New Rectangular Non-postals

⅛-anna     ¼-anna     ½-anna     1-anna     2-annas     4-annas     8-annas     12-plate


A vexed topic, the matter of New Rectangular non-postals. Certain shade and paper sub-type combinations exist, sometimes even abound, in the form of unused singles, but which never seem to appear on actual postal covers. The matter of detecting paper sub-types on cover is in any case frustrated by the obvious problem. Séfi & Mortimer speak of a strange thing called a “New Rectangular Reprint,” a matter we have yet to accomodate emotionally. For now this page is launched with a selection of items for which the non-postal status is more or less manifest for one reason or another. Troublesome cases will naturally be our ultimate interest, whether resolvable or no.


The ⅛a-plate

A ⅛a yellow-brown gummed and clean perforate 12 on thin wove paper, together with counterparts in the ½a orange-red and 1a greens are mentioned in Staal. None of these items is mentioned in Séfi & Mortimer.



A ⅛a “specimen” on thin, very smoothly polished semi-pélure wove, dating here unknown. A unique example is reported in black, also overprinted ‘CANCELLED’ in red. The latter item, on thin white wove paper, can be seen on Plate 11 in Staal.


The ¼a-plate

“The Stout.” An exceptionally thick variety of toned wove paper, almost like thin card stock. Whereas the thin laids and the thin woves have thicknesses on the order of 0.05 mm, the stouts measure in the 0.11 to 0.13 mm range across a stamp. Caution: We once had the misfortune of purchasing one of these (not the real example shown below) that proved to be a lamination, lamentably, of two thin woves. The surface of the correct thick wove is not quite like that of the usual thins, more intrinsically opaque perhaps, i.e., the opaqueness is perhaps not wholly due to the doubled thickness.


Garrett-Adams suggests these rather scarce items (which enjoy a surprisingly high price in SG) are Brighton forgeries, produced from a photographic process. They are regularly found “used” with a thick-bar obliteration (as here) that is unknown in actual postal use. Bars much like these are familiar from a number of other perpetrations. Given the catalogue recognition, we only presume that the item is known on cover with legitimate cancellation. Anyone know?



The ¼a green on (very) thin wove paper is a non-postal. The paper does come a bit thicker on some of them. It is also known in complete unused sheets, e.g. Dawson Lot 362; see also Staal Plate 12. It was also embossed with the small elephant paper-maker seal. SG refers to the green as an “error” but we do not know the argument for that, or how the case differs from that of the other catalogued items of wayward color deemed “unissued” instead of errant.


The ½a-plate


Pre-Jammu Printing? Black watercolor, perforated, on thin bluish wove paper. Scan taken from Séfi & Mortimer’s Plate 35. Those authors claimed that this unique sheet (together with unique counterparts in the 1a and 2a on thin laid bâtonné) pre-date the first New Rectangular issue, i.e., are “proof-sheets.” They may have been printed at Srinagar before the plates were sent to Jammu, having been obtained by Stuart Godfrey in 1898 directly from the engraver.



The ½a orange-red and black “specimens” on thin, very smoothly polished semi-pélure wove, dating here unknown. The normal overprinting was done in red for all colors, but the obvious exception was made for red stamps.

A ½a orange-red gummed and clean perforate 12 on thin wove paper, together with counterparts in the ⅛a yellow-brown and 1a green are mentioned in Staal.



The ½a tea rose (or pink) on bright white wove. Is there a dating by cover evidence?



The ½a bright blue on pure white paper may not be known in postal use. A deep ultramarine is mentioned [source?], possibly a shade variety of the preceding. In any case, late period.




Mottled prints. The ½a brownish-red and grey-blue on coarse thin wove paper (dates here unknown). Séfi & Mortimer report that the plate gradually came into a clogged condition before a belated cleaning in 1889. At one time, such blurred productions were taken to be forgeries. Those authors also refer to the grey-blue as being “never issued, though possibly prepared for use.” So of course we wonder about the postal status of the brownish-red as well, which seems very much a kindred item. Is the latter known in postally-used condition?

Séfi & Mortimer also refer to a ½a orange-red on the pure (bright) white wove in 1890 as a “very striking variety 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. Is it known in postal use? If not, an example belongs here.


The 1a-plate


The 1a black watercolor, perforated, on laid paper. Assumed April 1878. Hellrigl collection, a companion to the same in the 2a denomination, each unique. One idea is that this and the 2-anna are “pre-Jammu” (i.e., Srinagar State I) printings with the status of proofs.



The 1a red perforated on horizontally laid paper, 1878. Fewer than a dozen were claimed at the time of the Haverbeck auction catalogue, in which two are shown in b/w photographs, one above, plate 15 Lot 1454. Wolfgang Hellrigl estimates fewer than five for this one in any condition. As it is not known in postal use, it may belong more properly in a non-postals, experimental, category, hence the notice on this page.

The 1a violet perforated, with a counterpart in the 2-annas denomination. Numbers unknown; fewer than five in any condition? Not known in postal use.



A 1a green and black “specimens” on thin, very smoothly polished semi-pélure wove, dating here unknown.

A 1a green gummed and clean perforate 12 on thin wove paper. An example, said to be one of two known in unused condition, is pictured in Eames’ Lot #157. Are there used copies known? There are counterparts in the ⅛a yellow-brown and ½a orange-red, reference Staal.


The 2as-plate

What follows is a detail from the unique 2as full sheet in black watercolor, State I of the plate. A partner piece exists for the 1a, and it is clear that the same perforating implement was used. No examples are known with the 4as + 8as composite plate, which was likely carved later. These watercolor items are usually called “proofs,” but the dating is strictly unknown. Same comments as apply to the 1-anna counterpart.


The horizontal pin-rows (vertical in the scan) number 59 to 63 holes over 8.65 cm (averaging just over 14 per 20 mm). The broad range given in the literature for individual stamps, namely 13-16, is a bit of an exaggeration. Collection Hellrigl, ex Godfrey, ex Masson.

The 2a violet perforated, with counterpart in the 1-anna denomination. Numbers unknown; fewer than five in any condition? Not known in postal use.



The 2as red on thick coarse wove ovptd “SPECIMEN,” dating here unknown. The overprinting was normally in red, but an exception was made for red stamps.


The 4as-pane


The 4as green and black “specimens” on thin, very smoothly polished semi-pélure wove, dating here unknown.


The 8as-pane


The 8as blue “specimen” on thin, very smoothly polished semi-pélure wove, dating here unknown.


The Twelve-plate

A second ¼a-plate was produced for reasons unknown, and at an unknown date. The stamps were first reported in Europe in November 1886. They appear in a broad range of papers: native paper with watercolor, thin European laids of Partap type, and thin woves, ranging from the yellow-toning to the late bright white of 1889. In short, a mini-sketch of J&K philately. It all seems a suspicious deluge of diverse production over a stretch of years for material that never saw postal use. The plate is sometimes referred to as the “Unissued Plate,” which carries the implication that it did enjoy an official legitimacy. It was indeed officially defaced with the other implements in 1898, a fact that has lent it some tacit stature through association. In a contrary vote, we feel that these productions occupy roughly the philatelic status of the missing-die forgeries (a sentiment we lately discover was shared by Masson). State officials were on the track of the latter dies for just such defacement, but did not locate them, thus the tag ‘missing’.



Above: The ¼ brown-rose watercolor(?) on native paper in a complete sheet, striations horizontal. Lovely item from the collection of Phil Lunn. The Robson Lowe catalogue for 13/01/1981 offered nine complete sheets and an alleged cancelled to order pair in Lot 526. We wonder if that lot, which might represent the greater share of known examples, remains intact.



Another of the preceding type but with paper striations vertical. The pigment seems to be a mixture of some kind, one component of which is slightly soluble in water, tradition indeed taking these for watercolors.



On the right, the ¼ orange-red on grey-toned thin wove paper. This shade also exists on the late bright white paper (1889). The other shades shown here are the vermilion and orange yellowish-toned paper.



The ¼ black on thin wove grey-toned paper. It also appears on deeper yellowish-toned, plus coarser types, as well as the late bright white varieties of paper.



The ¼ black on thin laid paper. Such stamps are scarce. The block here is a mutilation; it had been sliced into three sections, which are now taped together to serve as some sort of reference item on some sort of webpage.



Another example on the thin laid Partap paper. Its reputation is not exactly enhanced here, what with its being cancelled with a 9-bar-2 obliterator known in other skulduggery. A fun thing from the Jaiswal collection.

Commentators pass along the report that the engraving of this ¼a plate was done by the same but unknown artisan who produced the 4a+8a composite. Certainly, similarities between the two implements are legion, and both are similarly inferior to the others.



A Staal-Sharma reprint of the defaced plate, 1981, of which six were made.

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