Wednesday, October 18, 2006
From F.E. Wood - "The early stamp obliterators , issued in October 1854, consisted of a diamond of dots and the size varied from 8 dots by 8 to 11 by 12. As similar ones were also used in Indian post offices it is not possible to distinguish stamps used in straits settlements, unless they are on original cover. Mr. R.D. Lockhart has expressed an opinion that one postmark, used in singapore consisted of a diamond of hollow dots 8 by 8, is sufficiently distinctive to identify it as a Singapore mark without extraneous evidence. Mr Jal Cooper ;however, writing in India Stamp Journal of March 1944, states that similar examples of "hollow" dots have been found used on letters from Mian Mir to Delhi." .
Therefore stamps by themselves cannot be claimed to be from Singapore/Straits settlements based on the diamond-of-dots or hollow diamond-of-dots cancel. They have to be on cover and additional information on the cover itself would confirm or deny their usage from the Straits Settlements.
Covers With 4anna Pairs
These are rare. In 1972 Jal Cooper had believed only one such pair existed. However, a few have appeared in auction since then and based on the Robson Lowe(September 1986), David Feldman (1986) , and Spink (Sep 2001) sales, I would estimate around 20/30 such covers to be in existence.
Another cover used in Straits Settlements bearing a pair of the 1854 4 anna pair - fourth printing. Offered for sale in September 1986 (Christie's Robson Lowe) . Note the usage of the diamond of dots cancel (more common than the hollow diamond of dots) and that the stamps seem tied to the cover by the accountancy marks.
India Used Abroad , Mr Jal Cooper
Straits Settlements Postage Stamps , F.E. Wood
Saturday, October 14, 2006
Thus for most of the collectors SG8-11 were the first issues of the state and these were thus mostly broken down from their sheets/blocks into singles. Most of the multiple / complete blocks that survived were of the tete-beche variety. A large block of 8 (SG9c) was recently offered in the Sturton sale - complete sheets of 16 are rare. Given that multiples of this issue are scarce, and given that the tete-beche stamps themselves are rare ; therefore, blocks of tete-beche stamps are rarities. It is estimated that less than 20 of these tete-beche pairs can exist of the half-anna, one-anna and two-anna stamps. The four anna tete-beche stamps are a bit more common.
The following have been seen in major auctions:
SG8a - half anna black on green - seven horizontal tete-beche pairs
SG9? - one anna black on white - two tete-beche pairs with additional oval seal cancel
Did not have any tete-beche pairs !!
SG8a - block of fourteen showing four horizontal tete-beche varieties (ex Haverbeck). This was cut out from the block containing the seven horizontal tete-beche in Haverbeck
SG8? - one tete-beche pair (no image provided)
SG9? - two tete-beche pairs one pair with additional oval seal cancel (ex Haverbeck)
SG11b - eight vertical tete-beche pairs
SG8a - block of four (ex Haverbeck, ex Couvrier)
SG8ba - two blocks of eight vertical tete-beche
SG9a - two horizontal tete-beche pairs
SG11a - one horizontal tete-beche pair
SG11a - eight horizontal tete-beche pairs
SG11b - eight vertical tete-beche pairs
SG 11b - one pair
SG 11b - one pair
Stanley Gibbons Auction April 1980
SG11b - irregular block of five with two pairs and a pencil '4' inscribed on central margin
Friday, October 13, 2006
What is especially rare about the telegraph receipt depicted is the denomination - it bears four two-rupees telegraph stamps and an eight anna stamp on the reverse (not shown) and is dated 1903 ! Note that telegraph stamps meant for official use were printed in black - so this was initiated by a private party! Interesting enough, in 1908 the remainder of the 5Rs telegraph stamps were over-printed eight annas, the 2Rs overprinted two annas, etc - clearly proving a point about the exceptional franking of the item above in the context of Jammu & Kashmir.
What is the worth of eight rupees in 1903 ? From a case in findlaw - the exchange rate was 32cents per Rupee in 1905 meaning that the receipt has the equivalent of $2.56 (in 1905 terms !!).
So in 2004, $2.56 from 1905 is worth:
$54 using the Consumer Price Index , $400 if invested in the Dow Jones, $1,070 using the relative share of GDP and millions if invested in California Real Estate.
India, 1855 entire to Hamburg endorsed within "Singapore 20th April 1855", franked with vertical pair 1854 4a blue and red imperf, Head II, Frame I wmk part coat-of-arms Pos 5/9 of sheet, cut to shape at top and bottom (SG19) cancelled by diamond of hollow dots cancels and tied by manuscript "6/4" handstamped Hamburg 30-5 cds, top stamp with centre row fold - As described in the September, 2006 BPA certificate. The condition of the above cover is evident from the opened out images below.
Convention Essays - Godinho, Philatelic Journal Of India, 1918
Subsequently in 1951 they were also documented in the Robson Lowe - Encyclopaedia of British Empire Postage Stamps where the stamp is depicted and with the description "Kashmir was invited to join the Postal Convention with six other states ... Agreement was not reached but the original suggestion for the overprint is illustrated"
Additional information on the history of Convention State overprints and Rai Daulat Ram Bahadur can be found in the Handbook of Convention States (actual title: British Indian Adhesive Stamps (Queen's Head) Surcharged for Native States) By Stewart-Wilson and Gordon Jones. Snippets from the book are as under.
Patiala was the first to execute a "Convention" treaty with the Imperial Post Office in 1884.
Patiala - We now come to the state, which but for our arbitrary alphabetical arrangement, ought really to have occupied our attention first of all, as it was in connection with enquiries into its postal arrangements that the idea of "conventions" of the nature we have been considering first of all originated, the convention of this nature was entered into with this state, and the first ideas as to over-printing were the outcome of the wishes of Patiala.
The state is administered on modern and highly enlightened lines. A railway has been constructed and canals dug, with the result that the population shows a rapid increase owing to influx from outside.
Its original and very primitive internal postal arrangements were used almost entirely for the transmission of state correspondence, and the need for stamps was not felt. In 1877 , the government of India, feeling that it was important that Native States local stamps should bear a device totally different from that on the stamps of British India, requested that in future no Native State should issue postage stamps of its own without the approval of Government being first obtained to the design. This circular appears to have suggested to the Patiala Council of Regency (for the late Maharaja was then in his minority) the advisability of the state having its own stamps, In the end of 1879, accordingly, it submitted a design for a postage stamp for approval. Unfortunately it has been impossible to secure a copy of this essay.
The Government of India, while raising no objection to the design, suggested that the Punjab Government should endeavour to induce the the Council of Regency to consent to the extension of the Imperial postal system throughout the state. The reply of the Council of Regency did not arrive till 1882, and was to the effect that “ the postal system of the State were complete in themselves, and were framed with reference to the requirements of the state , all the officials employed being Patiala subjects.” As they desired that the existing arrangements might continue, the Government of India did not press its former suggestion , but at the request of the Director-General of the Post Office of India , observed that something should be done to reform the very faulty arrangement for the exchange of correspondence , especially of money orders, between the Imperial Post Office and the Patiala State. It was added that the Director-General of the Post Office of India would be directed to assist the Durbar in working out a new scheme.
The Durbar agreed, and the negotiations on the part of the Imperial Post Office were entrusted to Rai Daulat Ram Bahadur, C.I.E., ( now Post Master General of Gwalior). This was the germ of all the conventions that we have been considering. It was then that the idea of surcharging British India stamps was first heard of.
Gwalior - Gwalior is the fortunate possessor of an unusually efficient postal system, with its head quarters in the capital city of lashkar, and managed by Rai Daulat Ram Bahadu C.I.E, Postmaster General of The State, a Gentlemanwho recently left the service of the Imperial post after a very long and extremely distinguished career, on the same principles as the Imperial BritishIndian Post Office.....The postal convention between the Government of India and H.H Maharaja Scindia was signed on 28th April, 1885, but did not come into force until 1st July of that year.In April 1884 the first request was made by Gwalior Durbar for the preparation of overprinted postage stamps.
It was asked that in addition to the word "Gwalior", they should bear the arms of the state viz the sun and the two serpents. Proofs were printed in compliance with this request but the impression of the arms had perforce to be so small that his Highness decided in September 1884 to have thename of the state printed in Bold letters in English and Hindim and to omit the arms, except in the case of post-cards and embossed envelopes.
Jhind - The Jhind Durbar at first desired to have its stamps overprinted with the State arms as well as with the name and proofs of such a stamp appear to have been made. The design was , however, too cramped and the expense of surcharging would have been very great, so it was abandoned.
British Indian Adhesive Stamps (Queen's Head) Surcharded For Native States. Stewart-Wilson, Gordon-Jones
First Edition published in 1897 and the Second Edition published in 1904 in Calcutta. Note that the first discussions on "Convention State Essays" were made in 1883 - the two authors experienced history as it happened !!
Gordon Jones , the co-author of the book of above book on Convention states was also the person who discovered the Convention State Essays.
Idar SG F1 on cover . Extremely rare. For a long time only one such cover was known and sold by Stanley Gibbons as unique in 1995.
The limited usage of the stamp is perhaps due to its being an intermediate / test issue. Note that all early stamps of Idar were in shades of Green and the later stamps of Idar (the postal fiscals) were all in violet. This is the only stamp having both a shade of green and a shade of violet.
The Philatelic Journal Of India, February 1897 using notes supplied by C.L.Pigott.
There have been many articles written about the Duttia cover by eminent philatelists (Stoney, Garrat Adams, Frits Staal, Peter Rover), the first two are as below.
R.F. Stoney's Article In The Philatelic Journal Of India - February 1948
Garratt Adams Article In The Philatelic Journal Of Great Britain April-June 1950
Garratt Adams Article In The Philatelic Journal Of Great Britain Oct-Dec 1950
The unique SG2 copy (and the only Duttia Stamp with a red control seal) has since been added to the Stanley Gibbons British Commonwealth catalogue as SG2b and valued at 20,000 british pounds (for used , mint is not known). The used SG3 is catalogued at 3750 british pounds. What would be a reasonable multiple for these stamps on cover ? Note that as per the 2004 Stanley Gibbons British Commonwealth catalogue rare covers of Jind (as an example) catalogued at a multiple of 100 (times the value of the stamps on cover) !
From the article "Duttia - Handstamp" by Mr. A.R. Singhee:
All the Duttia state postage stamps and postal stationary were impressed with the circular handstamp seal before issue, as a rule. The seal is about 13 mm. in diameter and has a figure of the God 'Ganeshji' in seated positionn at the centre, surrounded by an inscription "Duttia State Postage 1893" in devnagari. So far this seal has always been regarded and recorded as the seal of the Maharaja Bhawani Singh of Duttia state, but this attribution seems to be incorrect. It is evident from the Devnagiri inscription on the seal, that it was a postal sealm and probably used by the treasurer or the in-charge of the postal administration to autehnticate the postage stamps and postal stationary items.
Thursday, October 12, 2006
Genuninely used (i.e. mail that required Bamra postage for travel through the postal system, delivered with an arrival cancel, and is adequately/correctly franked) Bamra postal stationary is exceedingly rare (so far just four are known). This cover besides being one of four genuinely used has the distinction of being the earliest postal history item (stamps and postal stationary) known. The cover is addressed to a dealer of stamps ; as were other genuninely used correspondence from Bamra that have survived. The first such recorded correspondence was on 21st April, 1890 to Messrs Stanley Gibbons indicating the existence of a postal system and enclosing samples of issued stamps.
Note that in the Handbook of Indian Philately , in the section on Bamra written by Benns, it is said that the earliest date recorded for Bamra cancels is 21.2.1891.
Note that similar essays had supposedly been created (as documented in the next article) for Patiala , Gwalior and Jhind - however none have been discovered so far. The significance of these is therefore not just in the context of Jammu & Kashmir , but as a crucial item in the history of all convention states (i.e. the states that signed a treaty with the Imperial Post Office for the use of overprinted British India stamps).
The expense in creating the above essays in 1883 is quite evident especially as each stamp is overprinted in a different colour. This is an unique set with just two additional such overprinted stamps known to exist elsewhere.
Jno Godinho has stated in his article that "These essays must be of the greatest rarity and have been absorbed into one of the great collections at home". Jno Godinho and his nephew Hamilton Godinho were renowned collectors of Indian Feudatory States (Ref. The Philatelic Journal Of India, September 1946)