[page 269 continuing]

IV. Forgeries of the New Rectangulars.


(A.)  Forgeries to Defraud the State.

No fewer than four forgeries have to be recorded in this interesting group, and of these four, three are known postally used. One of the latter achieved a very considerable success and is, therefore, fairly common. Of the remaining three one is very scarce, and the other two of the greatest rarity.

All the three forgeries which did postal duty were used exclusively through the British Post Office at Srinagar, this having, no doubt, been selected in preference to a Native Office since detection would have been far more likely to be feared at the latter.

The first forgery [Plate 53, Fig. 1; The ½-Anna—Orange) was only in use for a month or two from December, 1889, after which it was, probably owing to its coarse and generally unsatisfactory appearance, superseded by the type following. It is printed from a single die showing all details of the uncoloured design much broader than those of originals, while the whole impression is slightly too large. The fact of it being printed in watercolour further condemns it at once. This imitation is very scarce in orange, while a single example only in the dull-rose [the second item below (not shown on plate) ed.]


Die Forgery. Watercolour (Oil?) on thin wove paper.
½-Anna—Orange : Dull rose.

[page 270]
Masson noted in his collection—“I am confident that I possess several copies in oils.”—But his collection contained no such example, nor have we ever seen one.

The second forgery is the common variety and dates of its employment support Masson’s belief that it superseded the preceding one.


Die Forgery. Watercolour on thin wove and thin laid papers.
½-Anna—Orange.

The new and improved type has been found on covers dated as early as 3rd March, 1890 and as late as 13th March, 1891. Like its predecessor it was used exclusively through the British Post Office at Srinagar. It was always printed in watercolour, and the fact at once condemns it. Details of the impression are always blurred, and too indeterminate for criticism. The size of the impression is practically correct, and the colour approaches very nearly to some of the genuine orange printings of its period. In its earlier form it was printed on a thin wove paper, and, for the last seven or eight months on a thin laid, both of which bear a fair resemblance to their original counterparts.

The general workmansip of the third forgery [Plate 53, fig. 3; The 1-Anna—Greenish slate] suggests, very strongly, the same hand which engraved the first of the series. A single copy, used with the “Barred-L” of the British Post Office at Srinagar is the only example known to us.


Die(?) Forgery. Oilcolour on medium hard wove paper.
1-Anna—Greenish slate.

We procured this, the subject of our illustration, through the courtesy of Mr. W.T. Wilson, of Birmingham, well known for many years as a close observer of all matters relating to the philately of India and of the Native Indian States. Mr. Wilson informed us that he once had a second copy, which he sent to Masson, who lost it; and this, no doubt, accounts for the fact that the latter omitted any allusion to it in his work. No tests for this forgery need to be given, since the whole of the impression is very much larger than that of the genuine stamp.

[page 271]
The last of the four “revenue-defrauding” forgeries [Plate 53, fig. 4; The 1-Anna—Bright rose.] possesses some features of special interest. The subject of our illustration is the only known unused copy in this group, and also the only one of which no used example is known.


Die(?) Forgery—Watercolour on thin wove paper.
1-Anna—Bright rose.

It was obtained by Masson in 1892 under circumstances which make it probable that no other copy now exists.

Masson, having heard that a native had been convicted of forging stamps (and incidentally, of having contributed to his own detection by attempting to pass the forgeries through a native Post Office), approached the Chief Justice of Kashmir in order to try to obtain further information about the three forgeries previously described.

Masson then learned that the conviction had not related to any of these three, but to the subject of our illustration. This alone remained (after destruction of the forged stock, by order of the Court), attached to the Court file of the prosecution, and it was from this file that it was allowed to pass into Masson’s hands.

This forgery is in a true and very soluble watercolour. It is printed in rose instead of in green which had superseded red eight years previously. At first sight the selection of colour will appear to have been somewhat injudicious, until it is recalled that, in 1892, large quantities of old red re-issued stock were being freely used.

The blurring of this impression, due to the watercolour medium, makes it unsafe to give, from a single specimen, any tests for faults of design: but, as no genuine 1-Anna stamp was ever printed, either in watercolour or in such a shade of rose, no such tests would be needed for identification.

[page 272]

(B.) Forgeries for Collectors.
1. Forgeries made by the Postal Officials.

This group is composed of a single forged plate of the 8-Annas shewing eight different types as in originals, and of the six single-die forgeries following. This Plate-forgery is the only one with which the Postal Officials ever attempted to reproduce the different types, all of their previous and later productions being confined to single dies.

Masson, who was the first to suspect the genuineness of these impressions, had some difficulty in confirming his suspicions, owing to the fact that their authenticity was never doubted by even such a personage as the British Accountant-General who was supposed to be the leading authority, in Kashmir, on such a subject.

Many sheets of this forgery were found among the Government Remainders at the closing of the Posts in 1894, proving that the old practice of the substitution of forged for genuine sheets was still being pursued. Masson considered that the 8-Annas forgery was first produced because the highest denomination would bring in the largest profits from this exchange system. He also believed that all denominations would have, eventually, been similarly forged but for the termination of the Native Posts.

The forgeries are not really dangerous owing to their blurred appearance, though the eight types are more or less correctly reproduced. They were printed only in the colours of originals, i.e., Red (1878), Blue (1884), and Black (Official), and on paper very similar to, and perhaps actually part of the thin wove of originals. Masson noted that they were found with forged postmarks of the 3-circle type, and this is usually the case; but some of these are the genuine “large type” marks (see 79, 80) used for Parcels and Registration.

It is interesting to note that this forgery is the only one of all those produced by the Postal Officials which is known in authentic postally-used condition. The “Masson” collection contained six strips noted as having been so used on Parcel-Post...

[page 273]
...forms. These had all been issued, on various dates, from Jammu. We have recently obtained another of these forms franked, also from Jammu, with six of the forgeries in company with a block of four originals in the bluish-slate shade. The latter were in use during 1892 or 1893, and the fact will sufficiently provide the period of the forgery. The back of the last-described form gives an interesting “Instruction” printed in English:

“INSTRUCTIONS FOR THE SENDER. Parcels may be sent prepaid or unpaid, at the sender’s option. If postage is prepaid, it must be paid in cash, not stamps.” (The italics our ours [i.e., Séfi and Mortimer’, ed.]). “The Post Office accepts no responsibility for loss unless insurance be resorted to. Coins, Jewells, etc., must be insured.”

The back of this form also contained a space lettered “Date stamp of office of posting.” This had been filled in with native characters in MS., but, unfortunately, with the year omitted. It scarcely needs to be pointed out that a regulation authorising fraudulent Postal Officials to affix stamps only in return for cash payments would enormously simplify the fraudulent employment of their forgeries.

Owing to its known postal use, this forgery might, strictly, have been included in our first group of imitations “made to defraud the Revenue”; but we place it here because, as it more usually occurs with forged cancellations, or with genuine ones mis-applied by the Native Posts, the primary object of its production was, almost certainly, that of sale to collectors.

Among the mis-applied genuine postmarks occurs the large Jammu type dated ‘18 oc’ to which we refer in connection with the following forgery. There are, however, a number of others shewing different Post Towns and dates, and great care is needed in acquiring so-called “postally-used” specimens.

The forged postmarks are too large and appear to have been set up with insufficient and mutilated type—very possibly intentionally so, in order that they should, by their illegibility, afford no clue to the inquisitive philatelist! They are usually found on the red impressions.


1892(?) Plate Forgery (8 Types). On coarse and fine thin wove papers.
8-Annas—Black : Red : Dull violet-blue.

[page 274]
The single-die forgeries previously mentioned are shown in our illustrations [color scans shown below]. They comprise six of the seven New Rectangular denominations, the lowest of which—the ⅛-Anna—having, apparently, been considered as not worth the trouble of imitating.

Masson believed that these impressions had actually been produced by the old Postal Officials, although they were only made after the closing of the Posts. He based his opinion on the fact that he had found them frequently cancelled with genuine 3-circle postmarks, the dies of which, having been stored in the Jammu Treasury, would be only accessible to Officials. We are in a position, not only to support Masson’s theory, but to prove its correctness.

We find that the very great majority of genuine 3-circle postmarks applied to these die-forgeries are the “large-type” registration postmarks of Jammu (see type 79), these being invariably dated “18 oc” and year omitted; we have also traced this particular postmark to several copies, mostly in black, of the plate-forgery, and the participation of the Postal Officials in the die-forgeries thereby becomes conclusive.

If Masson was correct in his belief that these imitations were manufactured after the Native Posts had come to an end, they must, of course, have been made for direct sale to collectors, and not for the substitution of originals. In this event, complete sheets would not have been essential, and hence the return to single-die production.

The four lowest denominations of the forgeries—¼, ½, 1 and 2-Annas—were engraved with a broad border of solid colour which, when visible, immediately condemns the impression. Frequently, however, this border cannot be seen in close-cut specimens; and, moreover, as we have now found, the width of these borders was subsequently reduced by recutting the dies. In such cases comparison with the genuine types may be necessary.

[page 275]
With the two high-values comparison is never needed. Originals of the 4-Annas all shew a cluster of dots at the top of the inner oval; in the forgery these are omitted. In the 8-Annas originals, all types shew, at one o’clock in the outer oval, a small “o” which is equidistant from the characters on either side; in the forgery the “o” touches the character to left of it.

Die Forgeries. On thin wove paper, fine to coarse.


(a)  Original Forms.
      ¼-Anna—Black : Brown.
      ½-Anna—Black : Red.
      1-Anna—Black : Red : Yellow-green.
      4-Annas—Black : Red : Yellow-green.
      8-Annas—Black : Red : Dull blue : Dull green.
      2-Annas—White paper—Red : Black.
      2-Annas—Yellow paper—Red.
      2-Annas—Green paper—Red.



(b)  Corrected Forms—narrow borders.
      ¼-Anna—Red.
      ½-Anna—Black.
      1-Anna—Black : Grey-green.
      2-Annas—Red on white : Red on green.


II. Private Forgeries.

The purely private forgeries of the New Rectangulars, made for sale to collectors, all possess one very unusual characteristic in that, though imitating the commonest stamps, they are by far the most deceptive of any, and in some cases really dangerous. This is the reverse of what normally occurs with forgeries of other countries. Owners of collections may, however, be reassured by the information that, with few exceptions, the forgeries are so infinitely rarer than the stamps they imitate, that the chances of obtaining them are comparatively slight.

A few crude forgeries exist (notably one of the 1-Anna, which is to be found both in watercolour and insoluble inks on various papers and a variety of colours), but such impressions need no further comment from us.

Among the deceptive forgeries are four, or perhaps five, of the 8-Annas to which some reference must be made. They...

[page 276]
...are so rare that we know of only one or two specimens of each and we have been unable to obtain examples sufficiently distinct for illustration. They are all on thin wove paper, and in unusual shades of grey, greenish-blue, indigo-blue and blue-black, and it would be very desirable if philatelists would record any such specimens found in their collections.


The “Brighton” Forgeries.

These photo-process forgeries, innocuous in previous issues owing to their hopelessly incorrect papers, now become deceptive and, not infrequently, dangerous.

For more than twenty years past, philatelists may recall a brief note appended, in catalogues, to the New Rectangular issues, to the effect that well-executed forgeries, shewing all the types, were known.

The credit for the original exposure of these rests with a well-known firm of dealers who are always most prompt in notifying new forgeries—Messrs. Bridger and Kay, of London.

In November, 1903, the “Philatelic Journal of India” published (Vol. VII, p. 287), the statement given below:

“The following startling information is from the “Monthly Journal.” Can Mr Masson give us particulars?—

Jammu and Kashmir. Messrs. Bridger and Kay send us copies of what, we regret to state, are very dangerous forgeries of the 2, 4, and 8-Annas stamps of the 1878-94 issues of this State. The stamps have been reproduced in entire sheets, shewing all the varieties of type; and if these copies had not been sent to us as forgeries, we should have taken them, at first sight, to be some of the more or less abnormal impressions that were found among the remainders. For the present we refrain from saying more than that the copies we have seen are in abnormal colours, or shades; that the paper on which they are printed is not identical with any of those used for the genuine stamps; and that entire sheets of the 4-Annas and 8-Annas can easily be distinguished by careful comparison. We understand, however, that specimens exist in their true colours.””

Masson immediately responded to this invitation, and his reply was published in the December number (p. 324):

[page 277]

“Major Evans sent me two copies of the 2-Annas stamps. They are certainly most dangerous, and if they had been printed on the proper shades of paper, they would pass muster even with a specialist. Fresh plates must have been prepared, from full sheets of stamps, by some photographic process. They are said to emanate from Bombay, and the maker states that he has, by special arrangement, been permitted to print from the original plates—which is impossible, seeing that the original plates were defaced....the ⅛-Anna has, so far, escaped, probably because sheets of these are difficult to get.”

We note here, incidentally, the rarity of ⅛-Anna sheets in 1903, to which reference has previously been made by us. The ⅛-Anna was, in fact, included in these forgeries.

Two months later an Editorial appeared in the February number (“Ph. J. Ind.” 1904, vol. VIII. p. 56) stating that Masson had obtained many specimens through the courtesy of Mr. A.B. Kay, at that time Secretary to the Fiscal Society. The Editorial concluded by publishing a letter, received by Masson from Mr. Kay, in which the latter stated that he had discovered entire sheets of all values (the italics are ours) [i.e., S&M’s, ed.,] except the ⅛-Anna, and had shewn them to Evans. Mr. Kay discredited the theory of a Bombay origin, and attributed it either to France or Great Britain. It was almost certainly the latter.

This appears to exhaust all previous publications on the subject, and it must first be noted that “all values” were recorded by Mr. Kay. Having for many years devoted our energies, without any success, to finding even a single specimen of the 1-Anna forgery, we appealed to Mr. Kay, an old friend, for information, and he most kindly allowed us to have the whole of what still remained, in his own private Reference Collection, of the forgeries which he had exposed. Without this material, the present article could scarcely have been written, and we have to acknowledge, as Masson did some twenty-five years previously, Mr. Kay’s courtesy and co-operation.

Our search for the 1-Anna, however, again proved fruitless, the collection shewing complete sheets of all denominations except this particular one. Mr. Kay states that,...

[page 278]
...as far as he can now recollect, this forgery was seen by him, but that the expression “all values” might have been used somewhat more casually, on such a matter as forgery, than would have been in connection with more legitimate philatelic questions. The 1-Anna “Brighton” forgery has still to be identified. There appears to be no reason why it should not exist; if it does, it is probably either very rare or very dangerous. By far the greater part of the forgeries in this group are uncancelled, but they are occasionally found with forged postmarks or obliterations. Such cancellations are rarely accurate, and it is by means of these that the 1-Anna is most likely to be exposed, if it exists. It should be found either in black, red, or green.

All the forgeries were reproduced from sheets printed from plates in their latest states and forged sheets of whatever denomination can always be condemned by certain differences in their borders, quite apart from considerations of colour and paper.

As to identification of single impressions, the 2-Annas can be detected at once by its small size as, with almost equal certainty, can the ½-Anna also.

The size of the ¼-Anna plate is also incorrect, but the inaccuracy is too slight, in single copies, to depend on apart from additional evidence of paper and colour: The plate-measurements of the ⅛, 4 and 8-Annas plates are correct.

Differences of design are microscopic and, since these apply to 81 types (or 101 if we include the 1-Anna), it is obvious that they cannot be dealt with in a work of this description.

Generally speaking the shades of colour are untrue, and the paper fairly easily separable from that of originals, but dangerous exceptions occur in both of these respects.

In the forgeries of the Official issues, the black is often strikingly unlike that of the genuine stamps when the two are contrasted but, such comparison apart, the black forgeries are usually the most dangerous of all. In this connection it may be...

[page 279]
...fortunate, for some collectors, that so many of the black originals are the commonest of all the issues of the State.

We now proceed to examine the forged plates seriatim:—


The ⅛-Anna.

The forged plate of 15 Types is correct in size. Originals were never printed in black, and it is unlikely that the forgeries were produced in this colour. Only one variety is known:

On thick toned wove—⅛-Anna—Bright yellow.

This is harmless, the paper being quite unlike anything used for this value. The colour, also, is widely different from any used for originals, being far too yellow and too bright.


The ¼-Anna.

The forged plate of 15 Types is correct in height only, being ½-mm. too wide. These measurements have been taken, as with all the other plates, along the outer lines of the plate-subjects, and exclusive of the surrounding border. The difference in width is, here, scarcely appreciable in single specimens.

(i)  On thin white meshed wove—¼-Anna—Bright rose.

This needs comparison with originals, both paper and colour being dangerously like those of one particular printing of issued stamps.

(ii)  On thin hard unmeshed wove—¼-Anna—Vermilion.

Probably intended to represent an early variety, described by both Masson and Evans as printed in “Shiny” ink. The original variety was, however, from State I. of the plate. The pigment of the forgery is too thick and too glazed.

The paper is distinctly harder than that of any original thin wove.

This forgery has not been seen in black.

[page 280]

The ½-Anna.

The forged plate of 15 Types is correct in width, but short in height by 1½ mm. The difference is just sufficient to form a fairly reliable test for single copies.

Complete plate-impressions shew the top, bottom, and right borders to be too narrow. The “cross” to the left of Type 4 is too distinctly outlined and too large, having been reproduced by hand-engraving on the forged plate, and not as part of the photo-process.

(i)  On fine meshed medium wove.
½-Anna—Brown-lake : Scarlet.

The paper is quite unlike any original, as also is the brown-lake colour. The “scarlet” can be nearly matched by some original printings.


The 1-Anna (20 Types).
(Unknown.)


The 2-Annas.

The forged plate of 20 Types is nearly 2 mm. too narrow, and as much as 3½ mm. too short vertically, and even single copies are easily condemned by their small size. There are many varieties of this forgery, and various shades of most of the colours following.

(i)  On white laid.
2-Annas—Rose : Deep violet-blue (watercolour).

The paper and colours of these are dangerously like some originals.

(ii)  On thin meshed white wove.
2-Annas—Bright rose : Scarlet.

(iii)  Ditto but unmeshed.
2-Annas—Black : Deep blue : Violet-blue : Orange : Plum : Marone.

(iv)  On white pelure—2-Annas—Deep ultramarine.
(v)  On greenish-yellow tissue paper—2-Annas—Red.
(vi)  On bright green ditto—2-Annas—Marone.
(vii)  On very coarse yellow ditto—2-Annas—Red.
(viii)  On thin greenish-yellow wove—2-Annas—Red.

[page 281]

The 4 and 8-Annas.

The forged plate shews the sixteen correct subjects, and is unfortunately, correct in size. Complete plate-impressions are easily detected by the narrowness of the lower border of the 4-Annas, and of the upper border of the 8-Annas.

There are, also, other more or less minute differences in both the borders and impressions that, even if space permitted, it would be unwise to describe, lest this should lead to correction of the plates, should they still exist. Of all these deceptive “Brighton” forgeries, those of the 4-Annas and 8-Annas provide the most dangerous, in some of their forms; and where the following tables leave a doubt as to any particular impression, it should be left to the specialist to pronounce judgment. Neither denomination has yet been found on ordinary laid paper, but these, if they exist, would probably be most deceptive, particularly if in black.

(i)  On thin white meshed wove—4-Annas—Bright rose : Myrtle-green : Olive-green.
(ii)  On thin hard unmeshed wove—4-Annas—Bright rose : Scarlet.
(iii)  On white semi-pelure wove—4-Annas—Crimson red : Chestnut : Orange : Olive-green.

The last-named paper cannot deceive. There are varieties of shades in most of the colours and in the greens particularly. In the first two groups, comparison with known originals is often essential.

(i)  Thin white meshed wove—8-Annas—Bright rose.
(ii)  Thin hard unmeshed wove—Bright rose : Ultramarine : Orange : Bluish-black.
(iii)  White semi-pelure wove—Bright rose : Crimson red : Chestnut : Ultramarine : Deep blue.

The papers are identical with those of the 4-Annas, and our remarks on other features of that denomination apply equally to the 8-Annas forgery.

Before leaving the subject of forgeries, some allusion must be made to the “faking” of genuine stamps.

[page 282]


Cleaned stamps.

Of late years, Kashmir has not been a sufficiently “popular” country with philatelists to induce the faker to turn his energies in the direction of removing cancellations in order to make the stamps appear “unused.” Moreover, the “used.” stamp is frequently of considerably greater value than the unused, and in the case of the many stamps printed in watercolour an attempt to remove the cancellation might easily end in destroying the stamp itself. The New Rectangulars, however, being printed in insoluble ink, are not open to the latter objection, and some care is occasionally needed in the purchase of “unused.” In the early eighties, particularly the New Rectangulars were used to a considerable extent for fiscal purposes, such stamps being cancelled with pen and ink (the latter often soluble and even watercolour). Such cancellations are very easily removed, and the task would be rendered the more simple, since the unused stamps were never gummed at the back. The Masson collection contained a reconstructed plate of the 1-Anna in bright violet, nearly every stamp of which had had a fiscal cancellation removed. Much the same also occurred in a reconstructed sheet of the 2-Annas red on thin coarse wove.


Alteration of Denomination.

This has been occasionally found with the Watercolour Circular Stamps in cases, such as those of the ½-Anna and 4-Annas orange-red of Jammu, where one denomination is rare and the other common. The practice is confined to the tampering with the central numeral (which is easily done with a watercolour stamp), but a very slight knowledge of the differences in the outer-circle inscriptions will at once expose the fraud as such. We have seen a similar attempt to turn the ¼-Anna black of Kashmir (1867-78) into the rare 1-Anna black of 1867.


Forged Postmarks.

In some few cases in which the native stamps happen to be considerably rarer in used than in unused condition, forged postmarks applied to original stamps are occasionally met with. These are rarely dangerous, particularly when the stamps have been placed on original covers which, at one...

[page 283]
...time bore some different stamp. Collectors should, however, exercise caution when purchasing apparently used examples of the Jammu oil-printed stamps of 1877-78 obliterated with the “square black seal.”


Stamps “Canceled to Order.”

These, though not strictly forgeries, may quite appropriately be noticed here. This reprehensible practice was certainly employed during the New Rectangular period, though to a very much smaller extent to what Masson had imagined.

The only instance that we know of (though there were doubtless some others) seems to be proved by a number of sheets of four different denominations cancelled with the 3-Circle postmark of Gilgit dated 8th January, 1891. All the sheets were on the “pure white” thin wove paper, and included the ¼-Anna in pale brown, the ½-Anna in red and rose and the 1-Anna in grey-green. These four stamps are also known with the “Mailbag” and other special postmarks of 1891-94 and were, like the latter, probably cancelled by favour of the postal officials from part of the Remainder stock.

Collectors should also beware of the 3-circle postmark of Leh when printed in greenish-blue and dated “NO” (for November) without day or year. We have complete sheets so postmarked of the ½-Anna orange-red and 1-Anna greyish-green. Neither sheet shews any trace of having ever been affixed to a letter or parcel, and on the back of each appears a single Leh Postmark struck in black and dated “13 oc” (October). Of late years the study of cancellations in special colours has become a feature of advanced philately, and we should imagine that these sheets, also, may have been specially “cancelled-to-order” to meet the demands of collectors.

► Chapter XVII.

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