[page 176]

Chapter X.

The New Rectangular Stamps (cont.)

III.  Issues of 1883-1894.

(Printed at Srinagar.)

(1)  The states of the plates.

From about April or May, 1883, until the closing of the Native Posts in 1894, printings were continued at Srinagar in colours other than red and orange, except for the ½-Anna and 2-Annas. All the five old plates were employed, while a new value was added by a sixth Plate of ⅛-Anna denomination, which remained, thoughout, in State I. All othe other plates continued, without further alteration, in State II., with the exception of the ½-Anna plate, which now entered its third and final state.

With regard to the latter, it is not yet known with absolute certainty, that the final change occurred at the exact date of the commencement of the new issues, though this would appear probable. The earliest known date for State III., as proved by marginal evidence, is February, 1884, so that printings from State III. were made during at least eleven of the twelve years of this issue. But we have found a very interesting stamp shewing a “late-intermediate” state of this plate. The stamp in question is Type 13 from the left bottom corner of the sheet, shewing the Control of 1881 on fine toned thin wove paper.

The stamp shews to its left centre the normal small marginal rivet of State II., but at the corner immediately beneath it, one of the very large rivets characteristic of State III. The stamp is on an entire cover, used from Jammu, and dated January, 1883, and discloses three points of considerable interest:—(1)  That the complete change to State III. must have practically coincided with the date of the issue under...

[page 177]
...consideration; (2)  that the change of State was, more or less, a gradual one and, (3)  that we have a definite indication of an unsuccessful attempt to fasten the plate more securely (in the absence of the three State I. rivets) before that object was attained by the full complement of the large rivets of State III. This last point, again supports our theory as to the treatment of the plates, and of this one in particular, on their return from Jammu.

We have also found a further interesting ½-Anna variety, also dated 1883. This is type 15 from the bottom right corner, and shews on its right margin a rivet-impression surrounded with a large white ring corresponding with those that surround all the large rivets of State III.

Now this particular rivet was replaced by another small one in State III, and the white ring could only have been printed owing to the plate having been bent at this point. This, coupled with the fact of the breaking away of the top margin, seems to indicate that considerable force must have been used during its first dis-bedding at Jammu, thus bringing about a variety of plate-states, following State I., caused by several attempts having been necessary at Srinagar, to make good the damage.

The Colours.

With the exception of an unaccountable late printing in watercolour from the Composite Plate, all stamps were printed in ordinary insoluble printers’ inks.

Red was retained for the ½-Anna and 2-Annas, the former being printed on normal, and the latter on special coloured papers. For other denominations the new colours were allotted as follows:

⅛-Anna—yellow.    ¼-Anna—brown. 1-Anna—green.
4-Annas—green. 8-Annas—blue.

Many shades occur in all values as might have been anticipated during nearly twelve years of employment. The shades of the 1-Anna are almost endless, but this is partly accounted for by the fading of some of the earlier greens, which were. possibly, of native manufacture.

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Collectors should note that the shades given in our list are only intended to convey a general idea of the principal colour-groups, and that these groups frequently include printings made at very different periods; but the frequency of small printings combined with the want of care in colour-matching and the overlapping of the papers, often makes it a matter of impossibility to assign, merely by colour, even a moderately accurate date in the case of single stamps, though this can very frequently be done by the postmarks or obliterations of used specimens. In cases where any particular colour is capable of proving a definite period, the fact will be indicated later, when dealing with individual stamps.

The Papers.

These have already been described in Chapter VIII, and their periods of use noted.

No useful purpose would be served by attempting a separate colour-classification for the first two of the three varieties of thin wove, i.e., Fine toned, Coarse toned, and Pure white since the same colour was frequently used with both, owing to their overlapping periods.

The remarkable fact that no stamp on the thin laid paper has yet been found with the laid lines vertical, has also been noted.

Our complete list of the ordinary issues of 1883-94 will be as follows:—

[pages 178-79]

The Issues of 1883-94.

The ⅛-Anna in State I.: ½-Anna in State III., and the remaining plates in State II. All stamps imperforate.

(a)  On toned thin wove1886⅛-Anna—Brownish-yellow to buff
⅛-Anna—Dull yellow
1883-94¼-Anna—Deep red-brown
½-Anna—Pale red
½-Anna—Venetian red
1883-891-Anna—Grey-green native pigment
1-Anna—Bistre to brown native pigment
1-Anna—Blue-green to greenish-yellow native
1890-941-Anna—Grey-green European pigment
1-Anna—Green European pigment
1-Anna—greenish-black European pigment
1883-944-Annas—Bright yellowish-green
4-Annas—Pale dull green
4-Annas—Deep bluish-green
1883-948-Annas—Deep blue
8-Annas—Dull blue
8-Annas—Dull violet blue
8-Annas—Bright ultramarine
(b)  On thicker wove    ?8-Annas—Slate to Indigo-black
1889?8-Annas—Greyish blue watercolour
(c)  “Pure white” thin wove1889-94⅛-Anna—Dull yellow
1889-94¼-Anna—Pale brown
1-Anna—Bright green
4-Annas—Bright green
1889-948-Annas—Pale blue
8-Annas—Bright blue
8-Annas—Pale bluish-slate
8-Annas—Greyish lilac
(d)  Thin creamy horiz. laid.1887-94⅛-Anna—Dull yellow
1889?8-Annas—Greyish blue watercolour
(e)  Semi-pelure wove1883-912-Annas—red on greenish-yellow paper
1884-932-Annas—red on yellow-green paper
1888-922-Annas—red on green paper
Dec 1889-922-Annas—orange-red on yellow paper
(f)  Thin coarse yellow wove1891-922-Annas—Dull orange-red

Plate of the ⅛-Anna.

The yellow stamps of this new denomination were printed on all the three varieties of thin wove paper—“coarse toned,” “fined toned,” and “pure white.” All of them are common unused, but scarce in used condition, particularly with...

[page 180]
...postmarks of earlier types than those of the unified series of December, 1890. The explanation, no doubt, lies in the fact that a single stamp was insufficient for any normal postal rate, and could only have been used on a postcard in prepayment of the half-rate privilege accorded to visitors.

It is curious to find Masson alluding to the rarity of the unused stamp, but we think this may be explained by the unattractive appearance of the earlier turmeric-stained printings leading to a very small demand from dealers and collectors. This, coupled with the similarly small demand for postal purposes, would account for the very large quantity of sheets that are known to have been included in the Remainder stock, and thus, for the present commonness of the unused stamp.

Most of the earlier “turmeric” printings were in shades varying from yellow-brown to buff, on rather coarse thin wove. In 1886 the turmeric ingredient was discarded, and a new shade of dull yellow appeared on the same paper. The latter shade was continued with the “pure white” paper of 1889. Some of this colour was largely fugitive, and stamps printed from it fade to a pale yellowish-grey.

Evans described some stamps which he received in November, 1886, as having been on white wove, but this must have been a pale toned paper; and he subsequently wrote that he first saw the “pure white” variety towards the end of 1889—a date which coincides with that which we have assigned for its first appearance.

Present catalogues, following Evans, give two shades for the stamps printed on the thin laid paper—“yellow” and “brownish-yellow.” These appear to be neither constant, nor to possess any chronological significance.

This value alone was never issued in black for Official purposes, though it is known in this colour as a Proof (?). There was, moreover, no change ever made from the original Plate-state, a circumstance which may be considered very natural, since this plate, alone, had never been sent to Jammu.

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The ¼-Anna.

The brown stamps from this plate were used to prepay the normal charge for postcards, and also for the visitors’ half-rate on letters.

They were printed on all three varieties of thin wove and also on thin laid.

Attention has been already drawn to the slight doubling of the lines of impressions, both in brown and in the official black, which commonly occurred in the late eighties. There is, in addition, a true and very striking doubly-printed brown stamp as well as two others in black, though none of these are yet known to have been issued for use.

Stamps on the thin laid paper shew some small varieties of shades which are not sufficiently important for separate classification with the exception of a chocolate shade which appears to be a late printing, and identical with one which is also found on the “pure white” variety of thin wove.

A late printing was made from the plate on the “pure white” wove in green. The stamps, which were never issued, will be mentioned later under “Stamps prepared for issue.” It has been supposed that these impressions were reprints, but they were known in Europe at least six months before printing ceased with the abolition of the Posts.

The ½-Anna.

The ½-Anna stamps were also printed on all three varieties of thin wove, and on the thin laid, in shades of red and orange.

Stamps, on the coarse variety of thin wove particularly, often appear with so blurred an impression as to arouse a suspicion that these are forgeries, and several of such impressions were actually noted in the Masson collection as forged. We believe, however, that the whole of these are perfectly genuine, and our view is founded on a long series of chronologically-arranged specimens which show that the plate was allowed to get into a thoroughly clogged condition. This was remedied by cleaning about 1889. From this period the “pure...

[page 182]
...white” paper also commenced, taking a much finer impression than either of the toned varieties.

The shades of red on the thin wove papers are almost endless and, in earlier printings, more or less dull; but vermilion stamps of 1887, orange of 1889-92, and rose of 1892 are all quite distinctive. A very striking variety in orange-red is printed with thickly applied pigment having a glazed surface—a combination which has also, on occasions, led to the conclusion that this stamp, too, was forged. It is, however, perfectly genuine, and was used, printed on the pure white paper, during 1890.

There can be no doubt but that increasingly large printings were being made, from 1883 onwards, not only to cope with the rapid growth of postal facilities generally, but also to form some sort of a reserve to meet emergencies. This is proved by the fact that old printings of the common ½-Anna stamps are frequently found used, in one Province or the other, side by side with printings of much later periods.

The Printing in Buff.

This printing should be allowed the catalogue rank which has, up to the present, been denied it.

It occurs on the “pure white” paper in shades of buff and orange-buff which have been variously described by Masson and others as “Cinnamon”, “Bistre”, etc. Masson described the stamp as an “error of colour” and his collection contained used specimens, on the strength of which he classified it as an issued stamp in “bistre.”

The reluctance to follow Evans and Masson appears to depend on an assertion that these stamps (together with an 8-Annas in greyish-lilac and the ¼-Anna green, both on the same white paper) had never been seen in Europe until after the abolition of the Native Posts in 1894; and that they were merely stamps from the Remainder stock which had been ‘prepared for use’, or that they were nothing better than ‘fancy impressions’.

The ½-Anna buff stamps are, however, a scarce abnormal issue of 1890-91. This particular shade was, to a...

[page 183]
...slight extent fugitive, and variations of shade occur even on the same sheet. “Buff” and “Orange-buff” represent the extremes of these shades in unused stamps, used copies being greyer by comparison. The many closely-allied shades found used during the two years in question, negative the idea of a definite “Error of Colour”.

The ½-Anna on on thin laid paper has, hitherto, been classified in two shades—orange-red and vermilion. The latter should be discarded.

A comparison of some hundreds of these stamps has failed to produce a single copy in a true vermilion, the colour always shewing some degree of orange. Such variations as do occur are confined to no particular period (apart from an exceptionally deep shade of 1894), but appear, irregularly, through the entire seven years of issue.

The ½-Anna stamps in grey-blue on coarse thin wove, and in bright blue on the “pure white” paper, were never issued, though possibly prepared for use.

The 1-Anna.

For reasons already given, we shall not attempt to classify the endless shades of green which occur with these stamps on all three of the thin wove papers.

The earliest printings were made in soft shades of yellow-green, grey-green, olive-green, and even in bistre and brown. Somewhat later printings were made from two blue-green pigments of which only one was stable. The other was so highly fugitive in respect of the blue ingredient, that it is now rare to find any stamp in a colour even approaching that of the original one. The present appearance of badly-faded impressions is that of a dingy yellow. When seen through a lens, specks of the fugitive blue can still be seen and, in these respects, the colour exactly resembles that of the oil-green pigment used in Jammu for the circular stamps of 1877-78. The whole of this group was printed in inks of native manufacture, and it would be hardly any exaggeration to say that it is...

[page 184]
...scarcely possible to find two stamps (apart from unused blocks or sheets) which could be matched exactly in any particular shade of colour.

Stamps printed on the “pure white” paper from 1889 onwards are far less variable. The colours are harsher, non-fugitive, and certainly of European manufacture.

All printings shew a much greater proportion of specimens cancelled in pen-and-ink than occur in any other value. Such cancellations almost invariably denote fiscal employment, which was not the case with the Circulars and Old Rectangulars.

The stamp on the thin laid paper is in a distinctly greyish-green shade. Evans described the colour as “deep green”, but specially noted that he had never seen the stamp. It is, indeed, very scarce, but at one time it held a place among the great rarities of the New Rectangulars. A small number of used copies, however, appeared shortly after the abolition of the Posts in 1894. Father Simons, who had the Remainders for sale, specially advertised a complete used sheet of these stamps, as one of his two great rarities.

The stamps were of extreme rarity unused and until 1931 we knew of one example only. In July, 1931, however, we discovered two identical uncut and unused sheets in the accumulation formed by the late W.S. Lincoln. Some copies are known pen-cancelled for fiscal purposes, and as such cancellations could very easily be removed, collectors should acquire “unused” specimens with caution.

The 4-Annas.

In order to avoid breaking the continuity of the normal papers, we pass over the 2-Annas stamps for the moment.

The 4-Annas stamps were printed on all three varieties of the thin wove paper only. A deep green printing on the coarse paper is very distinctive, but, apart from this, the shades shew a rather less than normal degree of variation.

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Printings were, of course, from the upper half only of the Composite Plate. The inking of this portion normally extended to about the middle of the blank spaces which divided the two denominations, but in the earliest printings ceased at the bottom of the lower row of stamp impressions, the blank spaces being un-inked.

The 4-Annas green on thin laid should be removed from our catalogues. There is no authentic record whatever that this has ever been seen in used condition. There can, we think, be no question but that Masson was responsible for its catalogue rank, as he had been for that of the 4-Annas and 8-Annas black on ordinary laid paper. Evans, admittedly, classified it as an issued stamp, but only on the strength of Masson’s assertion (“Ph. J. India,” Vol. II, p. 52) that he had “undoubted specimens.” Masson’s specimens of all three varieties mentioned above consisted of pen-cancelled sheets which Stuart Godfrey had obtained from the engraver’s specimen book; but as neither his collection, nor any other known to us, could shew a used copy of the 4-Annas green on thin laid, the stamp should be removed from the catalogue lists, as were the black stamps on ordinary laid a number of years ago.

There seems to be no reason why this stamp should not have been printed on thin laid, but we shall now prove, what is contrary to all pre-conceived opinions, that no normal (blue) printing on this paper was ever made from the lower (8-Annas) part of the Composite Plate on this paper either.

The 8-Annas.

The 8-Annas blue is found in several varieties of unusual interest. It was not only printed in normal printer’s ink on all three of the thin wove papers, but, when in some very unusual shades varying from slate to indigo-black, also on a fourth and much thicker variety which was, apparently, used for no other New Rectangular stamp. The stamp printed on the pure white paper in greyish-lilac was certainly issued and used in 1893-94. It was condemned by Evans as a ‘fancy impression,’ on the grounds that it had not been seen in Europe until after 1894.

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The Watercolour Printing.
(a)  On Thin Wove Paper.

Printings in greyish-blue were made about 1889 or 1890 in true soluble watercolour. Masson was unaware of the nature of this pigment, though his collection contained several used examples both on thin wove and thin laid. Printings must have been fairly considerable, for the stamps, though rare, have been found used in 1891, 1892 and 1893. The stamps were used both in Kashmir and Jammu, but not, so far as is known, from Leh. Used and unused specimens occur in about equal numbers, usually more or less discoloured by the action of moisture. We have recently discovered, in the Beckton Collection, a rare uncut mint sheet on thin wove paper, with the original shade quite undisturbed by such discolouration. The paper is toned and of medium texture intermediate between the “fine” and “very coarse” varieties.

(b)  On Thin Laid Paper.

The most remarkable point about the watercolour on this paper is that they are the only ones ever made in blue from the 8-Annas plate on this paper. In spite of the fact that thin laid was in use for seven of the twelve years during which this value was printed in blue, we have never yet found a copy on the thin laid printed in any normal “printer’s ink”; and until such a copy is found, the stamp should be removed from its place in our catalogues, and receive separate classification.

The thin laid stamps appear to be rather rarer than those in watercolour on thin wove when unused, and less rare when used; complete sheets, used for Parcels Post, have been found. We have only seen a single specimen used before the postmarks-unification of December 1890.

The 2-Annas.

A stamp on a coarse, but green, paper will be found in our chapter on Proofs, with some notes about its special features.

The previously catalogued stamp on thin laid yellow...

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...paper is now omitted for reasons that we have stated in Chapter IX.

The stamp on yellow-green paper is known divided into four, and one of the quarters used as a ½-Anna stamp. This curiosity was found among a large quantity of common stamps, but, though almost certainly genuine, cannot be allowed specific rank in view of Masson’s statement that all such bisections were officially prohibited after the Leh Provisionals of 1883.

► Chapter XI.

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