Kashmir & Lasbela

Prologue of The Forthcoming

J          K          L

Jammu, Kashmir & Lasbela

A detailed study of stamps & posts.

(By Iqbal A. Nanjee & Shahid A. Zaki)

Iqbal A. Nanjee              Reason for Compiling 'JKL'

The historical facts connect the postal history of Jmmu & Kashmir to Sialkot or Murree (now part of Pakistan) and it was at these tow exchange post offices that the post from the tow states entered the outer world. Similarly the post office at Kahuta served as an exchange office for the state of Poonch. This fascinating postal route extension in the pre-independence postal history of Pakistan gives a better knowledge of our background.

Though much has been written on Jammu & Kashmir, actually collecting it brings one to new discoveries and unveiling of unrecorded facts, some of which improve the understanding of the subject, even if they do not change the perception of its philatelic scenario. The task is somewhat difficult for one who has little knowledge of the two languages spoken & written in these states -Persian and Dogri. These languages not only form the text on the stamps of the two states but also constitute the dates and destinations, the postal routes and thus most of the postal history. In the article we have tried our best to teach the reader to at least read the dates and the destinations.

The subject is complicated and as one explores the relative abundance of reprints and forgeries, giving up would seem to be a reasonable choice. Jammu & Kashmir is not rare without a reason. The existence and survival of the watercolor impressions in a damp climate with high rate of rainfall is a genuine reason for rarity. The crude and mottled appearance of the genuine stamps which is a welcome signal for the forgers who did not even have to be very accurate or precise, is another fact that enforces the rarity of genuine J & K material.Updating on net is excellent but when it comes to a book which one can access with ease, and the fact that nothing was complied after 1995, JKL seems to be the only possible answer for a Jammu-Kashmir lover.


Pioneering A Task! 

The State of Las Bela, now part of Pakistan, and open to public, was once a Territory remote even for the British, the most powerful rulers of the nineteenth century. It has been a hundred years now but the latest catalogues just mention the shades of paper, size of stamps, and only the sheet arrangements of the 15 stones of Las Bela 1/2a Stamp. This philatelic gold mine, which deserved the 'rare' class, is still lying un researched and thus least appreciated. The identical appearance of the Las Bela 1/2a stamps turned off many a researcher. Thus a horse and a mule remained the same.

Doing research on Las Bela was a painstaking and frustrating task. It was purely luck that enabled us to gather material from all over the world (in many years, of course); otherwise, the endeavor would have been a search for a needle in a hay stack. Moreover, the discovery of four new stones, other than those recorded so far, was another reason for undertaking this mission.To offer the enthusiasts and students of Jammu Kashmir and Las Bela, a prologue of the forthcoming book ' JKL' (Jammu, Kashmir and Lasbella by Iqbal A. Nanjee and Shahid A. Zaki, we hereby present a mini compilation. The Booklet is assembled from selected chapters of the book, bound to warm-up students & philatelist of Jammu, Kashmir and 

Las Bela.

A - Introduction

B - The Stamps & their Plating


Jammu 1/2 Circular 

 C - State Postal Marking

D - British Postal Markings


E - Postal Routes

F - Production


G - Reprints


H - Forgeries

J - Chronology

 The Earliest known usage of Jammu Circular to Europe in Jan (error for 'JUN' 1866. Probably unique! (Nanjee Collection)

New Discoveries

Srinagar Seal was struck in brick red before November 1877, and in black from then until 1879


Seals were used at Laddakh till 1882. The postcard in Nanjee collection is posted from Laddakh in 1889. After the opening of Imperial Indian P.O. at Laddakh, the state stamps & stationery were almost out of use.


The postcard written at Laddakh, was sent uncancelled to Gilgit, where it was cancelled and dispatched for Jammu via Srinagar.

The Plating of Stamps

1 Anna Black (Official) on thin, toned, wove paper in full sheet of 20. The plating of each stamp is listed at below.




Plating of the Stamps:

(The normal presence of the dots are not mentioned):


The 'Blobs' on Officials

The ' Blobs' on Half Anna


Further Important Details

A - Introduction

1.     History and Geography

        A detailed history of the ruling family and the involvement and control of the British is accompanied by a comprehensive chapter on the cities of Kashmir. Traveling distances between two destinations are also listed in alphabetical order, in miles.


2.     Maps of Kashmir

        Separate maps of Jammu, Kashmir and Poonch. A detailed city map of Srinagar.

3/4.   Samvat & Hijri Calendars

         A detailed conversion table of Samvat and Hijri to Christian calendar for easy dating of postal history items.

5. Persian, Dogri & Merchant Scripts

     A helpful list of Persian, Dogri and Merchant alphabets and words as expressed in postal history addresses.


B - The Stamps & their Plating

1/3. Jammu 1/2a - 4a Circular:

       Enlarged drawings of each of the three Jammu Circulars, highlighting features of the design for better understanding and separating forgeries. See the detailed drawing of the 4a Circular on the following page.


The Drawing of 4a Jammu Circular


Design Zones:

      Consider the stamp a pizza, cut into eight equal slices, each named after its approximate position by hours of a clock. The skeleton ' square' can be reproduced on transparent film and placed over the stamp, according to the charted drawing. Particular 'Time Zone' can be compared. Anything different than the drawing of the genuine die should be taken as a forgery. As far as the reprints are concerned, they will match the drawing chart but differ in other aspects (e.g.. paper, printing ink, clarity of impression, etc.)


4a Circular, 5 o'clock Zone

     The only section with 3 1/2 rays of sun. The word 'Jammu' is almost completely, in this zone, except for the last crescent-like character, which the line 'D' divides into two equal halves. The line 'D' cuts the dot inside the final character into two unequal parts, lesser one being here.  The two dot-like flower petals above this character are also separated by this line. Tip of the 'sat' part of the word 'riyasat' may or may not appear in this zone. The 'r' of the work 'sarkaar' enters in considerably, pointing exactly towards the stem base of the 'jeem' of "Jammu'.


C - State Postal Markings

Kashmir (Srinagar):

A negative seal, 18mm in diameter, were used by Srinagar post office from 1866 to 1877  in brick red and then in black up to 1879. This and similar seals were thought to be in some other use before the advent of postage stamps, and then used as cancellers probably because they had lost their other function and simply happened to be available.  This is not so. They were meant to be postal markings and used as such. This is well substantiated by the text they carry.

An unrecorded usage of the Srinagar seal in black in 1873 has been discovered on a cover ( Nanjee Collection) from Srinagar to Bedford, England. It is presumed that the Srinagar seal was applied to this cover on reverse flap, i n black, endorsing delayed dispatch of a loose letter, found by the Srinagar post office.


D - British Postal Markings

Kashmir (Srinagar):

      The first postmark introduced by the Imperial British Indian P.O. was an undated circular marking duplexes with a diamond of receding bars enclosing a boxed 'C'.  This was introduced in 1867 and used till 1970. Earlier to this, state letters were upgraded in postage and cancelled by duplex postmarks at Sialkot P.O.


The 1/4a black official on yellow-toned thin wove paper. It is included in the New Colors section because of the papermakers' control mark embossment is explicitly late, i.e., of a hitherto unreported 1885 in the upper-right corner. ex Séfi, who read the date as 1883.