New Rectagular Rarities

The SG catalogue entries that represent stamps for which fewer than about two dozen copies (both used and unused taken together) are marked with the dagger †. Undaggered means that the item is of that scarcity in either unused or in used condition, but not in both. The star * tags the entries for which there may not be examples currently attested in postal use.

What follows are the seven uncontested catalogued singles, three of which are perhaps better regarded as belonging to a non-postal category, for they they are unattested in postal use.

*SG101b.  The ¼a red perforated on laid paper. Continued existence alleged.

*SG103.  The 1a red perforated on horizontally laid paper, 1878. Fewer than a dozen were claimed at the time of the Haverbeck auction catalogue, in which two are shown in b/w photographs, one below, plate 15 Lot 1454.

Wolfgang Hellrigl estimates fewer than five for this item in any condition. As it is not known in postal use, it may belong more properly in a non-postals, experimental, category.

*SG104a/104b.  The 1a and 2a violet perforated. Numbers unknown; fewer than five in any condition? Not known in postal use.

†O1.  The ½a black perforated on European laid paper. Unpriced in unused condition. Probably fewer than five in postally used condition off-cover.

Two are known on cover, the earlier shown above, dated at Jammu 18 bhadom 1935 ~ 1 September 1878.

The later of the two known perforated officials, also on laid paper; this from kātik 10 1935 ~ 25 October 1878, also to Amritsar. Both scans are taken from Séfi & Mortimer Plate 34.

SG130a.  The ¼a ultramarine watercolor on thin bâtonné paper, spring and summer of 1880. Srinagar may have had special loan of the ¼a-plate for that year’s visitors season and this was the apparent result. Séfi and Mortimer report a copy with border design that does reveal the plate still in its State I condition, as would be expected under the received scenario. Unused copies should easily make the list; used copies possibly not (they really do keep showing up).

Above: Sturton Lot 313, an Amritsar-bound ¼a British postcard, 24 April 1880 at Srinagar, with matching native postage. The scan is taken, with our thanks, from the Harmer’s Sale catalogue for 29 June 2004. A unique cancelled vertical pair making for ½a is in the Hellrigl collection.

†SG130b.  The ½a yellowish-rose perforated. The earliest “orange” from the Srinagar printing regime, spring 1881.

Above, the only unused perforate copy reported, Hellrigl collection. There is a single used copy in the Tapling museum. The shade is also attested imperforate, but is not listed separately in SG and must therefore be considered part of the SG132 story of mostly common shades.

Full Sheets

Many of the New Rectangular issues in full-sheet format, if existent at all, are decidedly of the requisite rarity for this listing. We can hardly even begin a census of the rare sheets, but we begin now to gather what sundry notes on the topic as show up. But who knows what we can believe, what lies we might be content to tell each other? Full sheets are like that.

The ½a red-brown, perforated, on the early thickish vertically laid paper at Jammu only, possibly May 1878. A full sheet, possibly unique, is in the Tapling collection.

The ½a slate-violet, perforated, on the early medium laid paper, August 1878. Probably about a half-dozen full sheets attested.

The ¼a black on thin, smooth, bright white paper (1889). The Haverbeck auction catalog (Lots 1546-7) claimed that only two full sheets are attested. There would seem to be more surfacing, but it must still be rare enough to make the listing. Either that or there are “bright whites” and there are “bright whites.” Is the preceding an example?

The 1a dull purple on the early medium laid paper, February 1879? Scarcity unknown in full-sheet, but might well make the list.

A complete 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.

The 2as black on laid paper, 1878. State I of the plate. A nice thing to show from our own collection for a change, with perhaps fewer than a dozen known. At one time it was thought unique (the Masson copy shown in his book, and now miraculously in our possession, shown above.) Others: Lot #135 Eames Sale, Hellrigl collection, Jaiswal collection, Sturton collection.

The 2as black on thin laid paper (Partap series 1887, State II) is the only representative of the 2as plate in that series. At the time of the Haverbeck auction in 1973, a full sheet (Lot 1552) was said to be unique. It is now known not to be unique, witness above.

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