28 Nevis SC#407-414
St. Vincent SC#807-810
Union Island SC#186-189

All were issued in 1985. At that time the other countries were issuing different LOTW issues like butterflies, flowers, cats and dogs.
In 1989-90 the printing company went into bankruptcy. Also at the time the trials against the last owner of the company and associates was underway. The British Metropolitan Police raided the company looking for what they deemed errors for specific countries involved in the trials and confiscated several tons of material, much being from their archive, including imperforates, progressive color proofs, specimen overprinted stamps and anything else they thought looked "funny". The trials did not end until 1995 when the verdicts were found to be not guilty on all charges. The police evidence was held until 2008 until all was agreed to be returned to the owners.

Getting back to 1990 because the company went bankrupt all assets were liquidated including what was still in the archive. Christie's/ Robson Lowe handled the sales of the philatelic materials through several private treaty and public auctions between 1990 and 1995 which was the final sale of the archive.

This is a story I have repeated several times on other series so I will make this short.
Mr. Kasamir Bileski was a huge buyer of this material at the time and purchased large portions of the archival material. He was also a huge buyer in the past of the Waterloo archive and Egyptian Royal Collections.
He was particularly interested in unissued designs and basically bought all of that section of the archive.

From this section stemmed the release to the market of the Nevis Audubon Birds missing color errors. Only a few press sheets were saved with the error and the majority sat unknown until Mr. Bileski's passing.
Nevis 1985 Audubon Birds Missing Color Error Set
Mr. Robson Lowe wrote that four press sheets were found in the archive and Mr. Bileski concurred. Much has been saved as gutter blocks thus reducing the number of pair sets that exist considerably. Here is a link to the study.

Nevis Audubon Birds Stamp Errors

Because of the differences in quantities, information and variants of this series, the following link table is created for each of the six countries so as to break down what exists and new valuations of the material.

Western Hemisphere Eastern Hemisphere

The study of the 1985 Bicentennial of the Birth of John J. Audubon Birds issues for these Commonwealth Countries is fascinating and ongoing.

The stigma created by Scott Catalog and numerous biased opinions of some dealers and collectors needs to be changed as we are finally finding by the EVIDENCE that these issues are NOT as common as the above mentioned would like you to believe.

A question to ask is, "why are these issues being reprinted (forged) in recent years if so many exist?"

The generalized statements in Scott Catalog saying
"Large Quantities of these issues appeared on the market after the liquidation of the printers"
should not be believed in respect to many of the issues printed by the Format International Security Printers Ltd. This statement is to vague and was sloppily applied without due research into the subject.

One would think by the statement that millions of copies flooded the market whereas in actuality less than 100,000 were produced. Not a lot considering the millions produced by other countries including the U.S. and Canada. Not a lot considering the millions of stamp collectors out there.

Hopefully the new research into the issues printed by this printer will help collectors understand what REALLY was printed and can establish a new and fair valuation of this fascinating philatelic material.

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UPDATED LAST ON: 31-Dec-2016 02:42 AM