Kashmir Rectangulars

The Postage Stamps of J&K Simplified by Dawson & Smythies, pp 15-17.

The first special Kashmir stamps was the Single Die of 1866. It, like all the stamps of this Province, is rectangular and printed in watercolour on native paper. In general design and inscription it is a copy of the Jammu rectangular ½a; indeed it was engraved, as were the plates of the ½a+1a and ¼a+2a and the 4a and 8a single dies that followed, by the same die-cutter Rahat Ju. It can be easily distinguished by not having small white dots in the corner triangles, which are quite plain. This stamp is very rare unused and it is, of course, found only with the brick red circular seal when used, in which state even it is rare.

After a few months [actually at most weeks, ed.] stamps appeared printed in black from a plate composed of four rows of five ½a stamps and fifth and bottom row of 1a stamps, each separately engraved. This is known as the First Composite Plate:


Each stamp has a separate outer frame line, the whole block of 25 engravings being enclosed by an additional outer line. These stamps follow the Jammu designs even more closely than does the precding single die stamp, but they are readily distinguished therefrom by the following differences:

The Kashmir stamps have complete frames all round, and the outer ovals are not touching each other; the Jammu have a coloured frame on two sides only. The inner ovals on the Kashmir are a trifle shorter and narrower. There are white dots between the two corner triangles, but three or four white vertical lines between the inner triangles and the outer oval, instead of the three white dots on the Jammu stamps. On the Kashmir, the 1a is dated in Persian 1923 below the long horizontal stroke of the yek, whereas there is no date on the Jammu 1a. Postally used, the Kashmir stamps bear the brick-red circular seal of Kashmir.

These stamps had a very short life, as it was decided almost immediately to produce four more values, and to have a different colour for each. Blue was adopted for the ½a, which began to appear in this colour only two months later. Through error [or otherwise, ed.] a very few sheets were printed from the entire composite plate in blue, hence the 1a can be found, both unused and used, in this colour, but this stamp is excessively rare.

The ¼a and 2a were engraved together on the Second Composite Plate, one row of five stamps of each value, the ¼a on top. These were immediately followed by single die 4a and 8a stamps, all engraved by Rahat Ju. As each stamp on the plates was engraved separately, it is quite easy to plate these stamps when the prints are clear enough to permit of the types being recognised.

All the stamps, except the ¼a black, vary greatly in shades and impressions. [Copyist’s note: Actually so do the ¼a blacks.] The ½a violet-blue shade is scarce, and there is a rare and very distinctive ½a bright blue, very like that of the Jammu 1876 special printing. The 4a is rare in sage-green and very rare in myrtle, only two used copies being known. The 4a and 8a can be found struck upside-down and sideways (tête-bêche and semi-tête-bêche). The ¼a exists slightly double-printed, and a single used 4a in the red colour of the 8a and attached to a piece of native paper is known. It looks quite genuine, and it came out of the Ferrari-Hind collection. The 1a orange-vermilion was bisected horizontally and each half used as a ½a stamp. Only one copy is known on cover in March 1877. [Copyist’s note: The corrected date for this item is March 1878.] Chronicle:

Kashmir watercolours on native paper
October 1866½ablack
April 1867½a+1ablack
?½a+1aultramarine
July 1867½aviolet-blue
1867-701achestnut
1867-681aVenetian-red
1871-751aorange
1876-781aorange-vermilion
1876?½abright blue
July 1867¼ablack
?2abuff
?2ayellow
?4amyrtle
?4asage-green
?4aemerald
?8ared
?8arose
?8avermilion
?8ascarlet
?8adeep carmine

The four lower values can still be found in complete sheets of 5 or 20. They were cancelled with the brick-red circular seal, with a British Post Office postmark or with pen and ink. Occasionally a stamp is found with the black Jammu seal, used in that Province inadvertently.

► Proofs, Reprints and Forgeries.

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