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(5) Outline of the Issued Stamps.

The New Rectangular issues to be dealt with in the three chapters following fall into three principal groups—

 (I)  Printings for the public services made, chiefly in red or orange and largely on ordinary laid or wove papers, from 1878 to 1881.

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 (II)  Further printings for public use, made from 1881 to 1894, in distinctive colours for each denomination and on other papers, after laid and wove had been superseded by thinner varieties and,

 (III)  Printings in black made, during practically the whole period, exclusively for the Official Services, on all papers (the thin laid bâtonné excepted) used for the first two Groups.

In Group I. we shall draw, for the first time, a distinction between printings made, first at Jammu from 1878 to 1881, while the plates were in their first states, and those made from 1881 to 1883 at Srinagar from the plates in their later states. This group includes the remarkable ¼-Anna stamp printed in blue watercolour which has hitherto proved an enigma to philatelists, but which we believe we can now account for.

In Group II. we naturally find, during so long a period as fourteen years, a very pronounced variety of colour-shades, though the actual colours were never officially changed during this period. This group also includes a curious reversion to watercolour printing for one particular denomination.

Group III. needs no special mention here. All groups will be shewn to include a number of new and interesting varieties not previously noted apart from mere variations in shades of colour, which are frequently of small importance, as the following note on colour will indicate. In the Offical group considerations of colour scarcely enter. The black ink was occasionally slightly soluble in water—a fact having an important bearing on some early impressions in deep blue. It was normally in a more or less intense hue, but greyish impressions are occasionally met with.

Colours of 1878-1882.

The colours of 1878-79 included such shades as slate, blue and violet, in addition to red, which was in use for one or another denomination throughout the Rectangular period.

Within a year or so, all, with the exception of red were...

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...finally abandoned. Red then became the standard colour for all denominations, and was so used in both Provinces until 1881, when it was superseded—again for all values—by orange. These colours were stable in their nature, and probably of European manufacture.

Masson held that the earliest slate, violet, etc., stamps were in watercolour, but Evans dissented, and was undoubtedly correct.

In 1898 the “Philatelic Journal of India” (Vol. II., p. 358), published what we consider an accurate commentary on these pigments, from a correspondent, and from this we extract as follows:—

“In my opinion there were ... 3rd.—Aniline dyes (for the ½-Anna slate, 1-Anna and 2-Annas violet), ground or dissolved in oil. It seems to me incorrect to call these watercolours; they run freely in some cases, but not in all: 4th.—common European printing inks, i.e., solid pigments, all insoluble as a rule, ground in oil.”

Colours of 1883-94.

In this group some of the earlier colours appear to have been of native manufacture. These, and particularly the greens, were so highly fugitive that no reliance can be placed on them, for purposes of classification, even in the case of unused stamps. For some reason green seems to have been a particularly unstable native colour when applied to stamps. The blue ingredient seems to have been fugitive, and to have frequently disappeared, almost entirely, in course of time, leaving behind only a dingy shade of yellow or brown. The sage-green oilcolour used by Jammu in 1877-78, a similar oil-green employed later for both Reprints and Official Forgeries, and the green (native) printer’s ink used for the earlier 1-Anna and 4-Annas of the New Rectangulars, all suffered from the same defect and produced the unpleasant results seen to-day in the stamps so printed. On the other hand the native vermilion ink appears to have been remarkably immune from the blackening effects of suphuration that had caused so much trouble with the earliest stamps of British India.

For about the final ten or eleven years of the New Rectangulars, inks of European origin were almost exclusively...

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...employed. These were non-fugitive, though harsh and crude in colour compared with the native pigments.

At one time a ½-Anna New Rectangular stamp printed in red watercolour was chronicled and accepted in India. We have been unable to trace any such stamp, and it may be that a now well-known watercolour forgery was responsible for this record.

Early printings of the ⅛-Anna in brownish-yellow were from a pigment containing turmeric, which leaves a yellow stain on anything it comes in contact with, and collectors should guard against other stamps being injured by it. This ingredient was omitted from the yellower pigment of later printings, and stamps from the latter are quite harmless.

Occasionaly a bright yellow paper is found with stamps of various denominations, the colour extending even to the covers on which the stamps had been affixed. This staining is caused by long contact with the fumes of strong Punjab tobacco and snuff. Masson was in the habit of receiving many covers from a tobacco and snuff dealer, living in the town of Hazro, who added the profits of stamp-dealing to those of his more orthodox business; and any yellow-paper stamp or cover to be found at the present day will, in most cases, shew the Hazro postmark.

(6). Outline of the Re-Issues.

It is not intended to enter, here, on more than a general survey of New Rectangular Re-issues. A detailed examination of these will be made when dealing seriatim with the issued stamps.

It is not a little curious that large quantities of old stocks should have been issued, and freely used, years after such stamps had become obsolete, when we recall the usual native practice of printing in small quantities sufficient to fill the requirements of a few months or even weeks. Doubtless we have now reached a period at which it was realised that the postal system had grown enormously, and that much larger printings must be made; yet even this hardly appears to...

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...account for the great quantity of old stock which must have accumulated.

The red and orange printings became obsolete in 1883 on the introduction of new colours for separate denominations. Yet during the late eighties and, to an even greater extent, from 1890 right up to 1894 when the Posts ceased, we find abundant use made of all denominations both in red and in orange, with the single exception of the ¼-Anna. Meanwhile the 1883 issues do not appear to have been suspended in any way, but apparently continued to be printed and used, supplemented by the Re-issues.

Masson, though well aware of the employment of old red and orange stamps, far beyond their true period, was in doubt as to whether fresh printings in these colours might not have been made after 1883. A study of the different plate-states makes it possible to assert that no such fresh printings took place; the whole of the red and orange stamps, so largely used long after these colours had ceased, were from old surplus stock re-issued. We have even been able to establish, by the evidence of its plate-states, the fact that the re-issue included the ½-Anna, which was throughout printed in shades of red and orange only.

There is no suggestion that any of the red stamps on ordinary laid or wove paper were re-issued, and no orange printings were ever made on either. The whole of the re-issues formed part of an accumulation printed on thin wove paper, principally of the “fine-toned” variety.

It follows, therefore, that no unused re-issued stamp can be identified as such, but only those shewing a date after 1883, or some type of obliteration which had not, at that period, come into existence. In this respect it is fortunate that the practice, by British Post Offices, of year-dating postmarks was, after having been abandoned for some ten years, permanently resumed in 1883-84.

A type of postmark of still greater assistance, quite apart from any considerations of date, is that known as the...

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...“3-circle” type (see “Postmakrs”). This was exclusively used by nearly all Post Offices from and after December, 1890, and any red stamp (other than the ½-Anna) found with this type, at once stands self-classified as a Re-issue. In the case of the 2-Annas red, re-issue would only be proved if the stamp was on uncoloured paper. Any Kashmir collector who examines the postmarks on his red and orange stamps of 1878-81 on thin wove paper, will be almost certain to discover that the majority of them are of the “3-circle” type, and the stamps, therefore, re-issues of 1890-94. There was, in fact, a very considerably greater quantity of these stamps—particularly of the higher denominations—used as re-issues—than there were at the time when they were first printed.

We now proceed to prove the fact of re-issue, and to disprove at the same time, the theory of fresh printings. In order to avoid complications, we confine our remarks to three denominations—the 2-Annas, 4-Annas and 8-Annas. We omit the ⅛-Anna because this was neither a stamp of 1878-81, nor ever printed in red; the ¼-Anna because, as we believe, no re-issue of it was made; the ½-Anna to which, having been printed in both red and orange during the whole of the New Rectangular period, some of our arguments would not apply and, lastly, the 2-Annas on the yellow and green papers, which formed no part of the stock of 1878-83.

In the first place, then, all known printings of 1878-80 in red were from the plates in State I., and all known printings of 1881 in orange from State II. It is, therefore, impossible that fresh printings in State I. could have been made after 1881. But whenever sufficient marginal evidence of plate-state is available, it is found that every red stamp of these three values, used from 1883 to 1894, is from State I. As far as red, therefore, is concerned, the theory of fresh printings advanced by Masson fails, and the fact of re-issue is established.

In the case of orange, since no printings were originally made from the plates except in State II., such arguments do not apply, and the question must be settled by weighing the probabilities of re-issue.

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If, as proved, no fresh printings in red were made after 1883, there would seem to be no reason why fresh printings in orange should have been made after that date.

Secondly, the orange stamps used in 1881, correspond exactly with those used at later periods in shades, nature of impressions, and varieties of paper. No orange stamp has ever been found on the distinctive pure white thin wove paper that was in almost exclusive use during the whole of this period.

We have, therefore, what, in our opinion, amounts to proof, that the 1-Anna, 2-Annas on uncoloured paper, 4-Annas and 8-Annas orange of 1881-82 were re-issued in considerable quantities, and that no fresh printings in orange were ever made.

There remains only the ½-Anna for further consideration. In this case it would be possible to bring forward many examples that, by virtue of identity in shade, impression and paper must, almost certainly, have come from the 1878-80 stock, though used in 1890-94 and earlier. But, as this would entail consideration of a number of more or less minute details, we shall content ourselves by recording a ½-Anna red stamp, printed from the first state of the plate, and used in 1888—seven years after Plate-state I. had ceased. This, when supported by much other evidence with which we think it is unnecessary to weary readers cannot be accounted for by an accidental use of the stamp beyond its true period, and the re-issue of old ½-Anna red stock may be fairly taken as proved.

We must not omit, from our consideration of these Re-issues, the possibility of old unused stamps having been “cancelled to order” with postmarks of later date. Masson indeed stated that this had been done with some of the New Rectangulars. We can confirm this assertion to the extent of admitting that it was occasionally perpetrated with a few stamps of 1883-94, but we have rarely found even a doubtful example among those of 1878-83. The principal test of such...

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...copies must, necessarily, be the finding of an undue proportion of stamps shewing the same date and postmark, and this does occasionally occur. But a legitimate explanation of this is to be found in the fact that Kashmir issued no denomination higher than 8-Annas. Consequently, owing to the growth of the postal system (which entailed the introduction of Registration and Parcels Post), with correspondingly increased charges (particularly for parcels), it became a common occurence for large blocks and even sheets of the lower denominations to be utilised, during the later periods, for prepayment. Every stamp on such blocks or sheets would necessarily bear identical postmarks, and suitable allowance has to be made for the fact when considering the possibility of “cancellation to order.” It can, at least, be asserted, that every re-issued red and orange stamp has been found with a variety both of dates and Post Towns, and that none has ever been seen by us with any abnormal proportion of identical cancellations.

► Chapter IX.

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