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So Who's Afraid Of The Indian States?

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Posted 04/03/2010   01:51 am  Show Profile Check jubilee's eBay Listings Bookmark this reply Add jubilee to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
Hi Mike, sherro here. How's things?
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Posted 04/03/2010   02:25 am  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add tonymacg to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
Before leaving the Sacred Cows, I should mention the Service overprints. These were made, supposedly, to create stamps for Bundi government use ... however, at the time, government mail seems to have been carried free. The stamps were certainly freely available to collectors though. The post office clerks were, it is said, most obliging, and would apply the overprints in almost any position desired by the buyer, and in different colours if an appropriately coloured ink pad was to hand.

There were three types of overprint used, the 'Native'



(SG O38A)

the 'Small British'



SG O6B

and the 'Large British' in a complete sheet of SG O6C



As I said, government mail seems to have been carried free at the time of these stamps, so there should have been no need for them. However, genuinely used copies do exist



(SG O8bB (position 2) and SG O17aB - from Setting 20, which combined Types B and C)

This sheet happens to total 4 annas, which was the registered letter rate. Perhaps these stamps were not required for sale to a gullible collector, so were used up for (gasp) postage.

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Posted 04/03/2010   02:38 am  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add tonymacg to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
One more oddity of the Sacred Cows mentioned in a footnote by Gibbons is the Our Day stamp:



Here, the words Raj Bundi in the top panel have been replaced by 'Our Day'; 'Raj Bundi' appears in the bottom panel, where the value normally appeared, and the value 'One Anna' appears in the bottom margin. Our Day was a day of fund-raising for the war effort during World War I across much of India in 1917. The Our Day stamps were apparently purely for charity, but this copy seems to have a postal cancellation. So far, I haven't found any explanation for this.

The Sacred Cows had one last incarnation, during World War II. At the time, there was a shortage of small change - the metal was needed for more pressing matters - and several Indian States produced Cash Coupons. These were stamp-sized items (or in at least one case, closely resembling a train ticket) issued as substitutes for small change. The Sacred Cows plates were pressed into service in this way, with serial numbers printed on the reverse:



(One anna was worth roughly a penny Sterling; 3 pies was about a farthing)

Finally, a word of warning. The Sacred Cows were widely used as fiscals, usually with pen markings. Beware of cleaned copies offered as unused!



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Posted 04/03/2010   02:41 am  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add tonymacg to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply

Quote:
dear tony I can assure you that bndi didnt start in 1994 :)

there are 2 kinds of stamps

mnh with gum
and mnh without gum

and no we are not sending anything to germany to doctor stamps.

if you have any stamps that you want t sell you should also add a note so we know :)


Very careless of me: of course, it was 1894!

But selling? I am the original black hole. Once stamps enter my collection, they very rarely emerge again.
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Posted 04/03/2010   02:55 am  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add spock1k to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
surely a collector of your taste has multiple copies of the same thing? so you can spread the love around by getting rid f the ones that you hav more than 10 copies of? how does that sound?
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Posted 04/03/2010   03:59 am  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add tonymacg to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
Unappealing
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Posted 04/03/2010   05:56 am  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add tonymacg to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
After the baroque complexities of the Sacred Cows, the later issues of Bundi were a bit of a letdown.

The Sacred Cows were replaced in 1941 by a set of 7 values from 3 pies to 1 Rupee showing the coat of arms of Bundi:



SG 79-85

Obviously, someone liked blue stamps.

These were overprinted SERVICE for government use



A word of warning might be in order here. Gibbons prices the high values (8 anna and 1 Rupee) of these sets used. They may actually have been postally used, but the need would have been microscopic. Genuinely used copies of these values will almost certainly have been favour cancelled. And when a mint copy of the unoverprinted 1 Rupee is listed at £42 and a used copy at £325, the astute reader will see that there could be a temptation to 'improve'. Certain dealers in the UK and US have been known to have access to copies of Indian States stamps that are much rarer used than mint - access which seems to be denied to others. You be the judge.

Bundi's last set as a separate State was again of seven values from 3 pies to 1 Rupee, showing the ruler in Indian and Western dress, and a view of Bundi town. Pretty unremarkable



SG 92

and a sad end to a distinguished stamp-issuing career.
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Posted 04/03/2010   07:42 am  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add tonymacg to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
The next State on the list, Bussahir, is a prime example of why collectors tend to shy away from the Indian States. The chances are that, if you own a Bussahir stamp at all, it's a remainder, reprint or imitation. I haven't done a proper count of my collection, but I'd estimate I have perhaps ten remainders, reprints and imitations for every genuine stamp.

Bussahir began issuing stamps in 1895 and the State post office was closed in 1901 - but the State accounts show it was still earning revenue from the sale of its stamps in the 1940s. These were remainders, reprints and imitations; by the 1940s, they were probably down to the imitations.

There were two sets of genuine Bussahir stamps, the first inscribed 'STAMP'



SG 11

the second inscribed POSTAGE



They were all supposed to be stamped with an RS monogram of the director of the State Post Office, Raghunath Singh. This is what the monogram should look like:



Occasionally - very occasionally - it was missed, but stamps with no monogram should be approached with caution. Inspect them closely to see whether anything has been removed.

Used copies aren't particularly hard to find, but the great majority are CTO. Stamps on small pieces with nice neat RAMPUR cancellations are probably CTO. There was a considerable cottage industry in affixing stamps to sheets of paper, cancelling them, and then cutting them up into bite-sized pieces for collectors



SG 35a

Nothing wrong with this, of course. Genuine postally used are hard to find. Rampur was the main post office; there were also post offices at Rorhu and Chini. Find a Rorhu or Chini postmark and you have a scarce, and strictly postal, item.

There is one other, rather curious, source of genuine used. The registered letter system at Bussahir operated in its own way. The stamps weren't stuck to the letter, but were pasted down and cancelled in a ledger. Some pages of the ledgers made their way out to the market, and items from them turn up occasionally, like this



SG 38 + 40a and SG 38 + 42a

As I said above, there are plenty of remainders, reprints and imitations. The remainders are easy to pick. They were all cancelled RAMPUR 19 MA 1900



The reprints and imitations usually have the wrong monogram or the monogram of Padam Singh, the successor to Raghunath Singh. There are a number of types of these monograms, but only a couple that the average collector is likely to come across



The imitations are even more easy to spot, since they're in the wrong colours or on the wrong papers (generally, if it's a second (POSTAGE) series and it's on laid paper, it's an imitation). Here is a great-looking block



which is oh so wrong: wrong monogram (PS not RS) and wrong colour (pink instead of vermilion).

There is an upside to all this downside of course. So many collectors distrust Bussahir, you just may be able to pick up the odd genuine item, which another collector has discarded in disgust

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Posted 04/03/2010   11:43 am  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add spock1k to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
you should write a book and I will write the foreword whcih will make it a instant hit :)
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Posted 04/03/2010   9:04 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add tonymacg to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
Hard cover books are old hat, Spock. This sort of forum is the new book - and much more accessible!

I could have mentioned, in my section on Bussahir above, that there is a book by Robert Bateman, The Postal History of Bussahir. He printed and published it himself back in the 1950s in an edition of 100. It's a bit of a rarity now, although a hundred copies was probably rather a lot for such a subject at the time. I have a copy, but how many other would-be collectors of Bussahir do or can hope to? No: I think online is the way to go.
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Posted 04/03/2010   9:56 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add tonymacg to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
Charkhari is another state with a rather bad smell to its name - not entirely due to its own efforts.

In its first period, from 1894, Charkhari produced a number of stamps in values between ¼ Anna and 4 Annas in designs like this:



They have been extensively forged and remaindered or CTOed.

In the very first issue, the ¼ Anna was rose and the other values were in 'dull green', with the values expressed as ANNAS, for the 1 ANNAS as well. (The S was later dropped for all values.) These first stamps are quite rare, and are almost always in horrible condition.

The State became a little more ambitious in 1909, producing a long set up to 1 Rupee in this design:



The 1 Pice (= 3 pies = ¼ anna) stamp above has a nice spelling error on one stamp, 'CHARKHAPI' instead of 'CHARKHARI'. This is listed by Gibbons as SG 15c: you can see it on row 2 stamp 1 in the block above.

These stamps have also been forged.

There are some curious oddities from this set as well. At some point, someone seems to have surcharged some values from this set in manuscript and with higher values than the face values. Some experts on Charkhari accept them as genuine, and they sell for very fancy prices. AFAIK, though, noone has been able to show one of them genuinely used on cover. These surcharges aren't listed in the catalogues.

In 1912, and again in 1917, and again in 1921, Charkhari seems to have run low on certain values of its stamps, and resorted to provisionals like these:



These were a bit too much of a temptation to the forgers, and once again, forgeries exist. The stamp on the left is a forgery; the one on right is genuine a genuine SG 28.

The other type of provisional has also been forged, and the forgeries keep on cropping up on eBay. Here is a genuine block of SG 30



and here is a forgery



Not a very good forgery: the Charkhari Post Office knew how to spell 'POSTAGE', but the forger apparently didn't

These provisionals were intended for use both as postage and revenue stamps. Beware of cleaned up fiscal usages!

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Posted 04/04/2010   8:25 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add tonymacg to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
If you were looking to put together a cheap and cheerful display of what can go wrong in the printing of stamps, you could do worse than try the 1931 pictorial set from Charkhari:



SG 45-53

There's always been a bad smell around this set, and for good reason. Thousands of sets were dumped on the market CTO, mint sets were sold at under face, and there's lots of what is arguably printer's waste around as well. (For many years, Gibbons refused to list the various errors, and they still haven't caught up with everything that exists.)

The errors range from the humble, like offsets, as on this 5 Rupee block:



and the front:



through the mainstream, like this imperf between pair (catalogued, incidentally, at £11 mint and £8.50 CTO)



SG 46a

to the slightly bizarre, like this imperf horizontally block of four, gummed on both sides of the paper:



and this



SG 52b

And if that wasn't enough to pique the interest of the collector, these stamps exist perforated in three gauges, 11, 11½ and 12, and also compound. All the basic stamps exist in all three gauges, and I'm trying to complete my collection of the errors in the different gauges as well. I think this will happily see me through to retirement from collecting (By the way, the imperf between pair SG 46a above has compound perfs.)
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Posted 04/04/2010   9:02 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add tonymacg to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
Having burnt their fingers on the last set, the Charkhari authorities decided to play it safe, and reverted to the old designs. (In fact, they had started the year before, in 1930.) This time, though, to save money and avoid shortages, they decided to print them locally, without gum and imperf.

The printers were using large sheets of paper, twice the size of the printing plate, so the printers printed one impression, then turned the paper around and printed a second impression:



SG 37a

For the lowest value, the 1 Pice, the printers sometimes varied the routine, by flipping the paper over, and printing on the reverse side.



SG 31a

Whether out of a desire to extract a few more rupees from the collector, or sheer boredom, the colours of the stamps were changed. The 1 Anna, for example appeared in three basic colours, with shades.



SG 39-41

The printers also occasionally used pelure and laid papers. Some of these variations are rather expensive - others are still very cheap.

Finally, in the early years of WWII, Charkhari decided to use up stocks of redundant high values - the 8 Annas and 1 Rupee stamps - by surcharging them with more useful values of ½ Anna and 1 Anna.



SG 54

and



SG 56 (used on cover with a pair of SG 31c, which was also issued in 1939)

That concludes Charkhari. Collecting the whole state is out of the question, unless you have very deep pockets, but collecting pockets of Charkhari is quite doable, and great fun
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Posted 04/05/2010   09:46 am  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add tonymacg to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
Cochinis another of the heavyweights of the Indian States, and one of the least scary. All Cochin stamps have inscriptions in English and Malayalam, the local language. They were printed by orthodox processes - letterpress, recess and offset-litho - and they only require the use of the orthodox philatelic skills, such as detecting watermarks and measuring perforations.

Though speaking of detecting watermarks ... The first two issues of Cochin



are said to exist with no watermark or a watermark of a large umbrella in the sheet, or a small umbrella on each stamp. I've always found trying to sort out the watermarks diabolical, and there just isn't enough difference in value between the two types to make me want to risk my eyesight and sanity distinguishing them However, it is still worth checking the papers of the yellow ½ Puttan stamps. Those on laid paper



SG 4 - trust me

are well worth having.

I always hate admitting I've made a fool of myself, but I did on this one:



This is a 1 Puttan in the colour of the 2 Puttan. It's perfectly genuine - I have a certificate that says so - but it was a special fiscal printing. Don't you be suckered
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Posted 04/05/2010   09:49 am  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add spock1k to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
very nice. I have vulcanitis now but surely these were a stamp before dying :)

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