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The 1987 Saint Vincent Unissued Henry Ford Reversed Image Stamps 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 a set of stamps depicting four of the most famous automotive pioneers and the vehicles they designed. The theme being "Century of Motoring" commemorating the automobile centenary. Other countries have produced similar stamp issues in previous years. The stamps picture images of Carl Benz and the 1886 Velocipede, Enzo Ferrari and the 1966 Ferrari Dino 206SP, Sir Henry Royce and the 1907 Rolls Royce Silver Ghost, and Henry Ford and the Model T Ford. The set of stamps were produced for Saint Vincent only. Saint Vincent issued the stamps on December 4, 1987.
This page is only for the 1987 Reversed Image of Henry Ford Stamp variety. This is the variety which was produced but never issued:

1987 HENRY FORD STAMP VARIETY OF REVERSED IMAGE Scott #1047x,1051x, SG #1088x,MS1089x

1987 Unissued Henry Ford Variety of Reversed Image Stamp

1987 Unissued Henry Ford Variety of Reversed Image 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........


A cache of panes of the $5 value with reversed image in imperforate form has been discovered!
The panes (not uncut press sheets) were discovered in an attic stored by a son of an employee who worked for the PDC at the time and left him these and other items for future retirement.
This does not effect the status of the uncut press sheets but does effect the status of what exists as imperforates.
The total number of panes was 60. The panes are of 25 stamps thus 1500 imperforate stamps exist plus the imperforates from the uncut press sheets. Thus we must come to the conclusion that probably the same numbers exist for the perforated variety.
We therefore conclude that the basic stamps in perforated or imperforate form should be valued at $5-10.00 each retail. The status of the stamps from the uncut press sheets still stands at this time and they are still of extreme rarity status.

Image of the 51 panes found in the holding
1987 Unissued Henry Ford Variety of Reversed Image Rebuilt Composite Press Sheet

August 12, 2012
Another set of the perforated and imperforate right margin gutters has just been put up for sale on eBay.
This now changes the status of the perforated press sheets to FIVE.
At present the status of the imperforate press sheets still stands at FOUR.


In my purchases of the Bileski Estate I found sets, panes and souvenir sheets and documentation of this variety. Many pieces I found were from the archival sheets. After learning about this variety and its history I began buying up more of the archival pieces which were scattered around the world in my attempt to reunite them. The information follows but I am so excited I must present to you here now the one and only image of a rebuilt COMPOSITE PRESS SHEET I was able to put together. Never again will this happen as my intent is to sell the pieces in the future.


1987 Unissued Henry Ford Variety of Reversed Image Rebuilt Composite Press Sheet

Let us begin the analysis with this write-up by Mr. Kasimir Bileski.

The Great Automobile Pioneers - A Century of Motoring

At the start a most peculiar situation developed. On the issued stamp -
Henry Ford is at the right of the stamp. But he was not there in the
original design. He was at the left on the stamp!

This start was rather unusual in that on one big sheet they printed two
panes of 25 each of the Henry Ford stamp, plus eight of the appropriate
souvenir sheets.

A few sheets were run off and examined, and someone noticed something odd.
Look at the design - the old Model T is parked in front of a typical old
time farm entrance gate. I've seen dozens such rustic arches in my time.

Note what happens to the figures of value - $5.00 on the stamp, and $8.00
on the miniature sheet.

The top log of the arch way cuts right through both numbers. It is difficult
to arrive at what is the value.

Forthwith Henry Ford was moved from left to right and the problem was solved.
Not only that but a new format was adopted for the printing of all four
singles. All four were printed on one big sheet in panes of 25. The
miniature sheets were printed separately.

As for the left side Henry Ford, about 100 of each were put into the
Archives along with the four color missing sheets that developed later.

That is all that exists for these four varieties, plus the two trial prints.
It is plenty.

Kasimir Bileski

Mr. Bileski is referring to the missing gold errors on the last lines, which is analyzed on another page.

A conflict exists with the last statement as other write-ups conflict as to what exists. We must remember that Mr. Bileski was very old and....well, we all make mistakes.

More was saved as evidence will show of certain forms of the variety. Basically Mr. Bileski never referred to the MACHINE CUT souvenir sheets with this variety that were saved. Robson Lowe wrote in the inventory that 100 were found and 100 (I am assuming meaning normal issued) with SPECIMEN overprint were also found. Judging from my own accumulation of the MACHINE CUT souvenir sheets and information from other dealers AND what can be found on the internet I would say the number of the MACHINE CUT souvenir sheets with this variety is closer to 500. The usual practice of the printers was to package souvenir sheets in packs of 500. I believe one pack was saved. Still rare but not AS rare as some would like to lead you to believe.

Now let us move on to what IS rare and why.

First off I must differ with Mr. Bileki's description in the following quote as in my reuniting of the pieces I now have solid proof evidence that there were FOUR uncut composite press sheets with imperforate singles attached and FOUR with perforated singles attached!
Also in my reuniting of the souvenir sheets with attached single pairs and such I have verified proof that because of mismatching of the scissor cuts there were FOUR uncut composite press sheets of the imperforate AND the perforated sheets that survived. Not three of each. The image below shows how I am able to come to this conclusion. Every one of the souvenir sheets with attached pairs or single were cut differently in such a way that it is quite easy to match the counterparts.

1987 Unissued Henry Ford Variety of Reversed Image Souvenir Sheets with Attached Single Pairs Matched by Scissor Cuts

I do not have them all but I do have the majority which is enough to come to this conclusion.
Other evidence (corners, top and bottom selvage blocks, gutters, etc. will prove my analysis on this.
These are still a great rarity and in their own way are unique.

Let us run the write-up with images so you understand that all the following ARE extremely rare and even with the added sheets all items are STILL worth the amounts Mr. Bileski priced them at. I will note differences in quantity with the difference of an additional sheet existing.

The very first printing of the Henry Ford variety
had eight miniature sheets in two rows of four on
the left and two panes of 25 stamps divided by a
gutter on the right. There were three uncut sheets
with the 50 regular stamps in perforated condition
and three more imperforate.

It is possible to remove four units se-tenant from
the six uncut sheets, which shows miniature sheet
plus a pair of the two regular stamps

However each such unit differs so of the enclosed
only three exist.

Value of such a great rarity should be at least

I presume that Mr. Bileski's statement in this write-up
includes the top blanks with attached GUTTER PAIRS
as one of the three units that exist. Only one of them can be taken from each sheet.
Please view the scan of the full sheet to see why this is so.
We now know four such units are possible.

Perforated and imperforate pair of the variety.
More or less 20 each could exist in pairs, balance
singles. Added - issued corrected stamps in a pair.
Price $300.00 for the two variety pairs.

1987 Unissued Henry Ford Variety of Reversed Image Perforated and Imperforate Pairs

With the new discovery of the imperforate panes these pairs now will have to fall into the basic value of being worth $10-20.00 a pair retail.
This is because they cannot be defined as to whether they are from the uncut sheets or the panes without having the selvage attached. A loss for me and you.

In reality 32 sets of imperforate pairs including right margin pairs can exist from the composite sheets. The reasoning
behind the low number of pairs is because of the margin blocks of four,
corner blocks of four,
Souvenir sheets with attached pairs
and right margin horizontal gutter blocks that have been retained of which I have recovered almost all of them.
Positive evidence shows that quite a few more of the perforated and imperforate variety exist.
Panes of 25 exist.
I have four of the perforated panes intact. We now know that at least 60 imperforate and probably 60 perforated panes were saved.
This would mean approximately 2000 of each (perf/imperf) exist.
So we can see that the key rarity here is perforated and imperforate margin blocks etc; from the composite sheets which carry an EXTREME rarity factor.

No varieties exist for the rest of the issued stamps.
There are no imperforates for issued stamps.
Price for complete set in pairs is $6.00

This is not quite a true statement. Imperforate color proofs exist. Thus the finals exist imperforate.

The great rarity of the unit, with two miniature
sheets from both uncut sheets with perf and imperf
regular stamps. As far as the miniatures are
concerned all are the same. There are no imperf
miniatures of this variety. A total of 12 exist.
Price is $400.00

The number should be 16 sets exist plus 8 blanks with pairs attached. New evidence now shows that at least two of them (one imperf and one perforated) have been broken making the possibility of only 15 sets to exist. It is possible several more have been broken also as over the past 10 years they have not appeared on the market.

It is stated that the souvenir sheets with the error have been seen imperforate.
Also that ALL values may exist reversed! We will update as evidence appears.

1987 Unissued Henry Ford Variety of Reversed Image Souvenir Sheets with Attached Perforated and Imperforate Pairs

The variety in the form of gutter pairs from the perf-
forated and imperforate uncut sheets. 12 sets exist.
Price $400.00

Again, this is not correct. 16 sets can exist.
This image shows all combinations of the horizontal gutter pairs.
No vertical gutter pairs exist.
I have since acquired two gutter pairs with the blue and red color guides which are supposed to be attached to souvenir sheets.
Proof that some have already been broken.

1987 Unissued Henry Ford Variety of Reversed Image Perforated Gutter Pairs

A single miniature sheet of the variety. 18 exist.
Price $200.00

The total number of single souvenir sheets possible with six sheets would
be 24. I have recovered 5 pairs of the souvenir sheet. If 18 single souvenir
sheets exist this would make a total of 28. The whereabouts of the single souvenir sheets mentioned is unknown if they exist at all, but there may at least be a few. Through market analysis five more pairs have been sold thus a count of 10 pairs existing shows that almost all the souvenir sheets from the left side of the uncut press sheets were saved in pairs and never separated!
Interesting yes? Mr. Bileski was probably PLANNING to break the souvenir sheet pairs into singles at the time he wrote this, but realized that there were a lot of single machine cut ones and decided to keep them intact.
A good call as they are much more prized and give solid proof as attached pairs of where they came from.
If they were cut they would be hard to define as coming from the composite sheets as only the bit of white margin between can be used as proof that they did come from them. As with much of the Format material, this could lead to them being lost, forgotten and/or overlooked as to where they came from.
With the discovery of the machine cut versions the absolute ONLY way to define these pairs is by the large gold edges around the outside of the pairs.

NEW DISCOVERY! As of June 16, 2012 we have found machine cut pairs which were evidently in the police evidence stock. We estimate that 300 pairs were saved of which we have received 252 pairs. Based on rarity and present catalog values for the normal souvenir sheets these machine cut souvenir sheet pairs of the $8 Henry Ford reversed image variety should be sold at $35-50.00 a pair.

SOUVENIR SHEET PAIRS FROM THE UNCUT PRESS SHEETS 1987 Unissued Henry Ford Variety of Reversed Image Souvenir Sheet Pair

MACHINE CUT SOUVENIR SHEET PAIRS 1987 Unissued Henry Ford Variety of Reversed Image Machine Cut Souvenir Sheet Pair

The rest of the write-up pertains to the normal issues. Mr. Bileski states he could
only get 18 sets. This was sets of the miniature sheets.

Corrected miniature sheet plus rest of the set $10.00
(I should have bought a supply when first issued. At
present my English wholesaler could only supply some
18 sets.)

Two single normal sets, one with margin, both $6.00

The four corner blocks of the issued stamps. The full
color guide is on the blocks of 6 stamps. Lower right
block shows the full imprint. A total of 18 sets -
all $50.00

Kasimir Bileski

Hopefully the discrepancies are mostly cleared up now. Following are more images of pieces from the sheets. No documentation was made on them until now. One can be assured that no more than four of any of these can exist thus making them EXTREMELY rare. I will post how many I have recovered.

RIGHT MARGIN GUTTER BLOCKS (imperf (3) perf (4 one has margin removed))
Obviously no left margin gutter blocks exist from the big sheets.
1987 Unissued Henry Ford Variety of Reversed Image Right Margin Gutter Blocks

UPPER RIGHT CORNER BLOCKS (imperf (3) perf (1))
Note the LARGE selvage. More can exist cut or broken from panes but will have small margins.
They too would be rare just not in the same context.
Again no upper left corners exist from the big sheets.
1987 Unissued Henry Ford Variety of Reversed Image Upper Right Corner Blocks

TOP MARGIN BLOCKS (imperf (4) perf (3))
Again the same holds true as the upper right corners pertaining to the top margin blocks removed from panes.
No LARGE selvage= not from composite sheets.
1987 Unissued Henry Ford Variety of Reversed Image Top Margin Blocks

LOWER RIGHT CORNER BLOCKS (imperf (4) perf (2))
Again no lower left corner blocks can exist from the big sheets.
And again the above holds true in respect to the LARGE selvage.
1987 Unissued Henry Ford Variety of Reversed Image Lower Right Corner Blocks

BOTTOM MARGIN BLOCKS (imperf (4) perf (4))
Again LARGE selvage is key.
1987 Unissued Henry Ford Variety of Reversed Image Bottom Margin Blocks

The bottom margin blocks are solid proof evidence that 4 sheets existed of each as only one per sheet can be made.
The perforated right margin blocks, Imperforate top Margin blocks and lower right corner blocks are more proof that four uncut press sheets existed.

All in all this is a very unique and interesting variety of a most popular topic, sure to be a beautiful and prized edition to the many wonderful St. Vincent and topical collections out there.
This pretty much sums up the Henry Ford Reversed Image variety. If more evidence is uncovered this page will be updated accordingly.

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
My personal recovery of the material


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UPDATED LAST ON: 16-Apr-2020 04:32 PM