The 4as+8as Composite Plate

Jammu Printings  Srinagar Printings

The composite 4as+8as plate, being integral-valued, is of the four-wide type. The upper section contains the 4as, the bottom the 8as. The middle gutter is uncarved but for traversing spots, simulating perforation holes. The stamps were clearly composed by a different artisan, and the plate is less esteemed in regard to craft. Our letter codes are R for the upper section, S for the lower.

The Jammu Printings 1878-81

For the early Jammu-printings period, there is no known example for either denomination in any in black or in any shade of blue. As for 4as reds, even they are rare in the early period, and still more so in attested postal use; the corresponding 8as is unattested in any condition. No full sheets in State I of the plate are recorded.

The 4as red on laid paper, obliterated with the Jammu 12-bar. The scan is a detail (position #3 in the plate) from a Jammu-Srinagar registered cover in the Hellrigl collection, dated April 1881. That is to say, very late, for that is the date usually associated with the move to Srinagar.

Left: The 4as deep orange-red on a coarse yellowish thin wove paper, 1879-80. The example shown here is position #4 from the top-right corner of the plate. The absence of a screw mark shows that it was produced from the early state I of the plate, and thus possibly Jammu-printed. It might have been printed at Srinagar before the repairs to the plate had been made there. Someone who knows the papers would know. On the right, a variety in the 8as on thin grey-toned wove paper, definitely associated with Srinagar. A variety in a rather coarse yellowish thin wove is not uncommon, and another variety on bluish paper is known in postal use, September 1885.

The Srinagar Printings 1881-94

The 4as + 8as brown-orange in a complete, though severed, sheet in the Hellrigl collection. Being a Srinagar printings there are visible the six State II screw impressions. There is no attestation in the red. Séfi & Mortimer distinguish a brighter orange from the more common and less sharply printed dull orange, a distinction not made in Gibbons. Unfortunately there are Brighton forgeries in a bright orange than can be mistaken for the former, the 4as on a white pelure wove and the 8as on thin unmeshed wove.

The 4as dull orange on thin wove, cancelled with a late 3-ring PAR(cel) marking of Jammu. As here, these stamps exist mostly as post-1890 re-issues, some of them in bogus productions for collectors.

And here the counterpart in the 8as, cancelled
with the same parcel marking of Jammu.

Though medium and thick laid papers are not normally associated with the Srinagar-printed period, there is a notable exception in this denomination: The pen-cancelled proof sheets, unsevered in State II, that Stuart Godfrey had obtained from the engraver’s specimen book.

Panes of each denomination in the thin wove paper, State II of the plate. The diagonal ‘scrape’ seen at the upper-left on the 8as pane is a persistent feature that seems to have lasted years before something was done about it. At least one unsevered sheet in the black exists. This famous auction fare was recently offered in the Sturton Sale Lot 372.

The 4as New Colors. The 4-anna stamps from the upper section of the plate come in a broad range of greens (and not so greens, more browns by way of olives.) There is a distinctive 4as deep green. The officials naturally retained the standard black throughout the late period.

In originals there is a full repertoire of dots (simulated perforation holes) in the margins. Brighton forgeries are characterized by absence of some of these dots.

The 8as New Colors. The 8-anna stamps from the lower pane come in an even broader family of “blues,” which include violets, outriders like like slate and indigo-black, and even some actual blues:

Originals are again characterized by a full repertoire of dots in the margins, while certain absent dots again signify Brighton forgeries.

Partaps. As to the thin laid paper, it has been seen bearing an 1884 paper makers’ date embossment, some three years before the paper was used for the Partap issues themselves.

The lower-left corner of the 8as pane in black on thin horizontally laid paper. We have also seen an example of same with smooth shiny gum, the status of which we do not know. The 4as black on this paper is attested in rare postal use, perhaps the latest of any of the thin laids, on 2 October 1894 (Haverbeck auction Lot 1556.)

The special feature of the Partaps is that the 8-anna greyish-blue comes only in watercolor on both thin wove and thin laid papers. Though the laid variety is priced higher than the wove in SG, we have have not yet even seen a copy of the latter. The pricing there would also seem to be anomalously low for both used and unused copies.

Séfi reports that postally-used and unused examples occur in about equal numbers, often sullied by the action of moisture. Or completely soused as seen by the example above.

Late Concoctions. These 8as red woves are known mostly as post-1890s re-issues, and unfortunately most often in philatelic perpetrations for the collector, as here.

In closing, let us repeat mention of a curiosity of the 8as pane, namely a constant error, first noticed in print by Frits Staal, p. 124:

If in subject #7 (detail above) you compare the Dogri elements in the oval at about the 8 o’clock position with their correspondents in the other stamps, you will see that the Dogri element -la- is missing in the former, giving a kamrav-looking thing (such a pity it is meaningless) instead of the intended kalamrav (~ government) as seen in the second example. Does a stamp containing this feature deserve a market premium on that account? For what it doesn’t matter, our own vote tends nayward on no strong conviction.

Forgery: By the way, there is inept forgery of the pane that unwittingly corrects that error in position #7.