Proofs, Reprints, and Forgeries

From The Postage Stamps of J&K Simplified by Dawson & Smythies, pp 17-20.

The circular stamps, as also the Kashmir Old Rectangulars, were reprinted in oilcolours in large numbers after they had gone out of issue in 1878. It is believed that the reprinting started the following year, although the first definite date of any reprint is 1881. It appears that dishonest postal officials finding that there was a constant demand for the obsolete issues of both Provinces, had printings made from the circular dies and the Kashmir plates in oilcolour, both on native and thin wove papers, and substituted these productions for genuine stamps still lying in the various State treasuries, and which they sold to applicants. The discovery of this wholesale and fraudulent reprinting came to light in 1898, when Father Simons started to dispose of the stamps lying in the treasuries as Agent for the State. The New Rectangular remainders were genuine, but practically all the so-called remainders of the earlier issues were either these oilcolour reprints or were Missing Die forgeries. As noted before, these stamps were denounced in the Philatelic Journal of India in 1898-1900. The postal authorities were quite unaware of the fraud that had been practised upon them, and undoubtedly they and Father Simons acted in all good faith.

The circular reprints were all in oilcolours; some of the colours approximated very closely those of the original stamps, some were very different in shade, while a few fancy colours were introduced. They are all very clearly printed, the native paper employed being usually thinner and glossier than that used for the originals. These are the only dangerous reprints; on the thin wove paper their true character is seen at once. One or two varieties have been found overprinted SPECIMEN in black or red. We give a full chronicle of all the known varieties:

Circular Reprints on Native Paper
dull blueblueblue
bright blue-bright blue
pale redpale redred
dull orangedull orangedull orange
-bright greenbright green

Circular Reprints on Wove Papers
bluedull blue-
deep bluedeep bluedeep blue
orange-redbright redorange-red

The sage-green reprints have not got the mottled green and yellow appearance of the doubtful 1a sage-green on native paper mentioned in Chapter V. [Copyist’s note: On the main site we refer to the latter as olive-green, which may be experimental printings.] The 1a chocolate is rare, as are the purples on native paper. [Copyist’s note: The latter-mentioned purples may also be experimental printings on a conceptual par with the olive-greens.]

These reprints are sometimes found “postmarked.” They were, of course, never in circulation, but a certain number were supplied to dealers along with genuine stamps by the postal authorities in ignorance of their true character.

Circular Missing-Dies

In 1890 a number of circular “stamps” recognised as differing in type from the genuine originals known up to date began to be supplied to dealers and collectors by the postal authorities. It was thought that the circular stamps might still be current, and that these were more or less new and fancy varieties, but yet having an official status. They undoubtedly came from the State treasuries, as huge quantities were found therin in 1894, when the British Indian Post Office took over the postal arrangements, and the State stamps went out of use.

It was decided, in February 1898, to deface the dies and plates of the State stamps. All the dies and plates of the issued stamps, except the single die ½a Kashmir of 1866 were found, but not the dies of the new types of circulars. It thus became apparent that these new types were fraudulent, and as the dies were not forthcoming, they were thereafter always known as the Missing Dies. They must have been made to the order of the same corrupt officials who had had printed off the great stock of oilcolour reprints on both native and wove papers, both in the original and fancy colours and shades. It would appear that these officials had ceased to have access to the original circular dies, and so were driven to have their own dies made to carry on their nefarious but very profitable business. These implements, the missing dies, have never been found.

These forged dies are the same size and just as well engraved as the genuine dies, but careful comparison of impressions for the two sets of dies shows many differences, and the Missing Die Type are easy to detect. The best tests are the shapes of the four Dogri characters to the top right of the stamps, the rays of the central sun, and the shape of the figures of value, and the direction that the vertical strokes of those of the 1a and 4a stamps point. The two outer circles of the two higher values are also distinctive.

The ½ anna. In the forgery, the foot of the first Dogri character curls up and joins the first Persian character.

The 1 anna. In the forgery, the vertical numeral stroke points to the centre of the first Dogri letter, instead of to just right of it, and it is also thicker. The curved stroke is also differently shaped. The two outer circles are so close together that they nearly always print as one thick circle.

The 4 anna. In the forgery, the numeral stroke points to the second Dogri letter instead of pointing between the first and second letters. The two outer circles are closer together than they are in the genuine die.

1. Circular Missing-Dies on Native Paper
dull blueblueblue
dull redpale red-
yellowdeep ochreochre-yellow
pale purplepurple-

2. The Circular Missing-Dies on White Laid
pale redred-
purpledull purplepurple

3. The Circular Missing-Dies on Yellowish Laid

4. The Circular Missing-Dies on Thin Woves
½a1a4a4a Die B
--redpale red

As seen in the last table, which concerns the thin woves, there is a second type of Missing Die in this denomination, the so-called Die B [called Type II on the main site, ed.] in which the numeral points correctly, but the Dogri letters are quite different in shape from those of either the genuine stamps or the first Missing Die [Die A or Type I.] This difference is especially noticeable in the fourth letter that looks like n.

► Jammu Rectangular Reprints and Forgeries.

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