High Value Sheets of "Pakistan" Machine Overpirnts of Nasik

By Dr Ehtasham Ahmad

Collectors of Pakistan stamps are usually familiar with the rupee value stamps of British India stamps overprinted Pakistan at Nasik. However, it is not common to see multiples of these rupee values together especially in gutter blocks and hence not all collectors are very accustomed to the general look and arrangement of stamps in these high value sheets. These are the same sheets used ordinarily in British India rupee values of King George VI and various Arab states in Middle East where these stamps were again overprinted. What makes these Pakistan overprinted sheets unique is the scarcity of these sheets in existence which can display the full layout including gutter pairs.

As these sheets were large and difficult to handle, so these were divided, usually in vertical panes, before distribution to post offices and hence the scarcity of full or even part sheets in existence. Another reason behind little seen rupee value sheets is the cost. A single 1-rupee sheet would have cost 120 rupees at the time it was available for purchase. This was huge sum at the time of independence of Pakistan and was beyond the purchase power of most collectors. Imagine what would have been the price of a whole 15-rupee or 25-rupee sheet? So, it was customary practice for collectors to request singles or blocks of the rupee values, instead of the full sheets or part sheets.

The sheets were also folded for ease of handling and as a result unfolded gutters are rare compared to folded gutters, whether horizontal or vertical. Because of this reason unfolded gutters fetch more price than folded gutters in market.

Figure 1. The general layout of the full rupee value sheet. Individual sheets contain 120 stamps divided into 6 blocks of 20 stamps each across vertical and horizontal gutters.

Figure 2. The organization of the sheet is such that a full sheet of 120 stamps can yield 2 blocks of four stamps with a combination of horizontal and vertical gutter, 16 vertical gutter pairs and only 8 horizontal gutter pairs. Because of this, horizontal gutters are generally more expensive than the vertical gutters.

Two examples of combined gutters are shown below.

5-rupees ordinary combined gutter with horizontal and vertical gutter pairs.

2-rupee service combined gutter with horizontal and vertical gutter pairs.

If the 2 combined gutter pairs are also split then we have two possibilities. First is a full sheet yielding 12 horizontal and 16 vertical gutter pairs as depicted below in Figure 3.

Figure 3.

A second option after ignoring the 2 combined gutter pairs can give us 8 horizontal and 20 vertical pairs as shown in Figure 4. Thus, in all three formats, the number of vertical gutter pairs is always more than the horizontal gutter pairs.

Figure 4.

1-rupee service horizontal gutter.

2-rupee service horizontal gutter pair.

Block of four with 2 vertical gutter pairs

Now I am going to quote some examples to better explain the full sheet bit by bit.

This 1-rupee service sheet displays the bottom right corner, as highlighted below in the illustration (Figure 5)

Figure 5.

Again, bottom right half of a 2-rupee service sheet with left wing margins missing as shown below (Figure 6)

This 5-rupee service sheet shows the top left corner of the full sheet; shown in the diagram below (Figure 7)

Figure 7.

Because these sheets are rare and highly sought after so it’s no surprise that like all other areas of Pakistan Overprints 1947-49, forgeries exist. One must be cautious while studying this unique period of Pakistan philately. For the attention of the reader, one example is displayed here.

Pane of 6 with gutter in the middle.

  • Note the word “service” missing from the three stamps on the right.

  • The size of the overprint is clearly not correct and helps in differentiating from the original without much trouble.

I hope the reader has found this article useful in better understanding high value rupee sheets of Pakistan Machine overprints from Nasik.

I welcome any suggestions and feedback at ehtasham999@hotmail.com.