8as Single Die

This was the third of the Kashmir single dies, and likely the last-carved of the handprinting implements. Late summer or early autumn 1867 is probably the consensus for its advent. This denomination is known postally only in a range of red watercolors. The handstamp was not found in the Pratap Singh Museum in 1981, though the implement was indeed defaced with the others in 1898. Postally used copies of this high denomination are scarcer than catalogue prices would suggest. Oilcolor reprinting was done in a variety of red-type shades, black, and an alleged ochre. Our letter code for this die is L.

Unique Proof of the 8as die in grey-black watercolor on native paper. Scan taken from Séfi and Mortimer Plate 15. What are the white patches? Well, we now have it on authority (the item is yet another prize in the Hellrigl collection) that the ‘patches’ are indeed holes. The paper “must have appealed to some Kashmiri bugs.” The whole is rather darkened by smoke or dirt.

Left: The 8as Venetian-red watercolor on native paper, the traditional shade nomenclature. Tim Eames believes this shade (his brownish orange-red) to be the early printing of 1867, and it is matched in shade by an early plate printing of the Kashmir 1a. The example on the right, dating here unknown, shows a kind of browning that also brings to mind the late printings in the 1a Kashmir orange-vermilions.

In addition to a subtle shade mysteriously called red, there are also printings in vermilion, bright red, bright orange-red, and carmine-red. Curiously, these have clear counterparts in the Jammu rectangulars and attendant circulars, which raises the interesting question of formal pigment sharing between Srinagar and Jammu, or even the possibility that some of the ’Kashmir printings’ might actually have been carried out at Jammu.

This curious shade, which we hesitate to name, shows something of the nature of its deep-toned pigment by its very thick application in places. Séfi & Mortimer speak of an 8as deep rose, but that we are told is of different hue altogether.

In postal use? This item is a grey-scale reproduction of the 8as brick-red watercolor on thick white horizontally laid paper. The image is taken from the Haverbeck catalogue, Lot 1402. Garratt-Adams (Staal p 110) reports a postally used copy (struck with the 5/L-6 British Srinagar obliterator) having very broad laiding lines.

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