4as Single Die

This, the second Kashmir single die, came into use in autumn 1867, quite possibly October, taking over the role of the 4as ultramarine circular at Srinagar for the registration function. No essays or proofs of this die are attested. After the first sharp printings in rare shades of green, this die had long employment in an arsenic-laced emerald-green. Reprinting in oils followed, including an odious ochre and a perfect purple. Our letter code for this die is K.

The 4as myrtle-green watercolor on native paper. Writing in 1931, Séfi & Mortimer reported that no unused copies were known, so they had not seen this or other copies, of which there are perhaps a half-dozen or so reported. There are even shade varieties, one known as ‘jade’. Old Myrtle is still not listed in Scott. (Our first “good” J&K stamp, and our very inspiration for doing a webpage.)

Myrtle on cover. This detail provides a much-wanted date for the myrtles, and confirms the notion that they were early. It is dated 2 rajab [1284] ~ 30 October 1867 (a Wednesday) after earlier arrival at Amritsar. Detail from Lot 253 Blue Sale.

The other myrtle on cover. This is the celebrated Dawson Lot #342. It is often erroneously described as a local cover, but both this and the preceding are javabs to Amritsar that did not carry British postage.

The 4as sage-green watercolor on native paper. Séfi & Mortimer tell us that this rare shade predates the myrtle. The pair of 8a stamps seen with it are indeed in the early and distinctive Venetian-red shade. Still we are unaware of the argument that definitively establishes it before the myrtle printing, and there are some suggestions that it might have been a later printing. Lot 1441, for example, in the Haverbeck sale presents a cover containing the sage-green together with 1a in ‘orange-brown’. The cover is (said to be) dated 13 rajab 1285 ~ 30 October 1868, i.e., a full year later (to the day) than the myrtle shown upscreen. The detail above is from a lovely undated cover in the Jaiswal collection. The rare unused copy is from the Hellrigl collection.

The 4as red watercolor on native paper. This scan was taken from the back cover of the 1967 Robson Lowe catalogue of the L.E. Dawson collection. Ex Ferrari, ex Hind. This item is traditionally reported to be a unique item dating from 1868 (but how is the year known?) There are a number of other such anomalous color switchings afoot known in javab use, all of them listed as “errors of color.” It is a pity that this item was taken from its cover, for among other things we shall never know now if this too fits that pattern.

The 4as emerald watercolor on native paper. This, alas, became the prevailing pigment. The color is much like that of the Jammu Special Printing issues of 1874 and reports of this stamp on cover as early as 1868 will have to be seen to be believed. Used copies, and examples on cover, are scarcer than catalogue prices would suggest.

The 4a emerald on registered Srinagar to Amritsar cover clearly dated on reverse 7 jeţh 1932 ~ 19 May 1875, with likely corroboration from the registered cachet. The latest unambiguous dating we have seen is for April 1878, but there have always been stories that the issue extended well into the New Rectangulars regime to serve the registration function.

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