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THE 1986 Royal Wedding Booklets

Information and Reference of What was Found in the Format Archive

1986 Royal Wedding Booklet
Marquee for Golowe's Reference Site on the Format International Security Printers

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.

1986 Royal Wedding uncut press sheet

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 honored way of preparing booklets and the tete-beche is absolutely necessary if one is going to produce left handed 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 imperforate 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 imperforate 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.
First image of 1986 Royal Wedding imperforate booklet pane
Second image of 1986 Royal Wedding imperforate booklet pane

More and more cases of fraudulent tampering of the panes is occurring 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:
Description of how to cut pane
Image of bogus cut booklet pane
Bogus imperforates of the 1986 Royal Wedding stamps claimed to be proofs
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 confiscated 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.

A 1986 Royal Wedding Full Uncut Proof Sheet
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.

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UPDATED LAST ON: 04-Feb-2017 03:50 PM