[page 188]

Chapter XI.

The Black Official Stamps of the
New Rectangulars.


(A.) The Jammu Printings. 1878-80.

(All plates in State I.)


(i.)  Laid paper.½-Anna—Black perf., Sept., 1878
¼-Anna—Black
½-Anna—Black
1-Anna—Black
2-Anna—Black
(ii.)  Wove paper.1-Anna—Black
(iii.)  Thin toned wove papers.½-Anna—Black
1-Anna—Black


None of these stamps are known used in the Kashmir Province, but only with the square black seal of Jammu. As this obliteration ceased in June, 1879, it follows that every stamp with this obliteration must—if our conclusions are correct—be Jammu-printed.

No printings in black were ever made from the Composite 4+8-Annas plate when in its first state.

Up to the present, no Official stamps except the 1-Anna have been found printed on the ordinary wove paper of 1879. There seems to be no apparent reason why this paper was not more freely employed, but the small demand, at this early period, for Official stamps, may account for the fact, owing to the first printings on laid having outlasted the wove period.

[page 189]
The Jammu-printed stamps on thin wove paper can only be distinguished from those produced later at Srinagar when shewing marginal evidence of State I. of the two plates. The only examples known to us are on the “toned” and not the earliest “bluish” variety, and were, therefore, probably not printed until late in 1879, or early in 1880.


The Perforated ½-Anna. (Plate 34).

This is an addition to our catalogues, and depends on two copies, both on entires and both from the Masson collection. The obliterations on the stamps are from the “square black seal” of Jammu.



The earlier of the two is dated 3rd September, 1878—some four months after normal printings had commenced—and the later one 25th October, the year not given but almost certainly 1878 also. Masson noted these two covers as having been examined by Evans.

We find that a short controversy appeared in 1897 “Ph. J. Ind.”, Vol. 1)—in which Masson’s original record of these stamps as perforated “Officials” was called in question by Evans, who suggested that they were very dark blue stamps forming part of the “slate” issue made to the general public in 1878. On page 301 of the same volume, Evans’ views were supported by a correspondent—F. Gleadow—who wrote—“We must expect all kinds of queer colours...as they are caused not only by differences in the ink used for different batches, but also by using the same plate for several colours without cleaning it properly between times.”

There can be no doubt but that Mr. Gleadow’s facts were correct, though leading him to incorrect conclusions. The Masson perforated stamps are printed in pure black and belong, therefore, to the Official group: and they would be none the less Official stamps even if (which is not the case), they had shown some trace of “slate-blue” from a previous printing made in that colour. Masson, moreover, very justly enquired whether the authorities would have been in the least likely to deny, to their postal Officials, facilities which they had accorded to the general public.

[page 190]

(B) The Black Srinagar Printings
(1881-1894)

With the exception of the ⅛-Anna, all denominations were produced in black at Srinagar. No ⅛-Anna black stamps were ever issued. The fact is not one to cause surprise, for a single stamp of this denomination was only capable of being used on postcards for the half-rate allowed to visitors resident in Kashmir, and no such privilege would have been likely to have been extended to Postal Officials.

Printings were made on all the normal papers of the period, viz., thin toned wove (coarse and fine), thin “pure white” wove, and thin laid. An abnormal ¼-Anna printing was also made on stout white wove at a comparatively late date.

With the toned wove papers printings were made from the ½-Anna plate in both States—II. and III., but with the “pure white” variety and the thin laid in State III. only. All other plates were in State II. throughout, and produced stamps on every paper except the stout white wove.

All denominations are common on the thin wove papers, both unused and used with the 3-circle postmarks of December 1890; but postmarks of 1881-89 are only so very occasionally found that the employment of Official stamps must, at first, have been small.

Taking the stamps in order of their denominations—


The ¼-Anna.

Instances of double-printing, previously noted as having occurred with this denomination in brown, are found with the black printings.

We find that this occurred at least twice, as proved by the relatively different positions occupied by the second of the two impressions. In each case it must be presumed that a single sheet only was printed, and the differences are as follows:—

 (a)  A secondary impression is 2mm. above, and 2 mm. to left of the primary one.

 (b)  The secondary impressions are ½ mm. below and 1 mm. to left of the primary ones.

[page 191]
The primary impressions appear in deep black, and the secondary in a somewhat paler shade.


On Stout White Wove Paper.

These ¼-Anna stamps are rare and new to our lists. The paper, which is entirely abnormal for any date after 1880, is hard, very smooth and white, and quite unlike any used for the ordinary stamps of 1879-80 printed at Jammu.

The date of this curious issue appears to lie between 1887 and 1890, judging by the obliterations which have, so far, been found on the stamps, and which appear to be exclusively those of the Jammu Province, and of the type shewn by Fig. 28 of our illustrations [i.e., of the Sialkot duplex, ed.].


On Thin Laid Paper.

The ¼-Anna is noticeably scarce on this paper, probably owing to the fact that single stamps, being only available for postcards or for the visitors’ half-rate on letters, would be little in demand for Official purposes. Used specimens are very rare.


Thin Wove Papers.

Official stamps on the “pure white” paper are normally far more common than those on the toned varieties, but in the case of the ¼-Anna alone, are very considerably rarer. It must be supposed that by 1889, when the first “pure white” paper was issued, it had been realised that this denomination was scarcely required for Official purposes, and that very few late printings of this stamp were, consequently, made.

Masson noted, as an “Error of Colour,” a ¼-Anna stamp on thin wove printed in “Bronze-green” instead of in black. We have, however, found this variety in several denominations, including two from a simultaneous two-plate printing. The colour is sometimes very distinctive, particularly at the backs of the stamps, but is probably due to nothing more than an accidental shade created by mixing the black pigment in some receptacle which had previously contained the green used for the 1-Anna or 4-Annas stamps. We do not consider this shade as entitled to specific rank as an “Error of Colour.”

[page 192]

The ½-Anna.

This denomination was by far more largely used for Official purposes than any other, as it had been with the ordinary stamps for the public Services.


Thin Wove Papers.

The “pure white” variety of 1889-94 is far more commonly found with this value than either of the others, and very extensive printings must have been made during this period: It would scarcely be an exaggeration to suggest that the number of ½-Anna stamps on thin wove papers printed in black could have fallen but little short of those printed in colour for the public. No better proof of the enormous growth of the postal system of the State could be evidenced than by this remarkable extension for purely Official purposes. The pronounced scarcity of all Official stamps, on thin wove, used on postal covers, certainly supports a presumption of very considerable employment on telegrams.

We have also to note the curious circumstances of a black impression from this plate shewing the lower portion actually overprinted with the border of either the 1-Anna or 2-Annas plate. The plate, at the time of printing, was then in State II., and the period, therefore, one at which it was undergoing various repairs owing to injuries caused by dis-bedding at Jammu. The “overprint” could not, obviously, have occurred in process of “simultaneous printing”, and was probably brought about in order to supply some small demand for ½-Anna and 1-Anna (or 2-Annas) stamps by taking separate impressions on the same paper from widely separated plates. It appears to us by no means unlikely that the difficulty of doing this was the ultimate cause of the beds of all plates being made only slightly larger than the actual plates, so that they could be moved easily from place to place, and thus render simultaneous printing feasible.

A curious black printing from the ½-Anna plate in State II. is known in which four plate-impressions are placed on the foolscap sheet, two (diagonally) on one side of the paper, and two (in the unprinted spaces) on the other.

[page 193]
We are quite unable to suggest any possible explanation of such a printing-method.


Thin Laid Paper.

The ½-Anna black on the rough and pale yellowish variety of this paper, used (with the Control of 1888) for some of the Official Forgeries, has been previously referred to. The black stamps on this paper have not been found used.

Stamps on the normal smooth creamy laid are comparatively common, but, in genuinely used condition, are very rarely found.


The 1-Anna.

This value is common on all varieties of thin wove paper. It occurs on two varieties of thin laid, one of which is almost pure white by contrast with the normal creamy variety. Genuinely used copies on either are far rarer than is usually believed. Some of the creamy variety is rather abnormally thick, and Masson classified a sheet of the latter, in his collection, as being on the ordinary laid paper of 1878-80. This sheet is, however, in State II., and the classification, therefore, a mistaken one. Masson could only shew two covers in his collection with these common 1-Anna stamps on thin wove. Neither cover was endorsed with the small red private mark which he was in the habit of adding when he had made a thorough examination; and in both cases the stamps, on removal, proved to have postmarks beneath them and therefore to have been fraudulently added at a later period.


The 2-Annas.

On thin laid paper this stamp is rare and, in used condition, almost unknown. We recently found four copies all used with the “3-circle” postmarks of 1890-94, among a large quantity of the common stamps on thin wove, but, apart from those, we have no record of a used specimen in any other collection. Both the “white” and “creamy” varieties of this paper, however, occur with this, as with the 1-Anna denomination. Masson classified a stamp on cover, in his collection, as on this paper but, on removal, it proved to be on thin wove only. This denomination is curiously...

[page 194]
...scarce on the coarse-toned variety of the last-named paper, particularly in used condition.


The 4-Annas.

On thin laid paper this is a rare stamp unused, and still more so in used condition. It is much more frequently found than the 2-Annas on similar paper. The Masson collection contained a complete sheet used for parcels postage.

A variety of State II. occurs with stamps printed on the “pure white” thin wove of 1889-94 in which a flaw developed on the upper margin of Type 4—the top right impression on the sheet. This flaw obliterates all the white “perforation dots” from the centre of the upper row to the screw-head at the corner.


The 8-Annas.

This stamp on thin laid is somewhat undervalued by present catalogues. In used condition it is at least as rare as the 4-Annas on this paper, and almost as scarce unused.

We conclude these notes on the New Rectangular Officials with a brief word to our younger collectors.

Even at the present day complete sheets of all values in black on thin wove paper are procurable for a few shillings apiece. Since all plates were separately engraved, no two stamps are identical in their details, and a set of all values would be composed of no fewer than eighty-six distinct engravings, the details of which are perfectly reproduced owing to the black ink employed. An opportunity is, therefore, presented, such as could scarcely be found in connection with the stamps of any other country, for the study and reconstruction of hand-engraved plates at small expense.

[page 195]

Chapter XII.

Proofs and Allied Impressions of the
New Rectangulars.

Having now traced the issued stamps through their varieties of printing establishments, plate-states and papers, it will be a comparatively simple matter to deal with the Proofs and allied impressions which appeared, at various periods, both before and during the issues of the stamps themselves. Classification of these impressions, which do not include essays since none are known, resolves itself into three clearly-defined groups:—

 I.  Impressions which, pre-dating issues, were taken from the Plates in their earliest states. These are few in number, and are of the highest philatelic importance. It must, of course, be understood that, since all subjects on each plate were separately hand-engraved, no question of “die” or “die-proof” arises. With this reservation, the impressions in this group may be considered as “Plate-proofs” in the sense that the merit of the plate itself was the subject of the test. It is, we think probable that these proofs were made at Srinagar prior to the plates and perforating machines being despatched to Jammu.

 II.  Impressions which, having once again been taken from later states of the plates, could not have pre-dated the first of the stamp issues, but which differ, in essential particulars, from any issued stamp. These represent either paper or colour trials and with them are included a few which are believed to be those of “stamps prepared for use, but not issued.” The whole of this group were printed at Srinagar.

[page 196]
 III.  Impressions which, though closely related to those in the preceding group, would, in single copies, be indistinguishable from issued stamps, and which are only of interest in having been filed for reference by the State Engraver. These were also printed at Srinagar.

The first and third of these groups, together with a considerable portion of the second, were composed of sheets originally obtained by Stuart Godfrey, then the British Assistant Resident at Srinagar, from the specimen-book of Rahat Ju who engraved the plates.

Masson attributed equal importance to each of these three groups or, at least, to all of the Godfrey impressions, without appreciating the philatelic importance of the different Plate-states; and it was this want of appreciation which led him to describe as issued stamps of early periods, impressions which had not, in fact, been issued and which, by the nature of the plate-state, could not possibly have been produced at such early dates.

We shall now discuss these Groups in detail, and with special reference to the relative philatelic importance attaching to the impressions found in each of them.

Group I.
1878(?)  Printed at Srinagar in black watercolour. Plates in State I.

½-Anna—blackthin bluish woverough perf. 10-12
1-Anna—blackthin laid bâtonnérough perf. 13-16
2-Annas—black
' '
' '



Plate 35: Unique ½-Annas proof sheet in watercolour-black, perf. 10-12


[Detail of] unique 2-Annas proof sheet in watercolour-black, perf. 13-16, Hellrigl collection.

These three proofs are of higher philatelic importance than any others of the New Rectangulars, and they are only known from the three complete sheets, one of each denomination, obtained direct from the engraver by Stuart Godfrey in 1898, and transferred, by him, to the Masson collection. They, alone, of the Godfrey sheets, pre-dated the first New Rectangular...

[page 197]
...issue, and are also the only ones which had not been cancelled in any way. The impressions, being in black, bear a superficial resemblance to the Official black stamps from which they differ essentially, apart from considerations of papers and perforations, in being printed in true soluble watercolour—a fact which escaped Masson’s notice.

The thin bluish wove paper of the ½-Anna proof appears to be identical with the first paper of the issued stamps. The bâtonné paper of the 1-Anna and 2-Annas is soft and heavily meshed, differing greatly from the bâtonné used for stamps by Jammu. Such paper was purchasable in the open market and was freely used for Kashmir stationery. Its employment for the 1-Anna and 2-Annas proofs may have been due to a desire to economise the adopted “thin wove” or, possibly to improve on it, after taking the ½-Anna impression.

These Srinagar-printed impressions are the only proofs known, for certain, to have been taken from any of the plates of 1878 in their first states.


Group II.
(Printed at Srinagar—Plates in later States).

The impressions placed in this group all shew essential differences—apart from those of plate-state—from those of issued stamps, either in respect of colour, or of paper, or both.

Owing to the plates being now in later states, impressions from them could not have pre-dated the original New Rectangular issue, and would, for this reason, be of less philatelic importance than the perforated black proofs of Group I., if produced under normal conditions.

But it must be remembered that the conditions had been anything but normal, and the philatelic importance of these impressions is considerable.

A proof, pre-dating issue, is taken from a plate in order to ascertain whether the impressions from it are satisfactory, and suitable for stamp-production; and in such a case the trial is largely a matter of testing the work of the engraver.

These later Srinagar proofs made no such test of engraving, since this had already been proved (except in the case of the...

[page 198]
...⅛-Anna plate) by two years of printing at Jammu. But they may have been, and most probably were, struck in order to test the printing qualities of the plates after removal at Jammu and rebedding at Srinagar; and to this extent they must be considered not only as true proofs, but proofs of exceptional interest.

Notice has to be taken of the fact that some of the Godfrey sheets are on ordinary laid paper. The absence of such paper at Srinagar has been put forward by us as one of our reasons for drawing a distinction between printings of Srinagar and Jammu, and the fact may seem to weaken our theory. But an explanation may well be that Jammu returned a surplus of this paper, together with the plates, when it became aware that all future printings would be carried on at Srinagar. None of the Godfrey sheets on ordinary laid paper shew any type of watermark.

In the lists which follow, all impressions are to be understood as having been obtained by Stuart Godfrey in uncut sheets from the engraver’s book unless the contrary is stated. All such sheets shew M.S. pen-cancellations over the impressions.

(A.)  Printed on Native Paper.
¼-Anna—Red.
½-Anna—Red  :  blue  :  dull yellow-green.
4-Annas—Green.

In this section the plate-states are unknown except that of the 4-Annas, which is State II., from which we infer the later states of the two other plates, and the consequent Srinagar-printing of all. None of these impressions were obtained from the Engraver’s book, and it would seem unlikely that they were prepared with a view to their issue as stamps.

The ¼-Anna red is comparatively old and well-known impression. It is scarce, but we have seen a few copies including a block of four in the Beckton Collection.

The ½-Anna red is probably much rarer. It has been recorded on several occasions, and a complete sheet was offered...

[page 199]
...for sale, in 1900, by Father Simons. There can be no question but that this particular sheet was absolutely genuine. Should it be still in existence, a record of its plate-state would be of great interest.

The ½-Anna both in blue and in yellow-green are exceedingly rare. The green impression appears to have been printed in a highly fugitive pigment similar to that employed for the 1-Anna stamp of 1883 in which the blue ingredient, having disappeared, only a dull olive-yellow remained. Both proofs have only been very recently discovered, and in neither is the Plate-state disclosed.

The 4-Annas green is also a recently-discovered proof; and was unknown to Masson or Evans. We have only seen a single example, this being Type 5 on the plate and, having full outer margins, shews the impression of the left-central screw-head characteristic of State II.

(B.)  (i)  On Laid Paper. (Plates in State II.)
¼-Anna—Brown  :  Black.
4-Annas—Green
4-Annas + 8 Annas—Black

(ii)  On Very Thick White Laid Paper.
4-Anna—Green.

None of the above were ever issued. The 4-Annas + 8-Annas black from the Engraver’s book were a complete unsevered impression from the Composite Plate, this sheet being the one which, on the strength of Masson’s record, was the cause of such varieties having, at one time, appeared in stamp catalogues. It seems very possible that, as there are two very distinct qualities of the laid paper shewing the 4-Annas green, Masson’s record of these may also have caused the introduction into catalogues of the 4-Annas green on thin laid paper of 1887—a stamp which we have previously decided to reject.

Neither of these laid papers shew any trace of watermark such as characterised much of the laid paper used by Jammu from 1877 to 1880, or for the earliest New Rectangular stamps.

[page 200]

(C.)  On Fine Toned Thin Wove Paper. Watercolour.
8-Annas—Greenish blue.

This is the only watercolour proof among the Godfrey sheets, apart from those printed in black and perforated.

The proof is only separable from those issued stamps which were printed in watercolour on similar paper by its colour, which is rather deeper and with more greenish hue. The plate is in State II.

(D.)  On Coarse Toned Thin Wove Paper.
½-Anna—Greyish-blue (S III.).
8-Annas—Reddish-brown (S II.).

Copies of these were not in the Engraver’s book, and they are probably “stamps prepared for issue” found among the Remainders. Both are also known overprinted “CANCELLED” in red in sans-serif capitals, the overprint measuring 20 mm. inclusive of stop.

The ½-Anna occurs in more than one shade of colour suggesting two or more printings, and it has also been found with bogus obliterations.

The 8-Annas is rare and is now recorded for the first time.

(E.)  On “Pure White” Thin Wove Paper.
⅛-Anna—Black (S I.)
¼-Anna—Green (S II.)
½-Anna—Bright-blue (S III).

These impressions, being on a paper that only appeared in 1889, could have no relation with any plate-trials which may have occurred at Srinagar in 1880-81. Copies of none of them were in the Engraver’s book.

The ⅛-Anna is only known from a single copy. This is overprinted “CANCELLED” in red. Nothing is known of its history, and it has not been previously recorded.

The remaining impressions, ¼-Anna and ½-Anna are more or less scarce and their status doubtful. Evans was inclined to treat the ¼-Anna green, as a “fancy impression,” while seeing no reason to suppose that the ½-Anna blue might not have been a stamp “prepared for issue.”

[page 201]
We have seen no authentic used copy of either. Until more is known, we think that they may be classified as “Stamps prepared for use but not issued.” As regards the ⅛-Anna, we have already given reasons why this could not have been prepared for Official use, and it must therefore be considered as a proof or other trial. Its extreme rarity negatives any idea of its having been produced for sale to collectors.

(F.)  On Coarse Green Thin Wove Paper.
2-Annas—Deep red.

This proof is known from a single uncut sheet which was placed, in the Masson collection, among the issued stamps on the green pelure paper. The sheet is uncancelled and is not one of those obtained by Stuart Godfrey.

The paper is very similar in texture to that of the coarse yellow paper of the late issued stamps and, but for one circumstance, the impressions mught have been considered as “Stamps prepared for issue”, particularly as the preceding pelure paper had also been green.

The proof-sheet, however, shews the impressions of the two lower screw-heads to be as clear and sharply defined as in the orange-printings of 1881; whereas these, during the period of the coarse yellow paper and for some years previously, had shewn the screw-heads surrounded by large white rings cause by curvature of the plate at these points.

The inference appears to be that the sheet represents a paper or colour-trial made about 1882 prior to the change, in 1883, from merely toned to definitely coloured papers for this particular denomination.


Group III.

Impressions indistinguishable from issued stamps, but recorded as having been obtained by Stuart Godfrey from the Engraver’s book.

(A.)  On Laid Paper.  (Unwatermarked)
½-Anna—Vermilion.
2-Annas—Orange-red  :  Black.

[page 202]

(B.)  On Thin Laid Paper.
⅛-Anna—Dull yellow.
¼-Anna—Brown  :  Black.
½-Anna—Black.
1-Anna—Greyish green  :  Black.
2-Annas—Black.
4+8-Anna—Black.

(C.)  On Yellow Pelure Paper.
2-Annas—Orange-red.

There is little to be noted as to these impressions. All are in complete sheets with pen-and-ink cancellations, and all plates are in their latest states.

The large proportion of sheets on the thin laid paper of 1887 is, perhaps, noteworthy, when coupled with the fact that there are no printings on the “pure white” thin wove of 1889-94. This combination certainly suggests that the printings were made at some intermediate period of the stamp-issues, while proving that they could have had no connection with any plate-tests which may have been made at Srinagar on their return from Jammu in 1880.

The 2-Annas on laid paper shews, in both colours, the large white rings around the two lower screw heads, and the ½-Anna on this paper also shews indications of a late printing. We should be inclined to date these proofs at about 1885 or later.

The proofs on thin laid must have been produced after 1886, and the 2-Annas on yellow pelure paper after 1888.


Defacement of Dies and Plates.

In February 1898, a little more than three years after the Native issues of every description had become obsolete, the Dies and Plates which had produced them were Officially defaced and, thereby, rendered incapable of reprinting.

The ½-Anna single-die of the Kashmir Province was, for some reason unknown, not included among those submitted for defacement.

The dies of the Telegraph stamps, also, were not...

[page 203]
...defaced since, as previously pointed out, the Imperial authorities took control, in 1894, of the postal administration only.

The second plate of the ¼-Anna (unissued type) was, however, included with the others, and this circumstance, as we have also mentioned, provides strong presumptive evidence that it had originally been prepared under official authority. The die of the postcard was also defaced.

It is, of course, well known that Stuart Godfrey had been responsible for the defacements of the dies of Poonch. Godfrey, who was, at this period, not only the First Assistant at the British Residency at Srinagar, but also British Joint Commissioner in Ladakh and Settlement Commissioner in Jammu and Kashmir and, therefore, in close touch with the Provincial Governors, has provided us with the following information respecting the Kashmir defacements.

The defacements of both Poonch and Kashmir were carried out for two reasons—(1)  To protect the State revenues (and, no doubt, in view of what had occurred in connection with the Remainders, the State credit also) and, (2)  To protect the public against fraud arising from unauthorised reproduction. Consent to both defacements was asked for by the Officials of the British Residency, both from the Maharaja of Kashmir and the Rajah of Poonch, and this was at once granted. The Provincial Governors and State Officials attended both defacements; while Sir David Masson and Sir Charles Stewart-Wilson were invited, as representative of philatelists, to attend (unofficially) at the Kashmir function which was carried out at Jammu.

No special printings, such as were made a year later, from the dies of Poonch, were taken before defacement; but a limited number of impressions (said to have been ten only), were taken from each defaced die and plate.

These printings were in black insoluble ink on a rather soft and slightly toned wove paper of two distinct thicknesses—medium and stout—the majority being on the former.

One of these impressions, from the 1-Anna New...

[page 204]
...Rectangular Plate, which was in the Masson Collection, shews, on the back, a pencil note—“Printed on white Sialkot paper in green, grey, red, blue-grey, orange, etc.” The handwriting is not Masson’s, and there is no evidence whatever that any of the official “Proofs of Defacement,” if we may coin such a term, were ever taken except in black.

Impressions in colour, from the defaced dies, are, however, now known. Our attention was drawn to four of these in the Yardley Collection, on the occasion of its exhibition before the Royal Philatelic Society in May, 1932, printed in the bright violet from each of the three Circular Dies and from the 4-Annas single-die of Kashmir, but on a very thin white laid paper quite unlike any of that employed for the Official black impressions.

Mr. Yardley informed us that these had been obtained from a collection which was, apparently, of an official nature and formed at a comparatively late period; and that, in his opinion, they had been produced at some later date than the black prints of 1898. With this opinion we entirely concur. We have in our possession the original sheets of postmarks made up by Masson for illustrations in Part II. of his book. Some of these postmarks were undoubtedly specially struck for him from the old dies, so as to give clear impressions, and it may be that the Yardley specimens were struck at the same time to assist Masson with his illustrations which were published in 1901. Masson’s work did not, however, illustrate any of the defacements, and these violet impressions may well have been taken, for some unknown purpose, at a still later period.

[page 205]

Chapter XIII.

The State Postcards.
1883-1894.

The first postcards used in Jammu-Kashmir were, as previously noted, those of British India issued in 1880 at Srinagar. Three years later, State Postcards of native design appeared.

A dozen lines in Masson’s Handbook (Part II., p. 24) sufficed for all the information which he was able to provide, since he made no collection of these cards. The only collection of the native postcards which we have been able to trace was made by Major Evans, and the greater part of this we have been fortunate enough to obtain, together with a considerable amount of further material. Evans published, in 1903 (“Ph. J. India,” Vol. VII., pp. 56-59) some stray notes on dates and papers, supplementary to those published by Masson. Beyond these two publications there appears to have been nothing written on the subject.

The native card would, when used within the State territory, ensure that the revenue was obtained by the Maharaja; and similar results were obtained, in cases where Imperial cards were to be transmitted beyond the frontier, by the addition of the native ¼-Anna adhesive stamp. It may be doubted whether the native cards could have also travelled beyond the frontier if accompanied by a ¼-Anna stamp of British India, as had been the practice with letters, and we have never seen one so used. The half-rate allowed on letters to visitors was extended to the postcards and, for this, the new ⅛-Anna adhesive was specially prepared and issued in 1883. All native cards had a ¼-Anna denomination.

[page 206]

The Design.

The design included a crude impressed “stamp” in the right upper corner, and two rows of native inscriptions, the centre of the upper one being reserved for the usual emblematic “Sun”.

The “stamp”, which was copied in the following year for the first Telegraph stamps, consists of a central shield surmounted by a half-length allegorical figure having, for a head, a repetition of the “Sun”. On either side of the shield are soldier-supporters and, beneath it, a scroll which contains no inscription. The denomination (¼-Anna), appears in very small characters at either side of the diamond-shaped ornament over the centre of the bottom frame-line.


The Inscriptions.

The inscriptions are in Dogra characters. These inscriptions, literally translated, read

Upper line—“Postcard: the Dominion——of Jammu Kashmir,”
Lower line—“On this side except—the address—do not write anything.”

The last five characters of the lower inscription were moveable, and have been found occupying three different positions, giving three distinct “Settings” which we may call “Low,” “High,” and “Level” respectively.

The Settings of the Inscriptions.

Setting I. (Low). The tops of the five right characters in the lower line are lower than the two short horizontal lines above the last two characters of the right group. (Plate 47, fig. 1).

Setting II. (High). The alignment of the whole of the five right characters is high in relation to the remainder of the lower line. (Plate 47, fig. 2).

Setting III. (Level). The tops of the right group are level with the two short horizontal lines. (Plate 47, fig. 3).

Plate 47

Plate-states—“A” and “B”

At a comparatively late period—the earliest known date being 11 January 1891—a large circular flaw appeared...

[page 207]
...beneath the left edge of the central “Sun” constituting State B. (Plate 47, fig. 4).

The original low setting (I.) had, at about this period, been replaced by Settings II. and III. for a brief period, and both of the new Settings were without the flaw. (State “A”). A return was then made, coinciding with the appearance of the flaw to Setting I.

The plate, therefore, and four distinctive phases—Settings I., II., and III., all in State A; and Setting I. (so-called) in State B.

The postcard-plate was officially defaced, together with the dies and plates of the postage stamps, in February 1898. (Plate 46, fig. 2).

Plate 46, Fig. 2

Printings were made in shades of red and orange and, as these coincide in periods with similar shades of the ½-Anna postage-stamp, the same inks were, doubtless, employed for both.

The card was also printed in black, presumably for Official use. Evans stated that this was never heard of in Europe until 1895 (the year following that in which the Native Posts ceased), and that 1,000 copies had been listed in the stock of Remainders. There is no record of a used copy having ever been seen, and the Offical card should, as Evans expressed the hope that it might, be classified as “prepared for use, but not issued.”

The Native cards appeared on various qualities and sizes of paper, the sizes varying from about 5½in. × 5¾in. to 4in. × 3½in. The earlier ones were roughly cut by hand and, later, according to Masson, by a guillotine machine. Evans noted, in addition to ¼-Anna red on white laid of November, 1883, that “stout azure laid” appeared about a year later; that this was superseded in 1887 by thick white wove; that a record, made in 1888, of a “very pale buff” card probably referred to the same thick wove, and lastly, that in 1890 a printing had been made on the same paper in orange. It will be possible for us to follow Evans by discussing these varieties in the order given, though not to the extent of allowing that any one paper...

[page 208]
...superseded another. Some of the earliest cards were in use up to a few months before the closing of the Posts and the papers, generally, overlapped each other in the same indiscriminate manner in which those of the postage-stamps had done.

The great majority of used cards shew the “3-circle” unified type of postmarks, proving that, though introduced in 1883, the employment of postcards did not become at all extensive until after 1890.

(a)  The Laid Papers.

The white (or cream) laid of 1883, and the bluish (“azure”) laid of 1884 frequently shew portions of sheet watermarks, which never occur with the later wove papers. Some of these watermarks shew portions of scroll-work, and others double-lined Roman capitals and figures, of which some composed the inscription “CHARLES and THOMAS—LONDON—? 1880.” Full sheets of these papers must have been of considerable size, since many cards shew no part of the watermark, and others small portions only. Printings on the laid papers were all from Setting I. and State A. They were normally in shades of dull red, but a rare printing is known in bright orange-red used with a type of obliteration in use prior to 1889. The bluish cards are somewhat rare, and we have no record of a used example.

(b)  The Wove Papers.
(i)  State A.

The cream (or rarely white) wove papers overlapped nearly the whole period covered by those on laid.

These wove papers were never watermarked. They vary considerably in thickness and, to a curiously greater degree, in opacity, some varieties being practically light-proof.

Impressions are generally coarser than on the laid papers, and were, again, normally printed in shades of dull red, except during 1888-90 when, as with the ½-Anna postage stamp, one or more printings in orange were made. All three Settings of state A occur in this colour, and Settings II. and III. have not been found in any other.

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(ii)  State B.

With State B, a return was made to red and the re-formed Setting I. A definite shade of rose is also found and this, again, coincides in period with the rose-printed ½-Anna postage-stamps of 1892.

The great majority of the wove cards appear, as with the laid, to have been used after 1890, and an instance is known of one of the former used in May 1895, six months after the Native Posts were abolished. Cards shewing distinct double-printing are also known, and the Evans’ collection contained an unused example printed on both sides.

The Official Card.

The black cards were printed only from state B, shewing the circular flaw.

A Check List of all cards will be found in Chapter XVIII.

► Chapter XIV.

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