Postage Stamps of Jammu and Kashmir
by Chander M. Bhat
Post in Jammu and Kashmir existed as early as 1820. This was carried by runners. Jammu and Kashmir had both joint and separate stamps on issue concurrently in 1866-77. All the issues were inscribed in native script only. Separate stamps issued in Jammu and Kashmir discontinued on 1st Nov. 1894. The then Poonch, a feudatory state tributary to Jammu and Kashmir had it own postal system and separate stamps were used by this part of the region till 1894.
From 1866 to 1878 Jammu and Kashmir stamps were printed by hand in black, blue, red, green and yellow watercolours. All of these stamps were printed at the Jammu printing works, with supplies for use in Kashmir sent there periodically.
The blue watercolours show a considerable variety of different shades. Stamps were printed in small batches as required using a mixture of pigments, which was virtually impossible to reproduce exactly. Individual prints may have the paint thickly applied or more of less watery, so that the general appearance of different stamps from the same issue may vary. As with the blue watercolours, the red and orange watercolour issues exhibit a variety of different shades and the pigment colour shade can usually be used to identify the period of printing and use of these stamps.
The first use of the orange shade was for the 1a Kashmir old rectangular, when the ½a and 1a composite plate was split in July 1867. Red watercolours were introduced in 1868 for the Kashmir 8as single die and the earliest date for the Jammu old rectangulars is May 1868. Printing in red watercolours with periodic limited issues in orange continued for the Jammu old rectangulars until the introduction of the oil colours in about June 1877. The 1a and 8as Kashmir rectangular continued to be used until the introduction of the new rectangular designs in May 1878. The 4as circular was the highest value printed for use in Jammu and the ½a and 1a circulars were occasionally used to supplement temporary shortages of the Jammu rectangular, although it is possible that they were originally printer’s trail for the rectangular.
All the above stamps were in use till 1st November 1894.