The 1a Plate

Jammu Printings  Srinagar Printings

The integral values of the New Rectangular plates are four subjects wide, not the three of the fractionally-valued plates. The New Color theme is green. Trying to organize a shade concordance among different lists is a bootless errand. For some of the material, the Gibbons Colour Guide is often at odds with its own catalogue. Some of the hues seemed to have changed over the many decades as well, but the old names have been retained. Our letter code for this plate is P.

The Jammu Printings 1878-80

The 1a black on medium laid paper on a 31 baisākh 1936 ~ 12 May 1879. The cds must have been May 13, not May 3.

Medium wove. There is a possibly unique sheet of the medium wove pictured in the Haverbeck auction catalog, Lot 1545.

The 1a black on thin toned wove, 1880? This is a Jammu-printed official, position #1 in the plate. It would show a screw impression in the upper-left corner if it were a state II Srinagar (i.e., printed after spring of 1881). Plate-state I printings on the thin wove are not distinguished explicitly in SG, but they are far scarcer than the common Srinagars. It is mere luck whether the appropriate section of floral pattern shows up to tell the tale.

The Jammu Reds.  Séfi & Mortimer report an early thin wove in red, unperforated, November 1878, making this paper antecedant to some of the laids in this 1a denomination.

The 1a red perforated on medium horizontally laid paper, 1878. Fewer than a dozen are attested according to the Haverbeck auction catalogue, in which two are shown in uncolored photographs. The scan here is from Haverbeck’s plate 15, Lot 1454.

The 1a brown-red on medium laid paper, 1879. The absence of a screw marking in the right border shows this stamp to be unambiguously Jammu-printed. The laiding lines are visible in this image.

Among the laid papers, the toning and the smoothness varies. The shade range is also wide; here is a kind of chestnut and a kind of vermilion.

As mentioned upscreen, Séfi & Mortimer report a 1a red on thin wove paper from the early date November 1878, thus making these issues concurrent with or even antecedent to laid-paper varieties. Off-cover such stamps will likely be assumed Srinagar-printed. Some listings do not admit of thin woves so early, though certainly the paper was available (as early as 1877).

The 1a dull vermilion on thick wove paper, 1879. Very thick, the example here being like thin card stock, it measuring slightly over 0.14 mm on average. A block of four showing the state I condition of the plate was offered in the Haverbeck auction, Lot 1476. There were no unused copies in the Masson or Séfi collections, but this seems to be one, unless it is something else altogether. But what?

The 1a scarlet-red on medium wove paper. Absence of a screw mark in the upper-left margin shows that the item is indeed Jammu-printed.

The Jammu Blues.  On left, the 1a dull mauve (our term) in water-insoluble ink on medium laid paper, 1879. This particular item was sold to us under the shade name dull purple, which actually does fit the Gibbons Colour Guide the best, though the SG catalogue uses mauve. This shade seems to be Séfi & Mortimer’s bright violet, and both Scott and Staal report a bright violet here, which also exists perforated, a rare stamp (unpriced in SG under violet). On right, the 1a dark slate-purple insoluble ink on medium laid paper, 1879. According to Séfi & Mortimer, this shade (which those authors called dull purple, SG calls slate-purple, and Staal calls slate) appeared in February 1879.

The Srinagar Printings (1881-94)

Srinagar printings also perform as expected: all is thin wove paper of the familiar types and there is a wide range of shade and printing demeanors. Stocks of these, which included the earlier Jammu printings, were re-issued in the 1890s. The theme color of the 1a New Colors period is green.

Without plate-state information or deeper expertise with papers and shades, one will not know for sure that some of these thin toned wove papers are not Jammu-printed, statistically unlikely though it be. At least we have a better chance of finding such things out here than we do with the blacks.

Above, something of the range of presentation in the 1a orange-red to red-orange spectrum. Thin woves of diverse toning and smoothness.

And thence to oranges, from very bright to very dull. Of the latter, a margin copy ex Séfi and a corner block were offered in the Haverbeck auction (Lots 1486-87). Examples of oranges on cover are known predominantly from the summer of 1884, late-seeming, especially given the alleged advent of the New Color regime in 1883, which really hadn’t gone postal yet.

Srinagar Bisect.  The first and only reported example of a Srinagar-to-Leh bisect, September 1886. This startling item was brought to light in the summer of 2012 by Anthony Bard. The catalogued bisects of 1a oranges were all dispatched from Leh, mostly in 1883.

Reverse detail. The cover was dated 1 September 1886 at Srinagar and arrived at Leh as per backstamp on 9 September. The Leh circle is known to be without year-date in that year. Though more than three years into the New Colors regime, we see that earlier-printed oranges were still being worked. The bisection would allow the stamp to serve a half-fare function, and so match the British. A few of the Leh bisects were in fact “doubly used,” in the sense that a ½a was cut to serve as the same, not a ¼a function. So perhaps this item belongs on the ½a page; matter pending.

The 1a black on thin wove papers. What is needed is plate-state II or other dating evidence to distinguish some of these common 1a Srinagar printings unambiguously from the scarcer earlier Jammu printings. A unique postally used example of a double impression was shown in the Haverbeck auction (Lot 1548) but is perhaps not datable.

Above: A New Years Day Message to the Lt.-Governor. A 1a official black thin wove on an external cover Jammu to the LIEUTENANT GOVERNOR’S CAMP P.O. Punjab, under Sir Charles Aitchinson. The “2as” next to the date 23 poh [19]39 ~ 5 January 1883 (i.e., appended the day after arrival) reveals the imposition of a 2-annas charge for the absence of British postage, a bit of a faux pas, one imagines, under the circumstances. The obliterator is the Jammu 12-bar, which is indeed known in violet for official purposes.

The New Colors.  The theme color is green, though sometimes we have to use our imagination about that. They come in a great range of shades indeed, some of which are doubtless different now from what they originally were on account of fugitive components in the pigments.

The 1a greyish-green on medium-thick horizontally-laid paper, status and scarcity here unknown. Its design is good (example above being type #10 in the plate.) Do Prataps sometime come on such anomalous paper? The example here is on decidedly thicker and less yellowy-toned paper than that usually associated with the thin laids of the Pratap series, an example of which we are unable to display in any sort of green; they would seem to be a tad scarce. (The 1a black Partap is shown in the next scan below.) So do we have here a candidate for Brightonhood? Doubtful, even apart from the fact that no type of 1-anna Brighton forgery is recognized in the literature. For one, Brightons are not known for good forgeries of 3-circle cancellations, if such this be. Nor is there the tell-tale ‘expansiveness’ of the uncolored regions. And three, I think the dimensions are correct. So, hmm, I guess one has little option but to advance it provisionally as an uncatalogued variation of the Partap series. Are they known uncancelled? Are they known on cover?

An unsevered sheet of the 1a greenish-grey on the thin laid paper in the Pratap Singh issue is said to be unique, Dawson sale Lot 366. We might compare that with Lot #127 in the 1996 Harmers (Eames) catalogue. A complete sheet rather remarkably reconstructed from postally used copies sold at auction in 1979 for £350.

The 1a black official on thin laid paper. This is the “other” Pratap in the 1-anna denomination, and appears in the requisite State II of the plate. The horizontal laiding lines can be seen in the top margin. So far we have not seen vertical laiding for this, even in singles.

Fugitives. A 1a blue-green (says Séfi & Mortimer) on thin wove, and now a “dingy yellow” owing to the blue component (traces of which can be seen under an extra lens and an extra candle) having all-but-disappeared over the eons.

More examples on thin wove from one of Simons’ commercial offerings in the late 1890s. The 1a greenish-grey, bright green, and dull green, respectively, according the period SG numbers shown. Under a glass the item in the middle is actually rather like the first, but with remnant green pigment beading over the surface. It is not unlike some of the ‘sage-green’ oilcolor circular reprints of uncertain dating.

A block of nine 1a “bright green or bronze green” on a large piece of a registered cover to the Raja of Jammu and dated 18 December 1893 was so described in the Haverbeck auction catalogue. There is also Dawson’s account in The Philatelic Journal of India 43 122 (1939). Staal speaks of the same item as dated 1891 and in the shade dull green.

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