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Chapter XV.


Circulars     Old Rectangulars.

The Reprints of Jammu-Kashmir are confined to the Circular dies, and to the dies and plates of the Old Rectangulars. No reprinting from any of the plates of the New Rectangulars ever took place, with the one possible exception, previously noted, of a Srinagar-printed ¼-Anna red on thin wove.

All Reprints are “Official,” having been printed under official authority and not by private individuals. They were, however, fraudulently substituted for original stamps in the Treasuries and even Post Offices, by the postal officials, without the knowledge or sanction of the State, as has already been disclosed by the Simons Controversy. They were invariably printed in oil-colour or insoluble printer’s-ink, and never in watercolour. Stuart Godfrey informs us that reprinting was done by the native Officials (quite innocently, and in ignorance of possible consequences) to carry out orders for stamps with certain papers and colours, to the best of their ability.

Up to the present, the only Reference List of any importance relating to these impressions has been that compiled by Sir E.D. Bacon, late president of the Royal Philatelic Society, in his work entitled “Reprints”, published in 1899. This list is now largely extended.

Bacon asserted that all the Circular Reprints had, with the exception of those on thin wove paper, been available for postage. This view was, at one period, very generally held, but it can no longer be maintained. The mistake seems to have arisen, partly from a misapprehension as to the nature of the oil-printed stamps of 1877-78, on laid paper. Bacon listed these as “Reprints”, a term which, as we have previously...

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...shewn, is inadmissible owing to the fact that they formed part of the normal printings on this paper before the stamps became obsolete.

A further cause for the mistake is that true Reprints were undoubtedly seen and occasionally purchased from Post Offices, these including reprints on both native and thin wove papers. Such sales were made, not only before, but even after the closing of the Native Posts. But, as we have also shewn, there was never any official authority for such sales. The Postal Officials themselves had, without knowledge or consent of the State Council, organised a large and successful fraud; not by selling quantities of Reprints (and Forgeries) for postal use, but by selling original stamps stolen from the various Post Offices and Treasuries, and concealing the fact by substituting Reprints in the Post Offices and Treasuries, and producing them whenever an official checking of stock and accounts was made.

It is, indeed, practically impossible to find a Reprint (or Forgery) which has done authentic postal duty, though both are commonly found with genuine postmarks. These have been applied by favour of the postal officials.

The exact period at which reprinting commenced is still unknown, but it was probably in 1879. Masson believed that it might have started in 1875, but we can trace no grounds for supposing so early a date. The earliest proved date for any true Reprint is 1881. It was certainly carried on (from the Circular and Old Rectangular plates and dies only) until 1890 or later.

In the lists which follow we have included all varieties classified by Bacon (other than his so-called Reprints of 1877-78 on laid paper), though a few have not yet been seen by us. Slight alterations of colour-shades, as described by Bacon, have been occasionally made in cases where it has been necessary to distinguish between them and other nearly allied impressions.

The words in brackets—(“S-Red”) or (“S-Bk”) denote...

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...that any particular variety is known overprinted, either in red or in black, with the word “SPECIMEN” in Roman capitals, the word measuring 22 mm. in length.

I. The Circular Reprints.

(a)  1879 (?). Oilcolour on Native Paper.

½-Anna—Black : Vermilion : Pale red : Rosine : Dull orange : Dull blue : Bright blue : Bluish green : Green.

1-Anna—Black : Deep vermilion : Deep rose-red : Pale red : Orange-red : Dull orange : Greyish blue : Blue : Bright green : Sage green : Bright purple.

4-Anna—Black : Red : Rosine : Dull orange (S-Bk.) : Yellow : Blue : Bright blue : Bright green : Sage green : Deep purple.

The native paper of the Reprints is, normally, thinner and much more smoothly surfaced than that of normal originals and impressions, generally, are much too clear and distinct. The “greyish-blue” reprints are known on thick rough paper almost identical with some of the original.

Many of these reprints may be found with forged cancellations, and also with genuine “3-circle” postmarks of 1890-94 which have been applied by the “favour” of postal officials; but no authentic used copy has been seen by us.

It will be noticed that the “sage-green”—one of the issued colours—occurs in the 1-Anna and 4-Annas only, and such impressions are fairly common, the 4-Annas particularly. These two are by far the most difficult of all to classify correctly, and we should never be surprised to learn that some of them had formed part of the “surplus printings” of 1877-78 referred to in the Simons Controversy. A very heavily blurred impression in this colour may always be taken as original, but some of the more lightly printed ones may, in our opinion, eventually prove to be from 1877-78 printings also, though we have not seen one used. In the very blurred impressions the ink is so heavily applied that it appears to be caked upon the paper, and the shade is invariably very deep, probably through the excess of oil in the colour having turned it almost brown.

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A curious and interesting point remains to be noticed in connection with these Circular Reprints on native paper. It will be seen that the list contains, with one exception, impressions printed in the colours of the issued stamps. The exception is that of purple, and it has always been a problem to account for such a colour. The usual explanation has been that these impressions were intended to represent the Die I. forgery in this colour, in the belief that the latter was a genuine stamp.

There may, however, be a further reason. Stuart Godfrey has shewn us a small soiled block of these impressions, printed on native paper in oilcolour, which not only came to him from the Office of the British Accountant-General, T.E. Kiernander, but had actually been signed by the latter in his official capacity. It is interesting here to note that a small collection formed by Mr. Kiernander was incorporated in the Séfi collection over twenty years ago, and provided many examples of early reprints. Now these purple impressions are so scarce, and the colour is so completely unlike that of any originals, that it is difficult to believe that they could have been printed for sale to collectors. Moreover, as Stuart Godfrey (who had personally worked with Kiernander) points out, it would have been most improbable that the British Accountant-General should have been supplied with a few shillingsworth of stamps except for some Official reason. The fact that Kiernanader’s Office was also found to contain some of the Official Forgeries of the 8-Annas New Rectangulars, and that Kiernanader himself believed in their authenticity, scarcely affects the problem, for the Official Forgeries were surreptitiously introduced into Offices of every description, including the Post Offices and Treasuries, without the slightest knowledge of British or State officials.

As, in 1878-79, this purple colour was, for the first time, introduced for two denominations of the New Rectangular stamps, it is not impossible that the “purple” Oil-circulars on native paper had a more legitimate origin than has, as yet, been supposed.

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(b)  Thin Wove Paper—Toned or “Pure White.”

½-Anna—Deep black : Vermilion : Orange red : Blue : Greyish blue : Deep blue : Yellow-green : Blue-green.

1-Annas—Deep black : Greyish black : Bright red : Deep blue : Dull blue : Pale yellow : Olive yellow : Yellow green : Chocolate.

4-Anna—Deep black : Greyish black : Vermilion : Orange-red : Greyish blue : Deep blue : Pale-yellow : Ochre-yellow : Yellow-bistre : Yellow-green : Lilac-brown.

[The 1-Anna Chocolate] is a rare reprint, of which we have only seen a single example.

The same forged and genuine cancellations referred to in connection with the Reprints on native paper are also found in this group, but no authentic used copy is known.

The thin wove paper at once renders all these Reprints harmless, since none was never used for the Circular originals. The paper is, almost certainly, original paper of the New Rectangular stamps: reprints on the “pure white” variety must, therefore, have been produced in or after 1889 and, if on the toned papers, at any time from May 1878 onwards.

Although, for reasons previously stated, we have removed all the impressions on laid paper from the Reprint class, the group on this paper contains one or two varieties—notably a ½-Anna in a rather bright yellowish-green, and a 1-Anna in a bright blue, which may, eventually, prove to be true Reprints produced after May 1878, when the original printings became obsolete. We are not, however, in a position to definitely assert that any such late printings on laid paper were, in fact, made.

II. The Old Rectangular Reprints.

(A.) Jammu.

Only one small set of five Reprints is known from the Jammu Plate. Two of these are scarce and three of great rarity. Bacon suggested no date for their production, but this was given by Moens as 1881.

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1881(?). Oilcolour on Native Paper.

½-Anna (3 Types) + 1-Anna (1 Type)—Brownish-red : Vermilion : Deep blue : Bright blue : Bluish-green.

These impressions appear to be (together with a similarly scarce printing of 1881 from the ¼-Anna + 2-Annas Kashmir Plate in lilac), the earliest of all the Reprints, strictly so-called, i.e., made after the stamps had become obsolete.

Evans knew them in only two colours—Brown-red and Bright-blue, and noted that neither Masson nor Bacon had classified the latter, adding that he had found it slightly soluble in water, and had sent a copy to Masson for examination. We may suppose, therefore, that the “deep blue” which Masson had classified was something quite distinct.

We have seen a single copy only of the “bluish-green” reprint, which was in the Séfi Collection, its provenance probably being the original “Kiernander” collection, but none of the “vermilion” or “deep blue”, though these should exist.

All these 1881 impressions, whether from the Jammu or Kashmir Plate are curiously rare for productions made for sale to collectors, but there appears to be no reason to suppose that they were printed for any more legitimate purpose.

(B.) Kashmir.

Reprints from the Old Rectangular dies and plates of Kashmir were made in 1881, in 1886-88, and, again, in 1890. All of these, being oil-printed, are quite harmless, since Kashmir originals were invariably in watercolour. The impressions on laid paper, recorded as “Reprints” by Bacon, have already been discussed with “Proofs” in Chapter VIII.

(a)  Reprints of 1881. Oilcolour on native paper.
¼-Anna (5 Types)—Lilac.
2-Annas (5 Types)—Lilac.

These early reprints were from a single printing from the whole of the Composite Plate, and are far from common, the 2-Annas particularly.

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This Composite Plate was not in its original state when the first reprints (as above) were taken from it. Four small additional rivets had, previously to reprinting, been driven into the plate on the horizontal line dividing the denominations, one at each point of its intersection with the four vertical lines dividing the subjects on the plates. During reprinting the heads of the two outer rivets gave coloured, and the two central ones albino circular impressions.

Detail SM Plate 14

(b)  Reprints of 1886-88.

In some cases following, reprints were taken from portions of a plate only—either of one value only from a composite plate or, in one instance of the ½-Anna value, from only one of the four rows of that value. These reprints are occasionally found overprinted, in either red or black, with the word “CANCELLED” in Roman capitals, the length of the overprint being 20 mm. These are rare, and the same overprint has been found on New Rectangular original stamps and on others “prepared for issue.” Such instances are noted in the following lists by (“C-Red”) or (“C-Bk”) after each particular variety. The term “oilcolours” is to be taken as including ordinary printers-inks.

(i)  Oilcolours on Native Paper.

½-Anna (20 Types)—Black : Vermilion (C-Bk) : Dull orange (C-Bk) : Slate : Yellow-green.

1-Anna (5 Types)—Black (C-red) : Slate-black : Slate blue (C-Red) : Dull orange : Yellow-green.

2-Annas (5 Types)—Black (C-red) : Slate-black : Slate-blue : Vermilion (C-Bk) : Orange-red : Pale yellow (C-Red).

4-Annas (1 Type)—Black : Orange : Blue : Purple (C-Red) : Yellowish-green.

8-Annas (1 Type)—Black (C-red) : Deep red : Orange-vermilion (C-Bk.).

After this date there was no further reprinting of either denomination from the Composite ¼ + 2-Annas Plate.

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(ii)  Oilcolours on Thin Yellowish-toned Wove Paper.
(a)  Printed from the entire plates.

½-Anna (20 Types)—Black : Orange-red : Brown-red : Pale dull ultramarine : Deep slate-blue : Blue-green : Dull green : Sage green : Pale yellow (C-Red) : Olive-yellow.

1-Anna (5 Types)—Black : Brown-black : Brown (C-Red) : Brownish-red : Vermilion (C-Bk.) : Yellow-green : Deep blue : Grey blue.

4-Annas (1 Type)—Black : Brownish red : Orange-vermilion (C-Bk.) : Dull blue : Ochre (C-Bk.) : Yellow-green : Purple.

8-Annas (1 Type)—Black : Vermilion : Dull orange : Ochre : Purple.

In 1888 Moens catalogued a tête-bêche variety of the 1-Anna reprint in brown. He also included Reprints on thin wove of the 2-Annas in yellow, red, and black, which were probably from the forged die. None of these varieties have been seen by us.

(b)  Printed from the top row only.
½-Anna (5 Types)—Deep bright blue : Green.

(c)  Reprints of 1890. Oilcolours on “Pure White” Thin Wove Paper.
½-Anna (20 Types)—Dull green : Bright sage green.
4-Annas (1 Type)—Orange : Dull blue : Purple.

(d)  Reprint (?) of the New Rectangulars. (1884).
On toned strongly meshed thin wove paper. Plate—State II.

We have previously alluded to these impressions as forming, apparently, an exception to our rule that no New Rectangular stamps were ever reprinted, but we consider that this exception has now to be admitted since we have found these impressions with a “Control” of 1884, whereas the colour of the ¼-Anna orange was changed to brown at least as early as May 1883, at which date the brown stamps were chronicled in the “Philatelic Record.” Such evidence of a Reprint would appear to be conclusive, and it can, we think, be further supported.

Although the paper—a heavily meshed fine thin wove—...

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...can be duplicated by that of stamps both in red, orange, and brown, the colour, a rather pale reddish-orange, is, to say the least, abnormal.

It might fairly be asked why, if any New Rectangulars were reprinted, the ¼-Anna orange (or red) alone should have been selected. The answer, in our opinion, would lie in the fact (of which we have previously given evidence) that all red or orange stock of the ¼-Anna was never re-issued, as was that of every other denomination in very large quantities. The probability is, therefore, that when, in 1883, the colour of this particular denomination was changed to brown, all the old stock in red and orange had been used up.

It has long been a custom for dealers, on learning of a change of colour, to seek to replenish their stock by applying for the old stamps thus rendered obsolete: And if, as very probably occurred, such applications were made to Kashmir late in 1883, it may well be that they were met—of necessity in the particular case of the ¼-Anna—by reprinting in 1884.

Many Reprints are found with postmarks and obliterations from both forged and genuine dies. Two interesting covers from the Séfi Collection shew the “favour” accorded by Postal Officials. The covers are each franked with three Imperial 1-Anna stamps obliterated with the “Large Barred-L” of Srinagar: and each, also, with 3-Annas’ worth of Kashmir Reprints cancelled with the 3-circle (genuine) postmarks of Srinagar dated 21st July, 1892.

Unfortunately the “Barred-L” obliterator ceased to be used in 1890, while the obliging official also overlooked the fact that both covers were dated at the back in the native vernacular in M.S., one with 1885 and the other with 1887! Both covers had originally been addressed to His Highness Prince Christian Victor of Schleswig-Holstein at Murree. It is, no doubt, from covers of this description, that the belief in Reprints having been available for postage originated.

[Note added: It has since been determined by Anthony Bard that these were legitimately mailed covers, and that the “Barred-L” was indeed used after 1890 on registered mail.]