Old Jammu Rarities

Watercolor Period     Oilcolor Period     European Papers

The SG catalogue entries that represent stamps for which fewer than about two dozen copies (both used and unused taken together) are marked with the dagger †. Undaggered means that the item is of that scarcity in either unused or in used condition, but not in both. The star * tags the entries for which there may not be examples currently attested in postal use.

Jammu Plate Watercolors on Native

†SG52.  The ½a grey-black watercolor Jammu rectangular on native paper. In unused condition, this first usage in the low denomination from the plate easily makes the rarities list.

Postally used, it also makes the grade, with perhaps a dozen attested altogether on and off cover. August 1867 is the earliest date we have encountered in the literature (Lot 135 Sturton Sale). We do not know a latest date, but the issue is said to have lasted only a couple of weeks or so. The detail shown here comes from an external Jammu to Amritsar cover dated 27 bhādron 1924 ~ 10 September 1867 that bears neither British postage nor evidence of a postage-due penalty.

†SG53.  The 1a grey-black watercolor Jammu rectangular on native paper. In unused condition, a major rarity, the following example from (need we say) from the Hellrigl collection:

Postally used, also a major rarity. Total numbers in any condition probably do not exceed a half-dozen or so. Say it makes the top list with lots of room to spare.

SG55.  The 1a indigo watercolor Jammu rectangular on native paper. This shade probably makes the list in unused condition. Hellrigl collection:

Postally used, the type is fairly common, or so it seems given the veritable continuum of shades that connects it to other groupings, such as the following:

SG57.  The 1a deep ultramarine watercolor Jammu rectangular on native paper. Like the 1a indigo, this class likely makes the list in unused condition. When shade breakdown is considered, each variety alone certainly makes the grade. This class come in a fairly wide spectrum from the ‘deep’ of the catalogue to a lighter & brighter variety. The example below (ref. Hellrigl) is somewhere between the extremes:

Postally used, this number probably does not make the list, though again a breakdown by shade will allow most anything to qualify. It’s scarce stuff in this denomination.

SG63.  The 1a orange-red watercolor Jammu rectangular on native paper. This shade makes the list in unused condition (there is not even a copy in the Hellrigl collection if you can believe it). Postally used, the shade really cannot make the list. A continuing theme, and why not?

†SG65.  The 1a orange watercolor Jammu rectangular on native paper. It is priced in SG; that’s the only clue I have to its actual existence in unused condition. There are blocks of the plate still extant with the 1-anna subject specifically cut away. But again a handful got away into actual postal service:

Postally used, the stamp should readily makes the grade; certainly fewer than a dozen. The preceding is a detail from an 1872 cover (month not known), Jammu to Lahore, ex Masson, ex Yardley. Collection Hellrigl.

SG66.  The ½a bright blue watercolor Jammu rectangular on native paper. Very rare, enough said. This time it was the 1a subject that was carefully cut away from the plate and preserved, with the ½a effectively lost to philately. Still, an unknown number got away into postal duty:

We cannot guess whether this stamp makes the grade in used condition; though still indisputably rare, the type is popping up here and yon disconcertingly often. But since we have a lovely scan available, here it is on view just in case: a detail is from a cover, Jammu to Amritsar (with railway sorting at Umballa) dated 22 April 1876, Hellrigl collection.

†SG68.  The ½a emerald-green watercolor Jammu rectangular on native paper. Catalogue prices notwithstanding, the ½a unused may be rarer than the 1a unused. The famous full block is shown on the back of the Dawson sale catalogue.

Postally used, maybe a half-dozen on cover, known for April and May 1876 only. This example, from the Hellrigl archive, is a Jammu to Lun Miani postal stationery envelope mailed 21 April 1876. Another to Amritsar is known for 28 April.

†SG69.  The 1a emerald-green watercolor Jammu rectangular on native paper. Perhaps a half-dozen copies known in unused condition, one in the Hellrigl collection:

Postally used: While it is usually the case that used copies of Jammu rectangulars are more common than their unused counterparts, this is a likely example the other way—a stamp even rarer in used condition, this one the rarest of all (Dawson-Smythies p 14). Perhaps three or four known, two of them on cover, April 1876.

†SG69b.  The 1a  jet-black watercolor Jammu rectangular on native paper. Just a few unused copies appear in the auction literature.

Postally used, the stamp may be at least as rare as unused copies. The preceding used example from the Hellrigl archive shows its late dating by the Jammu square black obliteration, if that is indeed what the darkening in the lower right really is. By color alone it would be a candidate for the early grey-black, not the so-called jet-black of the issue.

•  On left, the ½a dull carmine-red watercolor from a railway cover dated 20 September 1875. The second item, from our own collection, is a kindred shade in a rougher demeanor, including a darker paper. It is found on an assūj 1932 ~ September 1875 cover, which is to say, separated by only days from that of the first. Eames takes the pigment of this latter type (he calls it ‘lake’) to be distinct from, but “clearly related” to the carmine-reds (India Post 29 44, 1995). Claims for an April 1874 sighting might be queried on account of the lunar versus solar calendar confusion that occurs in the first half of that month, for it does seem precisely a year early. Staal reports something in a ½a ‘gray-brown’ watercolor; its dating, status, and whether there is association with these anomalous groups is here unknown, but such a thing might indeed fit the class.

•  These are Masson’s famous cherry-red watercolors (ref. Hellrigl) in both denominations. Unused copies have never surfaced in either denomination, so they belong to that rarified class of super-postals. Some collectors assume that these are the same as the carmine-reds mentioned before. One problem is that the items to which Masson refers were confined to the March to June period of 1876, some six to nine months later. Of the Masson stock, there were nine used copies in the ½a, and a single used copy off cover in the 1-anna denomination (above). Séfi reports that “these were the only stamps in Masson’s collection which he had specially protected with transparent paper, but, though this suggested that he valued them highly, he did not, beyond a casual allusion to a cherry-red stamp, include them in his classified lists.” The 1a was said to be unique on cover in Dawson & Smythies (p 13) but Eames reports yet another.

Jammu Plate Oilcolors on Native

SG72/SG73.  The ½a and 1a brown-red oilcolor Jammu rectangular on native paper. In unused condition the ½a is attested [ref?] while the 1a may not be; both are unpriced in SG. Postally used, both are common. There is a range of significant, but unlisted, shades, some of which are rare.

†SG74.  The ½a black oilcolor Jammu rectangular on native paper. The Haverbeck auction catalogue mentions that fewer than 20 copies in unused condition were known at that time. Still, there were no unused copies in the Hellrigl exhibition.

Postally used, we have starkly conflicting reports: some will say the stamp is merely scarce and does not qualify for the list; others say it should easily make the list. As to covers, Séfi & Mortimer report four covers dated 17-20 January 1878 and there is a cover in the Hellrigl collection showing a delivery at Gurdarspur on 22 January. My own guess is that the item does indeed make it into the rare class. The scan above shows the plate was in a clogged state when these were produced over a short period of time. This example is from the Lunn collection, ex Dawson Lot 293, ex Eames.

†SG75.  The 1a black oilcolor Jammu rectangular on native paper. Only a few copies are reported in unused condition. Postally used, no information here as yet. Hellrigl estimates fewer than 5 in any condition.

†SG76/†SG77.  The ½a and 1a deep blue-black oilcolor Jammu rectangular on native paper. Neither may be attested in unused condition now.

Postally used, fewer than a half-dozen of the ½a are likely in existence (the 1a is not mentioned in the auction literature so far as we know). The detail shown above is the ½a on cover in the Hellrigl collection. Dated 16 January 1878 Jammu to Lun Miani. Another is pictured in Eames’ India Post 29 88 1995. The stamp would seem to be of the blacks proper (same dating, same plate clogging) but a slight adulteration of blue pigment found its way into the black.

Jammu Plate Oilcolors on European Papers

†SG78.  The ½a red oilcolor Jammu rectangular on European laid paper. Dawson & Smythies (p 14) report that the 1a counterpart has never been seen although it must have been printed. An unused copy of the ½a was alluded to in the Haverbeck catalogue and a copy was offered in Sturton Lot 187. We do not know if these are the same item.

Postally used, numbers have to elude, but it must be on the order of a half-dozen. There is also the practical difficulty of telling paper types when the stamps are on cover. The scan above, from the Hellrigl archive, is dated 6 October 1877 (with the usual perplexing date conversion in Masson’s hand that puts the despatch after the delivery date).

†SG79.  The ½a dull red oilcolor Jammu rectangular on thick, whitish wove paper. Are unused copies attested?

The preceding has proved to be a bit of a puzzle piece. One sees Masson’s notation attesting to its wove nature, which someone has emended in pencil to ‘laid’. (I have an untraceable note to the effect that it is indeed vertically laid paper.) We notice, however, that the item has been re-relabelled “thick wove” in the Hellrigl archive, the result of a subsequent rethinking of the matter. As to copies of the stamp off-cover, three or four postally-used off-cover copies are said to be making the rounds. Thick paper and an even rarer medium paper has been distinguished, the latter possibly unique. Shade types in a distinctive brown-red oilcolor (of which the preceding may be an example?) were at one time listed separately in the Scott catalogue.

†SG80.  The 1a dull red oilcolor Jammu rectangular on thick whitish wove paper. Unattested in unused condition (ref. Boggs 1941). As to postally used condition, there would likely be fewer than a half-dozen at most. The Staal checklist assumes that fewer than ten probably existed as of that accounting. The item is unpriced in SG both ways.

†SG84.  The ½a red oilcolor Jammu rectangular on thin laid bâtonné paper. Are unused copies attested? Postally used, the stamp definitely does exist and easily makes the list. Three copies on the backs of two covers are mentioned in the Haverbeck Lots 1366 and 1367.

†SG85.  The 1a red oilcolor Jammu rectangular on thin laid bâtonné paper. That at least one copy exists is indicated by the priced entry in SG. As to postally used, no information here to report.

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