§2 The New Rectangulars

Text: From The Stamps of Jammu and Kashmir Part II by D.P. Masson, pp 7-9. The scan of the Persian numbers shown below was taken from p 8.

Plates and Perforators: All Old Rectangular and circular stamps were superseded by stamps from five new plates. A sixth plate with values of ⅛a was added later, about 1883. There was also a seventh plate, made up of three rows of four ¼a stamps, but, as we shall see hereafter, the impressions from this plate were never postally used. [Reproductions of the plates can be found on this plates link.]

The first four plates were engraved by the same Rahat Joo who had prepared the plates for the old rectangulars of the Srinagar Province. I have in my collection the first impressions taken from these plates, having rescued them from the Engraver’s specimen book: these may, I presume, be classed as very rare essays. The three other plates were, I believe, engraved in Jammu: a glance will show that they are from a different hand, being in quite a different style.

The design of the new stamps is not unlike that of the old rectangulars of both Provinces—a double oval within the rectangle. But in the new types the star between the oval lines is omitted; in the spendrels a floral device takes the place of the old lines and dots; and the Dogri and Persian inscriptions are separated, the former being in circular form, between the oval lines, and the latter in lateral lines within the inner oval. The characters denoting the denominations are no longer at the top of the oval, but at the bottom; and there is no date. The Persian inscription runs—Dāk máhsúl Qalamrao Jámu-Kashmír ~ Postage charge, Government of Jammu and Kashmír.

The face values are given on the stamps as shown. Practically the same words, with the denominations, are repeated in the Dogri inscription. The Persian characters read from right to left and the Dogri from left to right.

I would suggest that collectors should note carefully the floral and plain borders on the edges of the plates, as a guard against forgeries. The side stamps were often used with the border intact: such stamps may be taken without further examination as genuine, for no forger has so far taken the trouble to add a border to his stamps. I have seen forgeries having a width of margin that could not possibly exist on an impression from the genuine plates, while others had a solid border, of the colour of the stamp, where the margin should be plain or beaded.

Perforators: With the plates engraved by him, Rahat Joo also prepared two perforating machines, one to perforate the sheets bearing fifteen stamps and the other those bearing twenty stamps: perforations from the former are rought, 12 to 14 to the inch, and from the latter about 20 to the inch, more clearly cut. The former still exists, in a dilapidated state, and can be seen at the office of the British Accountant-General at Srinagar. It consists of a flat brass bed, with spaces for fifteen stamps. The perforators are fine brass needles, unsharpened, about one-sixteenth of an inch long. There is a brass lid, with hinges and handle broken off, which is said to have completed the machine. No wonder the perforations are rough!

My original essays for the ½a, 1a, and 2a stamps, taken from Rahat Joo’s specimen book, are all perforated, showing that it was the intention to perforate at least these denominations. But I have seen only the perforated ½a stamp used: the 1a perforated stamp exists unused and doubtless also used, but the 2a one is not catalogued, and I have never seen a copy.

It is possible that originally it was intended to perforate all stamps, including the 4a and 8a ones: this would explain the existence of the four blank spaces in the plate for the higher denominations, bringing it to the exact size of the 1a and 2a plates. In any case the perforators appear to have been a failure, and they soon fell into disuse.

► Stamps Catalogued as of 1878.

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