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II. The Srinagar Printings.

(A)  Printings in Red and Orange (1880-82).

 (All Plates in State II.: the ½-Anna in II. and III.) The plates having been received at Srinagar late in 1880 or early in 1881 were re-bedded and printing was resumed from the plates in their new states, for a short time in the Jammu red and, later, in 1881, in orange. The latter was used for all denominations until 1883 when separate distinctive colours were assigned to all values, including one of the ⅛-Anna from a new Plate, except the ½-Anna and 2-Annas for which red (or orange) were retained—an arrangement which held good until the closing of the Posts in 1894. During the whole of this thirteen-year period the only papers employed were thin wove (in three principal varieties) and thin laid. The overlapping of the thin wove varieties, coupled with the indifference in respect of colour-matching for innumerable small printings, renders it impossible to treat these stamps except on the broadest lines.

 (i.)  In Red. (1880-1881).
Only two papers occur in this group, the “fine toned” and “coarse toned” varieties of thin wove. The chronology of this period is rendered the more difficult since it was not until 1883—the year of the “distinctive-colour” issues—that the British Post Offices resumed their early practice of year-dating their postmarks.

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Srinagar printings in the old Jammu colour, red, appear to be confined to the three lowest denominations—¼, ½ and 1-Anna. This, we think, is easily explainable. Srinagar could only have been in possession of the Plates for a very few months before deciding on orange as a new standardised colour for all values and, during this short period, would be using up the red State I. printings previously received from Jammu. The three lowest denominations (which were always most in demand) probably became exhausted, and the deficiency remedied by small further printings in the same colour very shortly before the decision to change to orange was arrived at.

The ¼-Anna Red.

The ¼-Anna red would seem to have, at first, been printed, in State II, mainly on the fine paper, and later on the coarse variety.

On the fine paper, some of the earliest stamps were printed on a rather deep-toned sub-variety which, probably owing to having been exceedingly fragile, seems to have been scarcely, if indeed ever, used. This printing was made simultaneously with the plate of the ½-Anna in its second or intermediate state. Masson, although he had noted this paper in his collection as “very rare”, had, nevertheless accumulated a number of sheets and part-sheets, many of which shewed marginal evidence of the two-plate printing. This accumulation is difficult to explain, but it may have represented the commencement of a study (never continued) of the plate-states. In this printing the two plates were upright, relatively to each other, with the top margin of the ½-Anna plate standing far above the level of the ¼-Anna.

Some of the fine paper shews a distinctly greyish, almost bluish tone with decided brown-red impressions. This paper may have been from a stock of which a part only had been sent to Jammu or, possibly, some which had been sent and returned with the plates.

A very large proportion of these quarter-anna stamps were used from native Post Offices in both Provinces, but they are...

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...known to have been issued to, and used from the British Offices at both Srinagar and Leh. None of these stamps appears to have been re-issued.

The ½-Anna Red.

The ½-Anna red stamps used in 1880-81 also shew that issues were very largely confined to native Post Offices and, apparently, almost entirely to those in Jammu. The only use which we have traced to Kashmir has been from the British Post Office at Srinagar, and the earliest date 7th July, 1880, or fifteen months after thin wove paper was first used in the State.

We have seen one of these ½-Anna red stamps, used in April 1881, printed from the plate with the surrounding border uninked; we should imagine such a printing to have been made of necessity at a time when the plate was disbedded and when the surface of the border was covered with holes instead of rivet-heads, and therefore unfitted for inking. The date of this cover is too late for us to suppose that the printing had been made from the Plate immediately on its return from Jammu and before it had ever been re-bedded at Srinagar. If this did, in fact occur, we should be provided with a unique instance of a Srinagar-printed stamp from a Plate in State I.! Far more probably, however, the Plate was in State II, having been first fixed to its new bed and subsequently removed for an early repair. That such repairs did occur during State II is proved by marginal stamps which we have found, dated January 1883, shewing combinations of the small rivets of State II with the large ones of State III.; and we believe, in fact, that one or more of the latter were added in the borders some little time before State III was finally attained. In one of these combinations, however, a large white impression appears in a position at which no large State III rivet was ever placed, and this (as in the case of the two following Plates), can only be accounted for by some distortion or curvature of the Plate at this particular point.

Such facts as these shew, fairly conclusively, that the change from State II to State III was a more or less gradual...

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...one giving rise to various “Intermediate States.” In this respect the Plate of the ½-Anna differs completely from any other Plate of the New Rectangulars.

The Leh Provisional   (April, 1883).

The ½-Anna red—Bisected diagonally and each half used as a ½-Anna stamp.

These provisionals were, according to notes made by Masson in his collection, officially authorized during a shortage of stamps at the British Post Office at Leh. In this particular instance, the shortage was help out by making double use of such ½-Anna stamps as were in stock, but a further supply of this value was obtained by similarly bisecting the 1-Anna stamps of the orange issue of 1881-82 (Q.V.) Both Provisionals shew the British postmark and obliteration numbered 8 and 9 respectively in our illustrations.

Masson noted that each bisected half represented a ¼-Anna denomination, but we are unable to agree with this view.

In the first place, the suggestion involves the supposition of a shortage of ¼-Anna stamps. These were in very slight demand, while that for the ½-Anna was by far greater than for any other value, and a ½-Anna shortage would be far more probable.

Secondly, we have found, with every cover which we have examined, that these, having been required for transmission beyond Kashmir territory, all bore the Imperial ½-Anna stamps in addition to the Provisional; and if the latter stamps were representing a ¼-Anna rate, all of them must have been sent by visitors availing themselves of their special “half-rate” privilege. Such a coincidence would be almost, we consider, incredible, while there is, in addition, no evidence to shew that the special half-rate privilege was ever extended to the Ladakh Province.

Moreover, as will be shortly seen, this Leh shortage was also partly remedied by the bisection of the 1-Anna stamp, and here, again, a ½-Anna representation for each of the halves would appear the more probable.

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None of these covers shew that any excess postage was charged, as would have occurred if ¼-Anna stamps had been wrongly used by natives availing themselves of the visitors’ rate, and we shall therefore credit these provisionals with having represented ½-Anna stamps.

All the covers that we have seen bear dates between April 18th and May 16th, 1883, except for the bisected 1-Anna, which is dated 28th July. The period of use was, therefore, a very brief one.

Masson’s enquiries, as to the official authorisation of these Leh provisionals, were made on the spot, and their status may be considered as well-established. Also, since we find that Masson noted (“Ph. J. India”, vol. II., p. 52), the official prohibition of such bisections, shortly after the date of those of Leh, it would seem that no later bisections can be recognised philatelically, though such are known.

The Plate-State of the printing from which these Provisionals were produced is not yet known. The date (April 1883) must coincide very nearly with that of the final change from State II. (Intermediate) to State III. The combination of shade and paper, however, occurs freely with ordinary stamps of 1884 but not, apparently, before 1883. It is, therefore, probable that these Provisionals are from the Plate in State III.

The 1-Anna red.
Several printings in red on thin wove paper are known from this plate in State II., as proved by marginal evidence of simultaneous printings from the ½-Anna plate (also in State II.). In at least five instances, the ½-Anna plate occupies a slightly different relative position, sometimes upright and at others reversed. These printings are all in a bright red and on both fine and coarse papers, but we have seldom found them used during 1880 and 1881. Their use becomes more general after 1884 (by which time the colour had been changed to green) and they are most frequently found, as re-issues, with postmarks of 1891-94, and on coarse paper. Nearly all copies...

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...which we have seen used in 1880-81 have been on coarse paper in a dull red, issued in the Kashmir Province, from native Post Offices.

This particular denomination appears to be the only one of those, printed in red at Srinagar, to have been re-issued.

The 2-Annas—red.
There is no evidence to shew that any printing in red was ever made from this plate at Srinagar, and no red stamp shewing the second state of the plate has been found, either among those used in 1880-81, or among the Re-issues. This denomination was in small demand about this period, and although we have seen red 2-Anna stamps on thin wove paper used in all years from 1880 to 1884, these have been so few, and the plate-state so rarely disclosed, that further material would be needed before the point could be definitely decided. Re-issued red 2-Annas stamps, used in the nineties, are far more common, but in every case known to us, in which the plate-state could be proved by the marginal evidence of Types 1, 4, 17 or 20, this has invariably been State I., and the stamp, therefore, from a Jammu printing.

The 4 and 8-Annas red.
In this case also, no red printing is known from the Composite plate in State II. In view of the increasing demand for these high values, it has been possible to examine a comparatively large number of these re-issued red stamps on thin wove, used from 1890 onwards, including a fair number of Types 1 and 4 of the 4-Annas and types 5 and 8 of the 8-Annas. These types, as in the corner stamps of the ¼-Anna plate, having their outer corners cut away by the State II. screws, do not need the evidence of any margin to prove the state of the plate; and in all such types, which we have found among the Re-issues, these angles have always been entire, proving a Jammu printing from State I.

In concluding these notes on the Srinagar printings in red, it may be pointed out that, in spite of our proof that the red re-issues were usually of Jammu-printed stamps, there are...

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...occasional indications of a small amount of Srinagar printings of one or two values having been included. If this should be proved by the finding of a red stamp on thin wove, shewing State II., and a date in the nineties or late eighties, the fact need cause no surprise since, if Srinagar had recalled, for re-issue, a large red reserve stock from Jammu, nothing would be more likely than that any small surplus of obsolete Srinagar-printed red stamps should have been added to it. Most of the following orange stamps, printed at Srinagar, were freely re-issued, and used in the nineties.

The Orange Printings of 1881-82.

In 1881, probably about July, Srinagar abandoned red—the colour that had been, for so many years, practically exclusive to the Jammu Province—and, in its place, issued all denominations in orange.

The date marks the last occasion on which, except for the black Official stamps, a single colour was employed for all values alike. This issue remained in use for some two years, after which red and orange were retained exclusively for printings from the plates of the ½-Anna and 2-Annas.

Srinagar printings in orange must have been considerable, for, unlike those in red, all values were re-issued (the ¼-Anna excepted) and freely used during the nineties and earlier.

A somewhat curious feature of these printings is that whereas the four lower values appear in a true, and often brilliant shade of orange, the 4 and 8-Annas are usually found in a pale and dingy brownish-orange. The explanation of this may be that the consignment of the new colour was largely used upon the lower values mostly in demand, and that an insufficient surplus was increased by the admixture of some other pigment, for completing the printings of the 4 and 8-Annas.

The plates were all, of course, in State II., including that of the ½-Anna which had not yet arrived at State III.

All denominations were issued in both Provinces.

A few brief notes are appended on the individual stamps.

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Orange Printings 1881 (July)—1882
½-Annaorangethin fine toned wove10-12
¼-Anna' '' 'imperf
½-Anna' '' '' '
1-Anna' '' '' '
2-Annas' '' '' '
4-Annaspale dull orange' '' '
8-Annas' '' '' '
¼-Annaorangecoarser thicker toned wove' '

The perforated ½-Anna has already been mentioned as proving a late attempt made at Srinagar to resume perforation after the practice had been definitely abandoned at Jammu in 1879, owing to the failure of the perforating machines. Whether or not any repairs had been made with the “A” machine for this fresh attempt is not known; considering the extreme rarity of these late-perforated stamps, we should think it unlikely, for the machine must have again failed almost immediately after its re-trial.

Before leaving this rare stamp, we may mention a letter written to the late Mr. Dorning Beckton by Evans acknowledging the receipt of the stamp that Mr. Beckton had sent him for examination. In this letter the following passage occurs:—“I have a copy with a similar perforation—Masson found a few and gave me one.”

This statement is remarkable, for Masson’s collection contained not even a single example of the stamp, and if he had found several copies, as suggested, it is not only highly improbable that he would have parted with them or, that if he had, the Beckton copy should not be duplicated in any other collection which we have examined.* [*Note added in footnote: We find that the Tapling Collection in the British Museum also contains an example of this stamp. Like the Beckton copy it shews an obliteration (type 26) of one of the Native Post Offices in the Kashmir Province.] The copy in question is, beyond doubt, genuine in all respects, and the...

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...only explanation that occurs to us as at all feasible is that Masson subsequently proved to his satisfaction that his stamps were from a much later printing with forged perforations, and that he, therefore, discarded them. Such a forgery may well have been attempted at a period when Kashmir stamps were being more eagerly sought for by collectors than they have been during recent years; and Masson’s knowledge of the chronology of the later postmarks would certainly have enabled him to detect the forgery if anything had occurred to arouse his suspicions after he had sent a copy to Evans.

We have also discovered that such a stamp was actually recorded, in India, in 1897—four years before Masson published his book—and that Masson published a criticism of the record.

In that year, Lieutenant T.E. Madden, who had previously published certain notes on Kashmir stamps in the Annual Reports of the North-West Provinces Philatelic Club, contributed an article in the “Philatelic Journal of India” (Vol. I., pp. 221-22), in which he chronicled, not only the ½-Anna orange, but also a ½-Anna black as on “rough pin-perf. wove paper.” These descriptions are very vague, for the gauge of the perforation is not given, and the description of the paper hardly applies to the “thin wove”. A further record in this article of a ½-Anna orange “perf. 10 on laid paper” is still more open to question, for it is in the highest degree improbable that any use was made of laid paper so late as 1881. An Indian record of any perforated ½-Anna orange, however, deserves some mention, if only for the reason that a knowledge of it may prove of service in the matter of forged perforations.

Masson, when commenting (“Ph. J. India.“, Vol. I., p. 222) on Madden’s records, stated that he was unable to accept all that had been written by the latter though, in the same volume (p. 260), he qualified this in some respects.

The orange printings, imperforate.
The ¼-Anna orange (SII.), on thin, fine toned wove seems to have been rarely used on postcards, and still more rarely on...

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...letters; while, as previously noted, it appears to be the only denomination which was never re-issued.

The ½-Anna, usually the commonest of all denominations, is accepted as the rarest of the orange issue. The fact is the harder to account for since the stamps shew several different shades indicating different printings. This reputed rarity may, we think, be partly accounted for by the difficulty in separating these stamps from those printed in orange at a later period.

The plate was in a dirty condition during the original printings, producing blurred impressions in striking contrast to those which were issued later, and orange stamps of this nature are, we think, less scarce than is generally supposed. They were issued to Jammu, and to both British and Native Post Offices in Kashmir. It is doubtful whether any of these stamps were ever re-issued, but a re-issue, if any, could only have been made to a very small extent.

During the first orange printings this plate was in its second, i.e., intermediate, state. The common orange stamps of 1889-92 were printed from the Plate in State III.

The 1-Anna orange is a much scarcer stamp in unused condition than is usually believed. It is known used in 1884 and even in 1886, but not in the nineties like the following denomination. These late specimens may be merely stamps which happened to be used beyond their true period, or they may have formed part of a Re-issue. If any re-issue was, in fact, made, it must have been very small.

A printing is known which shews, beyond its right border, a simultaneous printing from the ½-Anna plate in State II. and, but for this, the plate-state of the ½-Anna orange stamps, would be still unknown. It will be noticed that the positions of the two plates have been transposed since the Srinagar printings in red, during which the ½-Anna plate-impressions was always on the left of the 1-Anna.

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Provisional (Leh)
The 1-Anna orange bisected diagonally and used as a ½-Anna.

A single example only is known of this rare provisional. The stamp, which is on an entire cover, originally in the collection of the writer of our Foreword, Sir Charles Stewart-Wilson, shews the postmark and obliteration (see “Postmarks”, types 8 and 9) of the British Post Office at Leh. The cover shews no year, but there can be no doubt but that the stamp was brought into existence by the same official authority which sanctioned the ½-Anna red diagonally-bisected provisional (also of Leh), in 1883, and for the same reason—a shortage of ½-Anna stamps.

The 2-Annas orange is, when unused, far less scarce than the 1-Anna, but its employment between 1881 and 1884 seems to have been small, though common to both Provinces. It is the first of the orange denominations of which any considerable re-issue was made. The earliest date for a re-issue occurs in December, 1888, and others are known during April 1889. The stamps were used to a considerable extent in the nineties.

The 4-Annas and 8-Annas orange were re-issued to at least as great an extent as the 2-Annas, but copies used with cancellations of their true original period are exceedingly rare, and a single specimen of the 4-Annas was all that could be referred to [of] the early period from the combined Masson and Séfi collections, this having been used in the Kashmir Province.

Although many types of 1891-1894 postmarks, indicative of legitimate use, are found on these Re-issues, a somewhat large proportion are those of the Hasora Post Office, and these occur, not only on single stamps, but on pairs and even complete sheets. This naturally suggests that some “cancelling-to-order” may have been done at this Post-Office, and we think it advisable to mention the fact. The Hasora postmarks, however, shew a variety of different dates and, for this and other reasons that we have already given, we are not disposed to offer any objection to 4-Annas and 8-Annas stamps which shew the postmarks of this Post Office.

► Chapter X.

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