Jammu Rectangulars

From The Postage Stamps of J&K Simplified by Dawson & Smythies, pp 12-15.

As mentioned before, the rectangular stamps were in vastly greater use than the circular in Jammu Province. They were the regular issue, the circular stamps merely supplemented the small plate, at best, and at worst they were produced mainly for sale to sealers and collectors.

The Jammu plate bore three ½a stamps, and one 1a in the left bottom corner. The design consists of a broad oval band in colour, 4.5 mm wide, bordered by two narrow white lines. The outer white border lines of the ovals of the four stamps meet. In each spandril are two white triangles, containing a number of tiny white dots. Outside the block of four stamps is a coloured frame line. Note how every stamp has an outer frame line on two sides only, and how the four ovals meet. At the top of the oval is a white rayed-sun, to the left and right of which appear 'Jammu' and 'Kashmir' in Dogri letters, the rest of the oval being taken up by the Persian inscription Qalmrū Sarkār Jammūn-o-Kashmīr. In the centre appears on top in Persian nīmāna for ½ anna or yakāna for 1 anna, with the Samvat date 1923. The same wording is repeated below in Dogri. Note, however, that the year does not appear in Persian on the 1a. The engraver was a seal-cutter, one Rahat Ju.

At first the plate was printed in black on native paper, the earliest known date being 13 September 1867, but after a week or two of printing in this colour, blue was adopted, just as the ½a and 1a stamps of the Kashmir Old Rectangulars were changed from black to blue at the same time. In consequence of this the ½a black is rare, the 1a black excessively so.

The blue stamps only lasted eight months up to May 1868. There are many shades, roughly classified as indigo, deep ultramarine, and violet-blue, but these represent no chronological order. Unused the stamps are scarce. The colour was very fugitive, and used stamps not too badly smudged are rare.

A few black and blue stamps are known bearing the brick-red Srinagar seal. These must have been brought by travellers from Jammu into Kashmir and used there.

Masson gave the date of issue of the suceeding red stamps as June 1868, but no example is known until early in 1869. These red, orange-red, and orange stamps in watercolour on native paper constituted the regular issue of Jammu until 1877. The reds appeared in innumerable shades; the first printings were in a sort of brown-red, unusually clearly printed, and somewhat resembling an oilcolour. These bear the circular black Jammu seal, and are rare. In 1869 the square black seal came into use, and the vast majority of the red stamps are cancelled with it. There is also a peculiar salmon-red shade, while the orange-reds are really rare, a remarkable variety being the 1a orange-red watercolour on very thick and coarse paper, of which extremely few copies are known.

The orange stamps were used for about three months only, from August 1872. The ½a orange is rare unused, exceedingly rare used, while no copy of the 1a orange is known unused, and only two copies used.

A dull carmine-red, or cherry-red, shade is reported by Séfi and Mortimer as having appeared from March to June 1876. The ½a in this shade is a great rarity, and only one 1a is known. All known specimens are used. Thus chronicle these watercolour stamps on native paper as follows:

Jammu Rectangular Watercolours
Sept 1867½a+1ablack
Early 1869½a+1ared

The rectangular stamps also appeared in fancy colours in 1874-76, printed along with the “Special” printings of the circulars. Exactly the same shades of jet-black, bright blue, and bright emerald were used, but stamps were not printed in yellow as were the circulars. These Specials were not, however, mostly sold to dealers and collectors, who cared little for the Jammu or Kashmir rectangular stamps as compared with the very unusual-shaped circulars, which were infinitely more popular. Probably the printer thought that they would be in similar demand as the circulars in the same colours, and printed off a certain number before he discovered that it was the circulars that everyone was after, and he soon ceased to turn out any more. Anyhow, all the stamps are rare. The blacks can be distinguished from the first 1866 issue by the much deeper and brighter colour when unused, and by the square black seal, instead of the round magenta seal when used. These black reissues are much rarer than the 1867 originals. Séfi and Mortimer had never seen a satisfactory unused 1a jet-black. The ½a bright blue is only known used, whereas the 1a bright blue is very much rarer in that condition. [Copyist’s note: SG has prices for all cases. In our experience the 1a bright blue unused would seem to be the most common by far of these late blues.] The emerald stamps are great rarities; the ½a emerald unused is much rarer than the 1a thus, but the rarest of all is the 1a emerald in used condition. A complete sheet of four, unused, is perhaps the most remarkable piece of the whole Mortimer collection. It is most certainly unique. Thus chronicle for 1874-76 watercolours on native paper:

Jammu Rectangular Specials
1876½a+1abright blue

The rectangulars started to printed in oils on native paper about June 1877. The standard red colour was continued, but there is a distinctive brown-red shade. The printings at first were fairly clear, but they rapidly deteriorated as the red ink was thick, and so the latest impressions are very bad; sometimes not a single detail of the design can be distinguished. Original stamps can thus be told at a first glance from the reprints [here so-called] which are very clearly printed. These oil rectangular stamps, unlike the oil circulars, are above suspicion; they were undoubtedly all issued to the Post Offices. Chronicle:

Jammu Rectangular Oil-Colours
June 1877½a+1abrown-red

Next there followed a remarkable printing on four papers totally different from what had been used before. Two of these papers were European laid, thick and coarse, with horizontal lines, and thinner and finer, with vertical lines. The other two papers were thin laid bâtonné and thick European wove. The stamps were printed between June and October 1877, and are all extremely rare. Not a single copy of the 1a medium white laid has turned up so far, though it must have been printed. Only two unused copies of this printing are known.

Jammu Rectangular Oil-Colours (cont'd)
Jun-Oct 1877½a+1aredthin laid bâtonné
½a+1aredthick white laid, horiz lines
½a+1aredmedium white laid, vert lines
½a+1aredthick white wove

Finally there was a reversion to the original black colour early in January 1878, that is, three months after it had been decided to use up all the old stocks at Jammu before the the issue of the New Rectangulars. The plate had got into a very dirty state, and the impressions in black oilcolours are even worse than those of the later red printings. These stamps are extremely rare, and could only have been printed to supplement the black circular stamps until stocks of the New Rectangulars were received. They are known used for a few days only in the second half of January 1878. The dull black stamps are not as rare as the steel-blue ones, of which no unused specimen is known. Chronicle:

Jammu Rectangular Late Blacks
Jan 1878½a+1ablacknative

The Red Seal Provisional of 1877. A (presumably) temporary shortage of ½a stamps in the Jammu Post Office resulted in one of the most remarkable provisional stamps known to philately. This consisted of a rose-red watercolour impression of the square seal that was in constant use from 1870 to 1878 in the Jammu Post Office as an obliterator. Its date 1915 S ~ 1858 and inscription (see Chapter II) prove that originally this seal had no connection with the Post Office (which only started in 1866). In September 1877, when the Jammu stamps were being printed in oils on European laid paper, the Jammu Postmaster took impressions of this seal in rose-red watercolour on native paper, sold them over the counter [one may presume, unless they were in-house postal forgeries, as has been suggested, ed.,] and again used the same seal to cancel them on the envelopes. Thus the stamp and the obliterator are of an identical type. Fewer than a dozen copies are known of this rare provisional (which certainly deserves catalogue rank). All are used and all are canncelled in black with the seal that created them. Chronicle:

Jammu Red Seal Provisional
Sept 1877½arose-rednative

► Kashmir Rectangulars.

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