Is it our imagination, or are examples of fakery becoming more prevalent at on-line auction sites? Desirable (even valuable) pieces have been ruined by the action of brats rather too clever for their own good:

A Victoria stamp was removed from this nice early remnant (which predated the advent of J&K native stamps) and replaced with a bit of late scrap and spuriously marked. The other postal markings are rather rare.

More from the same bad lot.

Period Fakery

The final decade of the J&K postal story is sullied by the prevalence of spurious fare. Some doubtful material passes scrutiny of a kind because it is technically correct as to stamps and postmarks; other of it is overt and ridiculous, concocted as it is from missing-die forgeries, defunct and inappropriate markings, and sometimes bizarre amounts of postage. This being J&K, however, one has to be careful, for some highly desirable covers bearing reprints have passed through the mail with a claim to a kind of legitimacy.

Sometimes the excesses are delightful. An item was offered in the Haverbeck auction, Lot 1524, that sported three of those wonderful-awful 8a purple watercolor forgeries with a genuine strip of the 4a greens. This color-coordinated treat amounting to 36 annas “postage,” some 72 times the going rate.

One very large class of bogus items involves authentic Srinagar markings on authentic stamps, both on and off cover. The cancelling implements, which are conspicuously absent from the postal collection in the Srinagar museum, clearly got into wrong hands at some unknown time. They include a Srinagar split-box registration seal, the REG[istration] and PAR[cel] 3-ring date stamps of SIRINAGAR [sic], all known in authentic use hitherto. These markings are also found liberally applied to postcards.

It is interesting that the 8a red was a popular choice of stamp. These date from before the 1883 New Colors printings in blues, and were part of the late re-issue or remainder stock. High-value officials were also used, often in blocks and strips of unseemly size for a purported local mailing of a small envelope. September datings are common, especially the notorious “27 SE.” Some play with the date insertions was evidently possible. Figure 20 in Staal p 129 is a nice example sporting a handsome 32 annas ~ 2 rupees on a small envelope.

This item, bearing a rupee for a purported local mailing, shows the remnant of a yellow instruction label, another characteristic of many of these covers.

...and soon it all gets a little boring.

A distinction without a difference. Most dealers are unaware of the problem, and overly-high prices are paid by the uninformed and unwary. So color us uninformed and unwary when we landed this one when we were J&K puppies.

The all-too-familiar handwriting, the Munshi Bāgh in-town destination, the somewhat questionable postage, and the September dating with fudged numeral all lead in one direction precisely. One still finds near-worthless material like this offered in the $400 range.

According to a note in Séfi & Mortimer, this is a spurious use of the 3-ring Leh cancels. It is also known in greenish-blue striking full sheet concoctions for collectors. Look also for NO[v] dating and 13 OC[t].

Above: The ½a vermilion missing-die forgery on toned wove paper with a Manawar postal marking dated poh 20. The implement that produced this spurious cancellation found its way to the museum at Srinagar where it still sports the same date, as one of Staal-Sharma restrikes in purple ink attests.

The 4a circular missing-die forgery. The handwriting on this cover is a great tip-off for identifying other masterworks of the ilk.

½a and 4a reprints cancelled (ruined) with who-knows-what.

Above: An otherwise virgin card cancelled with the DAK JAMMU seal, which was known in legitimate (if scarce) use only in the Old Period, i.e., to spring of 1878. The same is found on missing-die forgeries.

Something else in the 3-ring circus: Here is the PARCEL on a card, anomalously addressed. But, no problem, this parcel didn’t really have to be delivered.

Something from Simarillionpur?

An example of the 9-bar-2 on the non-postal ¼a vermilion. This marking is found on several other non-postal items, such as virgin postcards and on missing-die forgeries.

On the left, just such a strike of the 9-bar-2 on a missing-die forgery (image taken from the internet). The 9-bar-2 in the form of a Staal-Sharma restrike is shown with it for comparison.

The great sport of J&K philatelic perpetration did not end with the closing of the native posts. Numbers of otherwise legitimate Indian covers from the pre- and post-1894 period have been treated with extra helpings of Kashmir Native stamps and faked postmarks. One particular type of faked cover is showing up with some regularity on eBay; it was first noted in print in 1979 by W. Hellrigl in Indien-Report, No. 29, p. 35. New Rectangulars are affixed to otherwise genuine (usually non-Kashmir) covers that were posted after the closing of the J&K posts. An example is pictured in Staal, p. 174. The earliest cover date we have seen is 1892, the latest so far is 1908. The L-bar postmark was forged. Two more examples taken from the internet are shown here:

This L-bar forgery is told by the short base on the L (not to be confused with a legitimate short-base Sialkot type (ca. October 1881) that does not appear with New Color material.

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