The 2as Plate

Jammu Printings  Srinagar Printings

As an integrally-denominated plate, this comes in the 4-wide format. The earliest dating we hear of for this is (curiously) the earliest of any New Rectangular so far, namely 10 May 1878: a pair of officials on horizontally laid paper on a registered cover Jammu to Amritsar (Lot #136 Eames Sale). Most most curious. Our letter code for this plate is Q.

The Jammu Printings 1878-80

The 2as black on laid paper, 1878. State I of the plate. A nice thing to show from our own collection for a change [ex Masson, and shown in his book]. Fewer than a dozen? Others: Lot #135 Eames Sale, Hellrigl collection, Jaiswal collection, Sturton collection. By the way, the 2as black in State I on thin wove paper also exists as a complete sheet (ex Garratt-Adams). It is quite possibly rarer still.

The Jammu Reds. The 2as reds on medium laid paper, 1879. Uncommon. The second image must have been cancelled after June 1880.

The 2as dull vermilion on thick wove paper, very thick, between 0.14 and 0.15 mm, 1879. Again, something like card stock. A medium wove is given a date of December 1879 by Séfi & Mortimer.

The 2as scarlet and 2as orange-red on thin wove papers, Jammu-printed 1879-80, where the latter is on coarse yellowish-toned paper. Unspecialized catalogues do not distinguish between between these two items. A sure State I in the thin wove is shown in the next scan:

The 2as red on thin wove paper, State I of the plate, 1879-80. The reds are possibly not attested in State II. State I also exists in a 2as brown-red, and we might as well note again the 2as black, both known in full-sheet form.

The Jammu Blues. Among the blues we distinguish bright and dark families as a first cut. The 2as dull blue (also known as dull ultramarine Scott-side) on medium laid paper. The pigment is said to be rather soluble in water, perhaps even a kind of watercolor. Some two or three dozen are said to be in existence. Used copies were not known to Séfi & Mortimer. The SG catalogue entry would seem to have a most moderate price for this item, especially in used condition. A unique block of the top sixteen stamps was listed as one of the gems in the Haverbeck auction, Lot 1469.

On the left above is a 2as dark violet on medium laid paper, 1878. The SG catalogue speaks of a slate-blue and Séfi & Mortimer of a deep violet-blue of August 1878. On the right is a 2as bright violet in slightly soluble ink on horizontally laid paper. The earliest known use on cover dates 19 December 1879 (Haverbeck Lot 1464). A rare complete sheet in vertical laiding was in the Haverbeck sale Lot 1460.

A perforate version of the dark is catalogued, but is not recognized in either Staal or Séfi & Mortimer. There is reported a 2as bright mauve, attested on cover as late as 1880.

The Srinagar Printings (1881-94)

No 2as red in State II of the plate is listed. The planners were kind enough to jump straight away to the unambiguous oranges.

The 2as orange on thin wove papers, 1881. The screw-head impressions represent what at that time were recent repairs to the plate, and make for what is known as state II of the plate. This type was re-issued after 1890, and are known by the late postmarks.

The 2as black official on thin wove yellow-toned paper, position #5 in the plate. Plate-state II or other dating information would be needed (which we do not have for the example shown above) to distinguish these officials from the Jammu-printed state I varieties; the latter are very rare.

This is state II of the plate in the 2as black on thin wove paper. There is a paper-makers’ control oval embossment of the small elephant in the upper-right corner.

While some of the thin wove paper is rather white, there is the late variety attested from 1889 that is even whiter, known as the “bright white.”

The 2as black on thin laid paper (Partap series 1887) is the only representative of the 2as plate in that series. At the time of the Haverbeck auction in 1973, a full sheet (Lot 1552) was said to be unique. It is now known not to be unique, witness above.

The New Colors. It’s the distinctively tinted semi-pelure paper, not the stamp color, that is really new here:

The tints range from yellow-greens, though scarcer and purer greens, to more opaque yellows of the late period, 1890s vintage:

The tinting of the paper is so strong that the true shades of the pigments are made difficult to discern.

The opaque tinted-paper reds come much coarser and thicker. The second example is a “specimen,” dating here unknown. The overprinting was normally in red, but an exception was made for red stamps.

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