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Information and Reference of What was Found in the Format Archive and the Police Evidence Stock

Would YOU store YOUR specialized collections this way?

Example of how the Police Evidence Stock was Stored

Single Stamp Issues of Queen Elizabeth II 60th Birthday Series

1986 60th Birthday Stamp Set
Marquee for Golowe's Reference Site on the Format International Security Printers

As of 2014 a massive flood of forgeries (reproductions) of many of these issues have been flooded onto the market. all are for the Western Hemisphere side of the series. At this point none appear to have been produced by the forger for the Eastern Hemisphere side....yet. they include inverts and imperforates as well as the normal perforated versions as well. All are poorly printed on whiter paper with white gum. They all have differences in colors and the majority of the single issues have a much darker blue background. Please visit the linked introduction page to learn what to look for and avoid being ripped off!

Modern Fake Stamps


On April 21, 1986 Queen Elizabeth II was to celebrate her 60th Birthday.
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 many of these sets.
The largest series being the Omnibus series produced for the same 17 countries that the 1986 Royal Wedding Omnibus series were produced for. I am not referring to the common design issues which were also mainly produced by the Format Printers also. The reason it is considered the largest is because all the stamps are different depicting different images of the Queen during her life. Each set of stamps was produced with an additional Souvenir sheet. Numerous varieties including an unissued set of what Robson Lowe called essay souvenir sheets were produced.
A very interesting series that was well designed and is to this day a very popular series to collect.
The countries the Omnibus series were produced for are in the following table.

Eastern Hemisphere Western Hemisphere
Tuvalu SC#357-61 Bequia SC#213-17
Funafuti SC#52-6 British Virgin Islands SC#532-6
Nanumaga SC#52-6 Grenadines of St. Vincent SC#514-18
Nanumea SC#48-52 Montserrat SC#600-4
Niutao SC#44-8 Nevis SC#472-6
Nui SC#56-60 St. Lucia SC#825,829-30,832,834
Nukufetau SC#51-5 St. Vincent SC#923-7
Nukulaelae SC#54-8 Union Island SC#213-17
Vaitupu SC#58-62

All were issued in 1986. 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 unissued mini souvenir sheets of the issued single stamp issues in souvenir sheet form.
1986 60th Birthday Unissued Souvenir Sheets
Mr. Robson Lowe referred to them as essays. At the time 250 of each were found in the archive. Since the release of the police evidence I would theorize that more were in the stock.
Based on the practices of the printer at the time I would estimate the printing to be 2,000 of each souvenir sheet as in the same year the restricted printing of the Queen Mother's 85th Birthday singles (revalued) on souvenir sheets happened. The restricted printing being 2,000 souvenir sheets.
1986 Queen Mother Restricted Printing Souvenir Sheet
I believe the majority of all of both series was retained and is available on the market.

What is really fascinating is the number of varieties and errors that were apparently produced. Everything from missing colors, imperforates, progressive color proofs, presentation folders, perforation errors, specimens, watermark varieties, on and on. Everything including the die proofs and composite press sheets that were saved in the archive was sold through Christie's.

A note of interest is that in the reprint contract it was agreed that the limited edition Progressive Color Proofs Presentation Folders would never be reprinted.
Therefore there was only a one time printing of the Progressive Color Proofs. In my opinion this is fact. Try to find the progressives of this series (except in presentation folders) anywhere! In most cases you will not find them! Even the Presentation folders themselves appear to be extremely rare and in many cases....appear not to exist!

Apparently some varieties such as the varieties from the composite sheets has never been publicly seen! In my recovery of some of the Bileski estate I found them. I will present them in the specialized country pages that follow!

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

Western Hemisphere Eastern Hemisphere

The study of the 1986 Queen Elizabeth II 60th Birthday 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.
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 only hundreds or in some cases one to twenty thousand sets or singles 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: 29-Dec-2016 04:04 AM