Chronology 1866-94

Watercolor Decade   Jammu Transition   Srinagar Decade   Unified Period

This page is some sort of sketch of the J&K postal period by year. A more focussed picture emerges with of a study of the postal markings. As that subject is too chaotic to be done intelligibly in a strict temporal sequence, we offer a preliminary fly-over here, using tidbits of random history. Non-J&K stamp information comes mostly from the Gibbons catalogue.


Watercolor Decade

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1866.  Famine takes the east coast of India, resulting in some million deaths in Orissa. Sir John Lawrence is Viceroy of India (to January 1869.) John Russell, who will be grandfather to Bertrand, is Prime Minister of Britain (again) until June, when the 14th Earl of Derby takes over (again). Hires root beer was invented in May. Sun Yat-sen and H.G. Wells are just hatched, and Bernhard Riemann died all too young this year. Andrew Johnson is US president, after the assassination of Abraham Lincoln the preceding year. Mendel publishes on dominant and recessive characteristics in plants. Bismarck annexes most of Germany. Prussia and Italy declare war on Austria in June and planet Pluto was at aphelion. The Treaty of Prague ends the Austro-Prussian War in August and the American Civil War is declared over. The Atlantic telegraph cable is laid.

Stamps 1866. Ungummed “adhesives,” individually handstamped in watercolors, were inaugurated in March this year by Ranbir Singh, Maharajah of the State (1857-85). Three native postage stamps are known from the first days of stamp production, namely the ½a grey-black, the ½a dull-blue, and the 1a royal blue (bright ultramarine) watercolor circulars. The first was the workhorse of the threesome, and is prominent in the record for some eighteen months.

The ½a dull-blue is known postally on only a couple of important covers (the Boggs-Eames mysteries). Only relatively recently (from perhaps the mid-1980s) has a class of early half-blues been generally recognized at all. The specific shade and demeanor that characterizes the first 1a royal blue is in use for less than a month. These well-printed blues gave way quickly to a sequence of relatively degraded printings, gathered under the catch-all heading of ultramarine, and will be seen for about a year, primarily on Srinagar covers. A range of 4as ultramarines also appeared.

The 1a grey-black watercolor circular, one of the great J&K rarities, has been tentatively assigned to April 1866. The 4as counterpart in black is not of this period, and it is better understood as some kind of non-postal companion to the Jammu plate done in black next year.

23 September 1866 may be the earliest recorded of the Kashmir single-die ½a grey-black watercolor rectangular. The first Kashmir composite plate was likely carved in September as well, for the plate-½a black is now known for 8 October 1866. Since the 1a is not attested until the following spring 1867, it is likely that only a single sheet was printed in 1866, with several others following in late March or early April 1867. Catalogues erroneously mark the advent of the plate only from that juncture, not the preceding autumn.

Pen cancellation aside, the only native postal markings for 1866 are in the form of seal strikes used at Srinagar and at Jammu. The first appearance of the native Srinagar seal was as a backstamp in red pigment on the first known cover, 23 March 1866. It was in use as Srinagar’s chief obliterator for more than a decade in a variety of similar red pigments, and then in black from November 1877 to summer 1879.

Given that Jammu was the center of the stamp production at this time, it is curious that no Jammu obliteration is attested on cover before mid-April, all extant covers being from Srinagar in the brick-red.


1867.  A time of severe cholera at Srinagar. The dual monarchy of Austria-Hungary was established this year. The US Government bought Alaska from Russia for 7.2 million dollars. The first paperback book, Goethe’s Faust Part I, went on sale in Leipzig, Germany. Prince Mutsuhito, 14, becomes Emperor Meiji of Japan (1867-1912) in February. The International Exposition opens in Paris on 1 April. John W. Scott, originally a Londoner, produced his first price-lists this June in New York, a venture that was to lead to the Scott catalog. His shop at 34 Liberty St adjoined the City Hall Post Office. The Dominion of Canada forms on 1 July 1867 (but the first Canadian postage stamps do not appear until next year). Luxembourg gains independence from Belgium this September. Alaska adopts the Gregorian calendar in October and therewith dispatches Julian. Garibaldi marches on Rome and the Heligoland embossments appear. Turks Islands issues her own stamps starting April.

Stamps 1867. Four new printing implements are introduced this year, namely the ‘visitors’ plate of ten containing a ¼a-value in grey-black and a 2as value, printed in a kind of buff this year. The Jammu composite plate appeared in August (briefly printed with black and subsequently in a wide range of blues). The two high-value Kashmir rectangular single dies appear in the autumn, therewith completing the set of printing implements of the Old Period. These implements will be in use for another decade, the single exception being the Kashmir ½a rectangular single die.

The three common circulars of the first year, namely the ½a grey-black and the 1a and 4as ultramarine, disappear this year. Kashmir rectangulars essentially took over their labors at Srinagar in the spring. As to Jammu, one naturally assumes that these circulars were in continued use until the advent of the Jammu plate. Unfortunately a large fraction of the blue circulars struck in magenta are undated fragments, and we are unaware of reports of specific summer sightings for Jammu.

The Kashmir plate was printed at least thrice overall in slightly different shades of blue between April and June of this year 1867. The 1-anna denomination in these shades are thus extreme rarities. On cover they are known only on the special javab covers, at least three of which have been erroneously tagged as local covers in the earlier literature (e.g. Haverbeck Lot 1427) on account of the absence of British postage.


1868.  Benjamin Disraeli becomes Prime Minister of UK in February and is succeeded by William Gladstone in December. The first postage stamp cancelling machine was patented in the US in March. Edward Loines Pemberton (1844-78) wrote a very early account of the stamps of ‘Cashmere’ in the old journal The Philatelist pp 129-37, 1868. The stamps were hardly known at this time, and hardly existing for that matter. He was the father of Percival Loines Pemberton (1875-1949), who wrote the pleasant introductory note in the Séfi & Mortimer work in 1937. The Prussian Augustus Ferdinand Möbius died this year in Leipzig, and Beltrami constructed an explicit model of hyperbolic space. The first of the Oranje Vrij Staat stamps appear, the one with the tree on an island (quite a nice thing, and still penny material).

Stamps 1868. May was the likely advent month of the Jammu Red rectangulars. While a few covers are known from this month in which the magenta seal is still being used, the switch to black pigment is nigh, possibly around May, though the earliest we have seen is from June 1868. Given that red pigments had just been introduced in the stamps, we like to imagine that the change to black for the obliterator was to accomodate sensitive souls who do not much care for the idea of magenta on salmon. The black persisted until 1870 when the Iron Mine seal superseded it.


1869.  With the opening of the Suez Canal in 1869 the mailing time between India and Britain is reduced to about 20 days from 30. Lord Mayo becomes Viceroy to India (to be murdered three years hence.) Charles Mortimer was born this year; his J&K co-author Alexander Séfi will be born in twenty years time. The Urdu poet Ghalib died this year. Sarawak issues her first stamps under the Brooke family administration; Sir James and Sir Charles, rajas of sorts. The first of the esteemed Falkland Island pre-stamp Franks appeared in January on a cover to London. The first stamps of Gambia appear in March, the embossments. Hyderabad starts to issue hers in September.

Stamps 1869. The “Jammu Reds” appear among the watercolor circulars for the first time (examples in red from the Jammu plate having appeared already the previous spring). There is again a strong parallelism between shades of the Jammu plate and the 4as circulars, presumably because this high denomination (for registration) did not exist for Jammu in rectangulars.


1870.  The main rail line from Delhi reached Lahore in this year, and would inch its way to Jhelum in nine years, 1879. A suspension bridge was constructed at Kohala this year, which aided the mails on the western route to and from Rawalpindi, which later became an important disbursing office for the Kashmir mails. Back in England, Charles Dickens dies in June, aged 58. The Vittorio Emanuele II monument was built in honor of the first king of united Italy in 1870. First stamps of Fiji in November.

Someone should rummage the Jammu iron-mining archives to see if a certain handstamp seal appears on any of the paperwork—and then try to bribe the curator (for the good of philately of course). The seal was fashioned in 1858, some six years before the advent of the native stamps, but starting perhaps in the spring of 1870 (Masson reports 1869) the seal began active service for as long as a decade as the chief obliterating instrument in the Jammu post office.


1871.  The world’s first cat show is to be held this Christmas season at the Crystal Palace in London. Mathematician Zermelo was born and Lewis Carroll publishes Through the Looking Glass. Germany was unified with the inception of the German Empire. A number of important British postmarks make their appearance this year; those at Srinagar in consequence of that office coming under the auspices of the Punjab Circle. In other Asia, Japan and Afghanistan issue their first stamps.


1872.  Viceroy Mayo is murdered at a penal colony in the Andaman Islands in February; he is succeeded by Lord Northbrook in May after Sir John Strachey and Lord Napier served briefly as acting Viceroys for the interim. Bertrand Russell (grandson of British PM John Russell) was born in May; Max Beerbohm in August. George Smith came across the most famous of the Sumerian Gilgamesh tablets in Akkadian (discovered in the British Museum). Physicist Ludwig Boltzmann published his H-Theorem. Native post offices were opened this year at Skardu and Leh (the British office opening there in 1876). John W. Scott (as in Scott catalog) held the first auction for postage stamps in England at Sotheby’s this March. E.L. Pemberton, well-known to J&Kers, was a bidder. This was the year that he published his “Novelties, Discoveries, & Resuscitations” in The Philatelic Journal, p 100. Bhopal issues its first stamps, starting with the embossments.


1873.  Sultan Bargash closes the slave market in Zanzibar, David Livingstone dies, and the rival cities of Buda and Pest unite to form the capital of Hungary in November. Bihar suffers famine. Maxwell’s A Treatise on Electricity and Magnetism was published. Between now and 1876 much of the mail from the British Post Office in Beyrout was forwarded through the French or Italian offices at Alexandria. All that goes under the heading of British Offices in the Turkish Empire (1857-1914).


1874.  Not to change the subject but ... It was stated in 1874 that the integer 8616460799 would never be factored. Well, a moment at our keyboards today gives 96079 times 89681. The name “electron” was introduced by G. Johnstone Stoney this year, but the entity was not experimentally detected until Kashmir stamps are history. A transit of Venus occurred this year (the next in 1884, 2004, 2012, 2117, ...) Houdini, Somerset Maugham, and Winston Churchill are born this year. Disraeli again becomes Prime Minister of UK and is again succeeded by Gladstone, but this time six years later. Nigeria (Lagos) issued her first Victorias in June.

Stamps 1874. This year is known in the excitable minds of J&Kers as the beginning of the so-called Special Printings at Jammu. Alas, one would not know so from most of the extant covers from this year. Postally dated material involving the specials was scarce every year. Some rare Jammu rectangulars in later shades of orange appeared this year.


1875.  This was the year of the Great Fire at Murree. Violent bread riots occured on 17 December 1875 in Montréal, Québec (that would be Montreal, Quebec to us Albertans.) The first Gold Coast stamps appear in July.

Stamps 1875. Distinctive orange-vermilion watercolors are attested this year for the the 1a and 4a circulars, as well as for the Jammu plate. A very similar shade appears in the 1a Kashmir rectangulars from the same time and all are subject to chemical darkening.

The older blue-colored embossed lion on the flap of British stationery envelopes gave way to a colorless version sometime in 1875. We are looking for an early date for its advent in Kashmir usage. Unfortunately for datings the blue lion is still seen well into 1876 and occasionally beyond.


1876.  The first telephone call was made this year. A direct telegraph was established between Britain and NZ. Poonch issues her first stamps; they die with J&K in 1894. The poet Owen Meredith, known otherwise to the world as the Earl of Lytton, also Lord Lytton, was appointed Viceroy of India this year by Disraeli; he resigned this post upon the defeat of Disraeli’s Government in 1880.

Stamps 1876. This spring brings into the world the “cherry reds” (Masson’s term). The bright blues of the Jammu Special Printings appear (all three circulars and the Jammu plate). Much like it is seen with the Kashmir plate as well.

Thus the Watercolor Decade in very rough outline. Still we have to remember that the postal use of watercolors persisted at Kashmir and Ladakh into the New Rectangulars period. The Srinagar seal in black, which made its first appearance in November 1877, is therefore technically beyond the period of this section, but we must include it as an honorary Watercolor Period marking. In fact, it kept on in service right into the New Rectangulars period.


The Jammu Transition

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This section carries the Jammu part of the story to the end of printing operations there altogether. It’s an interesting period for us J&Kers because much about it remains mysterious. The saga comes in two very different chapters: first, the abandonment of watercolor pigments in favor of experimental oilcolors, then the introduction of New Rectangulars in “inks” in May 1878. Though the Srinagar office also indulged in its own experiments during this time, reliance on watercolor pigment was maintained there for the postal usages until the New Rectangulars supplanted them as well. Then all the printing implements, old and new, came under the control of the Srinagar office (spring 1881 is the received dating) and Jammu was out of the stamp business for good.


1877.  Queen Victoria assumes the title Empress of India. The inscriptions on the British stamps were changed from EAST INDIA to INDIA. The early-design Victoria ½a, 1a, 2as, and 4as persisted, however, alongside the new designs well into the mid-1880s. Alwar issues its first stamps, that dagger thing, and so does Nawanagar, another dagger. Samoa issues its “Express” stamps. Chinese control over the Kashgaria region, across the Karakoram mountains north of Ladakh, was reasserted. The region was renamed Sinkiang ~ Xinjiang ~ ‘New Frontier’. De Sarzec discovered the Sumerians in digs at Nasriyah, Iraq. Astronomer Asaph Hall discovers Deimos around August, I mean around Mars.

Stamps 1877. The first of the experimental oilcolors are produced at Jammu, advent date uncertain (possibly as early as April?) Certainly they start to appear in earnest from June. September 1877 begins the short season of the curious use of the Iron-mine seal as a kind of postage stamp. September 1877 begins the season of the curious use or misuse of the Iron-Mine Seal as a postage stamp. It was cancelled with itself.

The old spelling SEALKOTE gives way to SIALKOT in March 1877. The separable L-3 obliterator, which made its appearance years ago in 1874 with SEALKOTE date stamps, continues its labors into this new period, and will be seen with several of the SIALKOT date stamps until summer 1880. It was actually somewhere around June 1876 that the new AMRITSAR spelling began to supplant the earlier UMRITSUR spelling, though a few of the latter will be showing up for a few weeks yet, maybe even to August. The new-spelling types come not only in 1st and 2nd delivery versions as did the other, but now adds a 3rd delivery version. Such delivery examples in the new spelling from the watercolor period are somewhat scarce.


1878.  This is an important year in the life of J&K philately, the advent year of the New Rectangulars in May. A perforated pair of ½a “red” on laid paper is known on cover for 20 May 1878. This date is also taken to be the latest known postal use of a circular, namely the 1a steel-blue oilcolor circular on European laid paper (reference Eames). This is important year for Chinese philately too, for China also issues her first stamps in 1878, and in a thoroughly amazing coincidence they were also rectangulars. Britain assumed the administration of Cyprus in July and mail was up and running a couple of weeks later. Sirmoor issues the first of hers.


1879.  The first successful radio transmission was made by D.E. Hughes this year, but it would not be conclusively proven to have been electromagnetic waves until the experiments of Heinrich Hertz in 1886. The main rail line from Delhi finally reached Jhelum, having passed Lahore in 1870; it will reach Peshawar in four years. 1879 is the 289th prime number just so you know, but of Einstein’s birthyear, we shan’t make a peep. Labuan’s first stamps come on the scene in May.

Stamps 1879. Thin wove paper finally defeats the medium and thick woves for dominance. Both the Srinagar seal and Jammu Iron Mine seal see their last service this year at summer’s end. The former is replaced by the Kashmir duplex and the latter by the Jammu 12-bar, which had already been getting some practice runs for a few weeks. Masson reported that the stocks of Old Kashmirs were finally used up by August 1878, but further sporadic sightings are attested, especially from Leh and perhaps from other remote quarters. The question also arises as to the latest known use in the mails of the perforated issues. An eagle-eyed correspondent reports a late-use ½a red perfed on vertical laid paper from November 1879. Does it come later yet? The earliest known use of the 2a bright violet on laid paper is attested on a registered cover dated 19 December 1879, Haverbeck Lot 1464. The earliest known use of the 2as bright violet on laid paper is attested on a registered cover dated 19 December 1879, Haverbeck Lot 1464.


1880.  One plus the 64th power of 2 was factored this year. In April Gladstone becomes Prime Minister for the second time, succeeding Disraeli. The Marquess of Ripon becomes Viceroy in June. The US Post Office offers Special Delivery service. Rajpipla issues her three stamps, pleasant exotic little things. They became obsolete in 1886 when the British came.

Stamps 1880. The New Rectangular plates are still being used at Jammu for most of this year. An apparent exception was the temporary loan of the ¼a plate to Srinagar for the preparation of an anomalous ¼a ultramarine watercolor on bâtonné paper between March and July, a notable rarity in the New Rectangulars period. Thin woves begin to appear in earnest.


The Srinagar Decade

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This section continues the chronology by taking the story from the time when all the stamp-printing implements were held at Srinagar, spring 1881 at the latest, to the eve of the so-called “Unified Period,” when the native postal operations began the process of being assimilated by the British Imperial system.


1881.  Nepal issues her first stamps. Back in Europe, Jacques Offenbach was seeing success with the opera Les Contes d’Hoffmann, based on the older horror tales of Hoffmann. Benjamin Disraeli dies.

Stamps 1881. It is often said that the New Rectangular plates, which had been kept at Jammu since the spring of 1878, were transferred to Srinagar for good in March 1881. The plates, through disbedding perhaps and reattachment with screws or rivets to new bedding, assumed new conditions of state. The first printings in orange appeared in all the denominations (save the eighth-anna plate, which had not yet been carved).


1882.  The first of the British Empire issues appeared on 1 January though Queen Victoria had already assumed the title of Empress of India in 1877. Venus made transit across the sun this year (the next time would be June 2004 and that’s why we know this). Lindemann proved that π is transcendental, Charles Darwin died at age 73, and Milan Obrenovic over-reacted this year and crowned himself king of Serbia. The Boer republic of Stellaland was established (but no stamps until 1884). The British Consulate Bangkok postmarks (BPO in Siam) appear on stamps of Straits Settlements this year.


1883.  Two extraordinary and dramatic events mark this year: The eruption of Krakatoa in August and the introduction of the New Colors Issues for postal use. The British North Borneo Company Administration issues its first little stamp in March: lion, sailing ship, and exotic script, what more could be wanted, except for the imperf-between version at £20,000.

Stamps 1883. This is also the year of the Leh diagonal bisects; the first wave occured in the April-May period (e.g., Sturton Sale Lots 300-302) followed by the summer sightings. A cover of 17 July bears the 1a orange bisect and a detail of another can be seen on Staal Plate 16. New Colors are in fact are quite scarce in 1883 and we would show one on cover if we could. That is why we sometimes refer to the New Colors Decade as 1884-94. In some ways the New Colors mimic the Special Printings of the Watercolor Period; neither group really superseded the older printings in postal use, but were more of an ancillary operation with an eye on the philatelic market.


1884.  Germany claimed several colonies in Africa. Sholem Aleichem published his first novel, Natasha, in Yiddish this year. If it’s not our imagination, there seems a relative dearth of dated Kashmir material for 1884. Dawson & Smythies state that in early 1884 the ½a plate took on its final-state (our Plate State IV) characteristics. Auction catalogs show much use of the older 1a oranges, not the new 1a greens of naïve expectation. Kashmir circular date stamps take on year-dates; merciful that, if belated. The Philatelic Review 6 47 1884 published a nostalgic article on the circular stamps of “Cashmere.” Quoting SG: “The first, and for 62 years the only post office in Bahrain opened on 1 August as a sub-office of the Indian Post Office at Bushire (Iran), both being part of the Bombay Postal Circle.” The British Consular Mail material for Madagascar begins to appear in March. The first of the Patiala State Convention overprints appear in October. The Earl of Dufferin becomes Viceroy in December.


1885.  Ranbir Singh dies, and his son Pratap Singh will rule between 1885 and 1925, and therefore presides over the native postal service for only the first nine years of his 40-year reign. Th 3rd Marquess of Salisbury becomes Prime Minister, succeeding Gladstone. In January, General Gordon is killed in Khartoum with hundreds at Abu Klea. Gilbert and Sullivan’s “Mikado” opens in London on March 14, and Einstein is having a birthday, aged 6 and pesky. Bohr, Weyl, and Littlewood were all born in this year. On May 19 German chancellor Bismarck takes possession of Cameroon and Togoland. The Canadian Pacific Railway reaches the Pacific on 7 November. France declares Madagascar a protectorate in December. The first stamps of British Bechuanaland appeared in December, stamps of Cape of Good Hope overprinted thus. The Protectorate version came four years later. The first of the Gwalior, Jind, and Nabha State Convention overprints appear in July. Jind had been issuing her own stamps since 1874.


1886.  Heinrich Hertz verifies the existence of radio waves experimentally. Bermuda stamps overprinted Gibraltar appeared in January; they entwined amazingly with the Morocco Agencies (making for a fine hobby if one were not caught already by J&K). Indore comes up with stamps too, also January, and so does Jhalawar (month?) Tonga has some fun stamps with some worthy on them called King George I. Back home in Srinagar, we find that the turmeric staining ingredient that was used in the early ⅛a yellow issues seems to have been discarded, though later usage with older materal is known. A regime of oilcolor reprints of Kashmir Old Rectangulars on native paper is sometimes assigned to 1886. The British 4as 6p yellow-green was introduced on 1 May of this year, and the early-design EAST INDIA 1a brown shows up, along with the Empire 1a. Gladstone returns (third time) briefly to power in UK, February to July, and is again succeeded by the Marquess of Salisbury.


1887.  This year is associated with the re-introduction of laid papers, but in a type that are very thin (~ 0.05 mm) compared with those of the 1878-79 period (~ 0.10 mm). The paper itself, sometimes known as ‘creamy laid’ is known to have existed earlier through an 1884 embossment on the sheets of what is said to be an 1887 issue. The stamps are known as Pratap Singh issues, named after the Maharaja who had assumed the throne in 1885 upon the death of his father Ranbir Singh. These issues are rather scarce in postally used condition, i.e., they did not supersede those associated with the 1883 type on thin woves. E.B. Evans wrote an eye-opening series of notes this year on the stamps of “Cashmere” in the Philatelic Record 9 pp 130, 152, 172, 186, 205. Mathematician Ramanujan was born this year, Killing classifies the simple Lie algebras (October) and the Akkadian el-Amarna letters bearing Canaanite glosses were discovered in Egypt. The stamp collector and author L. Dawson was born this year. The first of the Chamba State and Faridkot State Convention overprints appeared in January. Faridkot had been issuing its own stamps since 1879.


1888.  E.B. Evans concluded his series of seven notes on the stamps of “Jummoo and Kashmir” in Philatelic Record 10 214 1888. Kipling (born in Bombay in 1865) published Plain Tales from the Hills and other stories this year. Matthew Arnold dies; we Victorians remember it well. Travancore issues her first stamps in October, the conch (probably could be used as a dagger). The Marquess of Landsdowne becomes Viceroy.


1889.  The J&K philatelist Alexander Séfi was born. The British 9p rose (issued in 1883) are very scarce on Kashmir covers, but an example shows up on an item for this year in the Kashmir Blue Sale KB325. Cayman Islands opens a post office, using stamps of Jamaica. Some stamps of Transvaal are overprinted “Swazieland.”

Stamps 1889. This year is not exactly a notable one unless you find the advent year of the smooth white woves something of note.


1890.  Wilhem II dismisses Bismarck. The year 1890 is often cited as the first year that the 3-ring cancels came into use, perhaps very late in the year, but they will take a while to get going. For us they are British markings pure and simple. Native stamps printed a decade earlier are “re-issued” from the Treasury, together with massive production of the so-called “missing-die” forgeries. In fact, a good deal of more or less dodgy material of various kinds characterize the field from here to the end of things in 1894, including the orange watercolor postal forgeries of the ½a New Rectangular. The British 3a brown-orange is issued this year, but is very scarce on Kashmir mail. The British East Africa Company overprints appear in May; the first stamps in October. Leeward Islands starts to issue stamps, and it’s about time.


The Unified Period

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This section concludes the chronology by taking the story through the so-called “Unified Period,” which was dominated by the use of 3-ring datestamps, British postal stationery, and older-printed native stock (“re-issues”). This transition period ended with the full assimilation of the native posts into the British postal operations, a process that was completed formally on 1 November 1894 when native stamps became obsolete.


1891.  In April, Oscar Wilde published The Picture of Dorian Gray in novel form. On May 5 Tchaikovsky is guest conductor at Carnegie Hall, NY. Just as riveting, it is said that the native postcard received a repair. The 3-ring date stamps started to appear with more regularity. The denominations puzzle in the circular stamps became a matter of debate. Nandgaon issues stamps between now and 1894. A protectorate under the name ‘Nyassaland Districts’ was established in May, its stamps sporting B[ritish]C[entral]A[frica] overprints (July if you really have to know).

Stamps 1891. An anomalous trio of printings on gummed wove paper, clean-perforated 12, are said to have appeared this year in ⅛a brownish-yellow, ½a orange-red, and 1a greens. The British 2½a green overprint on the 4a 6p yellow-green Victoria was issued on 1 January this year; somehow it found itself on a Kashmir cover in 1893.

April 1891 was an unusually active one for new postal markings and provides a natural juncture for what might be called the Late Period of our subject. The new spelling JUMMU, begins from this time; Jammu is now also a Head British PO. And with the snows starting to go away the not-quite-new 3-ring cancellations start showing up in earnest now. The series comprises some 80 types for different POs and functions. Some of them are not attested in actual use, and many others are rare.


1892.  Gino Fano made the first axiomatization of projective geometry, and his own Fano plane does not qualify. A large number of covers bearing 1891-92 Srinagar markings, 3-rings and registration boxes, are found with odd combinations of officials and reissues, sometimes in blocks of unseemly size. There is a growing awareness that these were philatelic concoctions for collectors. British stamps are very scarce on Kashmir mail after 1892, Punch somewhat excepted. The British 3a brown-orange is mentioned by Séfi & Mortimer as a rare usage. Cook Islands and Cochin both issue their first stamps in April. Rhodesia joined the South African Postal Union in August. Gladstone returns as PM for the fourth time in August.


1893.  Stanley Gibbons Ltd. moved to its present location at 399 Strand, London. It had been in business since 1865, just months prior to the issuance of the first circulars. British stamps, excepting the embossed stationery, become very scarce in Kashmir mail in this late period. A rare cover with the surcharged 2½as on the 4as 6p green Victoria of 1891 has been reported for this year.


1894.  This is the final year of operations of the native post office. The system will formally amalgamate with that of British India on November 1. The transition has been occurring for some time, as told by the advance of the “unified” 3-ring date stamps and the diplomatic absence of British stamps in the final period before they take over entirely. Bundi issues the first of her stamps in May, the pre-cow daggers. Charkhari does too, also with dagger. The 5th Earl of Rosebery, Archibald Primrose, becomes PM in March and the Earl of Elgin became Viceroy of India in October.

It is no surprise that echoes of the native postal service linger in the post-postal period. Native postcards, for example, used in an unofficial capacity by visitors, persist for many years. The latest example we have seen on the internet is from 1935 with a George V Indian stamp.

The End

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