From summer 1867 to the end of the watercolor period at Jammu (that is, to spring 1877)
Srinagar probably assumed control over the three Jammu circular dies in the spring of 1881. A deluge of oilcolor reprinting on both native and wove papers occurred sporadically over the next decade or so. While no wove is a danger to the collector of true postal material, the native-paper reprints in the right colors have always been a blight on our subject.
The intervening period, 1877-1881, is fraught with other uncertainties. Jammu had been an enthusiastic convert to a variety of European laid paper that never caught on at Srinagar. The oilcolor productions on that paper at Jammu that never saw postal employ make for an important category of non-postal. The trouble is that some types are exceedingly rare, and we do not know whether the postally-used copies were just lost to philately. It is also possible that laid paper reprints (properly so-called) originated at Jammu between spring 1878 (the advent date of the New Rectangulars) and spring 1881 (the likely date of transfer of the dies to Srinagar.) One of the traditional observances of our subject is that there are “no reprints on European laid paper.” That may be a zealous over-application of the probably correct notion that there were no reprints produced on European laid papers at Srinagar.
The ½a Watercolors. All on native paper. In the half-anna denomination we can show only one candidate for the possible watercolor sharing mentioned above in the introduction:
The ½a scarlet-red watercolor circular on native paper, unattested in postal use. This pigment finds a close match in a counterpart rectangular shown with it; the latter is indeed attested postally for a rather long period (1869-74?) before the Special Printings. In daylight, there is a slight bluish undertone to both. Eames did suggest that the circular might have been a pigment trial for said rectangulars.
The ½a imperial blue watercolor on native paper, an uncataloged shade distinction of the Special Printings bright blue. A counterpart in the 1a is also attested. We do not know whether either is known in postally-used condition (but rather doubt it given the extreme rarity of any late blue postally used.) We also do not know whether a 4as counterpart in sufficiently close shade and demeanor exists. Séfi and Mortimer referred to a blue-indigo, deemed early by those authors. We wonder whether this is the item in question. A discussion of this shade is taken up in the context of the notorious “royal blue” business, taken up on the 1a Circulars page.
The ½a carmine-red watercolor on native paper (1876), unattested in postal use. This is the only reported “cherry-red” (Masson’s term) in this denomination. Hellrigl collection, ex Atkinson.
The ½a Oilcolors on Native paper. A couple of rules-of-thumb have come down to us for making the troubled distinction between postal issues of the 1877-78 period, and the later reprints at Srinagar. One speaks of the thinner, more-polished character of the “reprint paper.” For items not on such paper, we are instructed to take a dim view of overly sharp impressions, hardly the happy happenstance given the presumed existence of smudgy reprints on typical native paper as well as the more adept productions of the postal year itself, some of which might well have been experimental, i.e., non-postals of different stripe having nothing to do with collectors.
The colors listed in Séfi & Mortimer for the half-anna reprint class on native paper not shown below are a pale red, green, and bluish-green. We have provisionally added a catalogued slate blue because it has all the usual characteristics of reprinthood.
A ½a black oilcolor on native paper. Likely reprint, though the paper is not thin. We resort to the fact that it is not so smudgy as the orginals tend to be. The type comes in an “embossed” subvariety characterized by a deeper than normal impression in the native paper. The effect is often best seen from the back where the rays of the sun emblem appear as deeply grooved spokes. Eames also reports an embossed type in grey-black printers’ ink on native paper. These bring to mind the ¼a ink strip rectangulars on European laid paper that were produced in the spring of 1878, India Post 29, 112 (1995). Is it known in postal use?
The ½a slate-blue oilcolor on native paper. These come in a wide range of shades, some nearly black to the casual glance. Lore (that is, Séfi-Mortimer) has it that they were never reprinted, but the argument behind that dictum was not explained. This scarce block of eight was printed on the thin polished sort of paper often considered diagnostic for reprints, as is also the fact of its being a large multiple. We should therefore very much like to know of the story that says that this is not a reprint block.
Séfi & Mortimer chronicle only a ½a bright blue and a ½a dull blue in their list of blue reprints on native paper. While the item on the left is a nice candidate for the bright, the item on the right may or may not be their dull blue; while it has some affinities with the slate-blues of the postal issues, the pigment is something of a cross between Prussian-blue and indigo and in daylight there is a strong greenish cast to it.
Above left: The ½a rosine? oilcolor on native paper. In daylight this has a pinky hue, but the darker regions are much like those of the vermilion red. For better or worse, we are guided here by the SG Colour Guide. Only a vermilion, pale red, and a rosine are reported by Séfi & Mortimer’s in their chronicle of the ½a red reprints on native paper. The rosine is also known for the 4as circular. Eames treats the rosine as a color trial on account of the tell-tale rosine staining found on the early sage-green productions, also taken to be trials.
Above right: The ½a vermilion in ink on smooth, very thin, toned wove paper. Spurious cancellation. A bit of an oddity: the design is right, but if actually produced from the original die, this type must be one of the sharpest of extant impressions. Can we take advantage of that in any way? Is that perchance a dot at the upper-right of the ja-element in Jammu? If so it would formally double the m, which would be nice.
The ½a dull orange oilcolor on native paper. This item has at least four counterparts, in the 1a and 4as circulars and in both values of the ½a + 1a Kashmir plate. A rather similar orange is seen on the 4as and 8as New Rectangulars of 1881 on thin wove paper, mostly seen as 1890s reissues.
The ½a on European laid paper. Oilcolors all. A number of candidates for Jammu reprinthood exist, some quite common, but others scarce indeed. Others are catalogued as “issues” even though postally used copies may never have been seen.
There is a ½a yellow on European laid paper listed in SG that is unpriced used, which we presume is something different from either of the items shown above. At left, a tawny object on European laid paper of indescribable shade, recorded variously as ochre-yellow (Eames), bistre yellow (Faucitt), and olive-yellow (Hellrigl). Above right: The ½a bright yellow on very thick European laid paper. It often comes with a non-postal cancellation as shown here. Eames takes the bright yellow to be a reprint [ref. India Post 29 p. 89 (1995).]
The ½a bright yellow-green oilcolor on European laid paper. Apart from a passing reference to this item by Séfi and Mortimer as being a possible “laid-paper reprint” (along with a 4as bright blue), there is curiously little notice in the literature about this wayward object, common as it is.
The ½a olive-green oilcolor on European laid paper. Not usually listed, but recorded (as a sage-green) in Staal p. 92 and p. 198 as extremely rare. We presume that it is not known in used condition, hence notice of it on this page. The 1a and 4as counterparts may not be known in any condition.
The ½a on Wove papers. Oilcolors all; certain reprints all. Séfi & Mortimer list seven half-anna reprints on wove papers: The ½a deep black, greyish-blue, blue, vermilion, orange-red, yellow-green, and bluish-green, with each chronicled as coming in both toned and untoned (white) versions.
Are these really the ½ yellow-green and the ½ bluish-green of the Séfi listing? In any case, we prefer to call them green and grey-green, respectively. To our eye, the latter really has no hint of blue to it; it is in fact much like one of the shades of the late 1a green New Colors, also called grey-green. Some New Rectangular greens are suspected of having changed hue over the decades, as possibly the case here too. The paper may have yellowed considerably as well.
The 1a Watercolors. All on native paper. Again, pigment trials for the Jammu plate may be known, but we cannot display an example in this denomination.
The 1a deep black watercolor on native paper, 1874, not attested in postal use. It often has the appearance of oilcolor and has to be tested carefully with water.
The 1a bright blue watercolor on native paper, 1876. The example might look superficially like a 4as, and we had so presented it briefly on the 4as page, a tidy example of an amateurish error. We wonder if the missing curved stroke in the center had been purposefully covered by puddling the watercolor. Postally used copies may not be known despite modest catalogue pricing. A deeper shade called deep bright blue exists and is distinct from that of the imperial blue chronicled next:
The 1a imperial blue watercolor on native paper, an uncataloged shade distinction of the Special Printings bright blue. We do not know whether postally-used copies are attested. The counterpart in the ½-anna denomination is shown upscreen.
The 1a yellow watercolor on native paper, 1876[?] Another example of the 1a stamp, the scarcest of the yellows, is shown in the “Kashmir Blue” auction catalogue Lot 89. There are no known examples in postally used condition in either this denomination or the 4as. whence their provisional presence on this non-postals page. Of the yellows only the ½a may now be attested on cover (July 1876), the date of which suggests the dating for the two higher denominations. The hue of the yellows are, however, rather distinctive, some being of more lemony cast, others more orangey.
The 1a Oilcolors on Native paper. Again, a number of items may be pigment experiments from the 1877-1878 transition year, and not therefore reprints in the strict sense. Some shades are shown below that do not find a good match in the Séfi list.
While Séfi chronicles only a 1a “blue” and a 1a “greyish-blue” for the native paper reprints, a broader range of shades is seen. In daylight, the circular on the left is very close in shade and demeanor to one of the 1a Kashmir non-postal strips, sometimes called a “proof strip,” but which may be just a reprint strip.
The preceding is an curious item on an unusually brittle and rough non-wove non-laid paper somewhat reminiscent of the older ‘rice papers’ of some of the Die I forgeries. The impression shown here has a greenish cast in daylight and might pass muster for a reasonable indigo.
The 1a brown-red oilcolor circular on native paper in a sharp printing is another non-postal item of note. We show an example of the type in the 4as-section downscreen. The shade and demeanor is like that of the rare Jammu plate block chronicled as a reprint block in Gibbons.
Left, the 1a brick-red on native paper. Eames speaks of experimental printings in brick-red from the transitional year. In any case, it is not attested in postal use. It has non-postal counterparts in the ½a and 4as circulars, and possibly the 8as Kashmir single-die. On the right (done on a different scanner) is another type of non-postal with the distinctive pigment striations, sometimes said to be characteristic of reprints. We do not know to which of the several reds in Séfi’s chronicle it should correspond, if indeed to any of them.
The 1a dull orange oilcolor on native paper. Certainly a safe reprint if we deem the Kashmir plate strips to be of late vintage, a view bolstered in turn if one also deems this brand of ‘Srinagar orange’ late.
The 1a greens oilcolors on native paper. There is inconsistency in the use of color terms here. On these pages, following Eames and contrary to SG, we use the term ‘olive-green’ to refer to the darker, blotchy postals, and employ ‘green’ (sometimes sage-green) for the non-postal productions of lighter or brighter hue, which are also usually of sharper demeanor and which exist in large multiples. The matter is complicated by the highly composite nature of the pigment on all of these productions. Paper studies suggest that some of this non-postal class may have been experimental printings of the transition year 1877-78, and thus technically not reprints.
The preceding is the largest known multiple of a 1a in green oilcolor on native paper, a spectacular from the Jaiswal collection; our thanks for the image.
The purples are a bit interesting. The Haverbeck auction catalogue mentions that purple reprints on native paper in the 1a and 4as denominations are rare (Lot 1299) and none exist at all in the ½a. Well, maybe they are not really as scarce as all that. We found a couple in our box of stamps.
The 1a bright purple oilcolor on native paper. A very pretty print. Some doubt has been raised in the past about their reprint status. Do check out Séfi & Mortimer’s note in this link. These authors conclude with the statement, “As, in 1878-79, this purple 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.” We note that Eames does not include the purples in his discussion of the experimental printings, taking them to be, we must suppose, later reprints. Another class of purple printings on native paper exist (above right) that are scruffier and duller. They also exist in the 4as denomination. The violet smudge on the left edge of the stamp is reminiscent of the aniline (supposed) dye stain that is produced when some of the early New Rectangulars are presented to water.
The 1a on European laid paper. Oilcolors all. Again, Séfi & Mortimer do not recognize any laid paper production as a reprint. As with other laid papers, several of the items that are often encounted come with an air of mystery.
The 1a brownish-red oilcolor on European laid paper. Two are attested in the Hellrigl collection; no information here on others. As it is not known in postal use, there is an argument that it should indeed not be catalogued as a postal item. The shade suggests that it was done in the spring of 1878, just before the advent of the New Rectangulars.
The 1a grey-black oilcolor on thick white European laid paper. In daylight, the shade has a non-black cast to it, of subtle bluish or greenish persuasions. A 1a grey-black oilcolor Brighton forgery on thin white laid paper is mentioned, but this example is not like the Brightons we know and hate.
The 1a yellow oilcolor on European laid paper. This extremely rare stamp, if even existent now, is mentioned in Staal p. 92, and is unlisted in Gibbons. A 4as counterpart is not even mentioned.
The 1a on Wove papers. Oilcolors all; all certain reprints. According to the Séfi list, these come in the following colors, and are chronicled there as coming in both the toned and untoned varieties of the paper: The 1a deep black, grey black, deep blue, dull blue, bright red, pale yellow, olive-yellow, yellow-green, and a rare chocolate.
The 1a bright red oilcolor on thin toned wove paper in a 24-block. Blocks of this size are scarce.
The 4as Watercolors. All on native paper. As for the possibility of pigment sharing with the Jammu plate, here is a candidate in this higher denomination:
The 4as scarlet-red watercolor on native paper. A printing of the Jammu plate was done in the same shade range, hence an ascribed dating of 1869, though no postally used copies are reported so far as we know.
The 4as grey-black or black watercolor on native paper. Not known in postally-used condition. The stamp did not appear with the ½a and 1a blacks in 1866. Séfi & Mortimer speculatively classified this issue as one “prepared for issue” only. This black is perhaps best regarded as the high denomination companion to the Jammu plate printed in the same shade, either as a color trial for the plate or theoretically to serve the registration function. If so, its dating would be late summer 1867, given that the Jammu plate blacks are known only for about three weeks in August and September of that year. This item is to be distinguished from the following from the later Special Printings period:
The 4as deep black watercolor on native paper, likely 1874, not known in postally-used condition. Like their counterparts in the other denominations they usually have the appearance of oilcolor and have to be tested carefully with water.
The 4as bright blue watercolor on native paper, 1876. A deeper shade called deep bright blue exists.
The 4as yellow watercolors on native paper, 1876? There are no known example in postally used condition.
The 4as rose watercolor, unrecorded item in the Hellrigl collection, ex Atkinson. There is an anomalous class of pigments known with the Jammu plate to which the cherries have some kinship. The 4as carmine-red is known postally used (1876) and is catalogued (unpriced) as SG11, the only one of the entire class to see catalogue recognition on account of its one known foray into the actual mail system.
The 4as Oilcolors on Native Paper. The Séfi listing mentions the 4as black, bright blue, blue, red, rosine, dull orange, yellow, sage green, and deep purple. Again, the showing below shows a few items that don’t find a good counterpart in this listing. Why we cannot display a black is something of a mystery.
Left, the 4as brown-red oilcolor on native paper in a bit of a winey mood. Eames takes these to be early color trials. One can certainly find rather good matches with early New Rectangulars on European laid paper, where the pigment would seem to be identical but for a slight thinning. There is also a good shade match with the scarce brown-red non-postals done with the Jammu plate of likely similar vintage. In addition to a rosine, Seéfi mentions only a “red,” color here unknown.
Above right, the 4as dull scarlet oilcolor on native paper, which again finds an almost perfect match with a dull scarlet in the early New Rectangulars, and again suggests a color trial of 1878.
The 4as steel-blue oilcolor on native paper. The shade is much like one of the rare Jammu reprints, if that is what they are. They might have been produced in the pre-1878 period. A similar pairing with the Jammu plate occurs for the 4as brown-red oilcolor on native paper.
Left, the 4as yellow-bistre oilcolor reprint on native paper. This may or may not be the sole yellow of the Séfi & Mortimer reprints listing. An ‘ochre’ in the Haverbeck Sale 1298 is known overprinted in black with SPECIMEN. The reprint has several counterparts in the other two circulars, and both denominations of the first Kashmir plate.
Above right, another of the dull orange family on native paper.
The 4as ‘green’ on native paper. These are complex creatures consisting of two or three separate components, such as a dun background wash, small emerald blobs, and other superposed green. These stamps are generally of lighter hue than originals and tend to come in less blotchy, less oily, impressions. Eames refers to these as experimental printings in sage-green, and to the originals as olive greens.
The 4as purple oilcolor on native paper. This has a slightly brighter counterpart in the 1a denomination. Séfi & Mortimer‘s reprint listing reports a ‘deep purple’ in this 4as denomination, which may or may not be the shade seen above. It doesn’t seem particularly ‘deep’.
The 4as on European laid paper. For this case Séfi and Mortimer do mention a possible exception to the no-reprint-on-laid idea, namely a 4as bright blue oilcolor. Can’t imagine it. Parallel universe stuff.
The 4as on Wove papers. Oilcolors all. A token pair shown below; the others in their listing are: The 4as grey black, greyish blue, vermilion, orange-red, pale yellow, ochre-yellow, yellow-bistre, yellow-green, and lilac brown.
The 4as deep black and 4as deep blue on toned wove papers.
Séfi & Mortimer’s reckoning of the oilcolor circular reprints on the native and wove papers are given below. The woves are reported as occuring on both toned and smooth white varieties. Only the ½a black, ½a vermilion and ½a green on native paper are likely to be in contention with originals. The 1a chocolate toned wove is said to be particularly rare. A few rather commonly encounted items do not fit satisfyingly into the Séfi & Mortimer chronicle.
|n = native paper||w = white wove||m = meshed wove|
|t = toned wove[s]||* = added to list|
|dull purple (aniline)||—||n||—|