Compiled from the key work: - Specialised Catalogue of Early India Lithographs 1854-1855 Dawson L.E., & Smythies E.A, pp26: 1933 2nd Ed. [Plus 17 Plates]
Half Anna Shades
Die I A stone:
Commonest: Pale dull blue, dull blue, deep dull blue.
Less common: Pale bright blue, Milky blue, Bright deep blue.Scarcer: Indigo, Slate blue
I have never come across a slate-like blue before, but have seen a few greenish-blue instances, but unlike those found on Die III
Half Anna Die I Rare stones:
A1-A2-A3-A4: Bright deep blue, Pale blue
B1-B2: Dull blue, Pale blue
Scarcer: Slate grey
Often clearer early state impressions mostly brighter shades, especially rare A stones. Paler shades also tend to be brighter. I have never encountered slate-grey, and is perhaps referring to a deeper dull like blue?
Half Anna Die I B stone:
More common: Pale blue, Dull blue, Deep Blue, Steel blue.
Scarcer: Indigo, Slate grey, Greenish blue
I do not necessarily agree with all shade labels mentioned, especially Slate grey, but do feel the increased definition is of benefit, based on describing many examples of these Die I issues. They serve to illustrate a more realistic shade diversity encountered, and indicate such observations like B stone shades tend to be generally duller less bight than shades of A stone.
Half Anna Die II C stone:
More common: Dull Blue, Steel Blue, Indigo
Scarce: Grey blue
In my opinion shades on this die tend to be darker in general.
Half Anna Die III D stone:
More common: Pale blue, Greenish blue
Less Common: Deep Blue
Blue is a Gibbons shade dumping ground. Most blues on this die have some degree of greenish influence, and so blue without greenish influence might be seen as less common.
One Anna Shades
One Anna Die I A stone:
More common: Pale Red, Dull red
Less common: Bright red, Deep red
Scarcer: Very deep carmine-red
My own findings approximately concur with these older shade definitions
One Anna Die I B stone:
More common: Pale red, Dull red
Less Common: Bright red, Deep red
Noted as Rare stones in this early publication.
One Anna Die II C stone:
More common: Dull red
Slightly less common: Red, Deep red, Deep vermillion
Not well aligned with SG
One Anna Die II D stone:
More common: Pale red, Dull red
Less common: Deep red, Bright red
This stone is generally approximately three times less common than Die I C stone examples according to authors pricing
One Anna Die III E stone:
Scarcer: Bright red, Deep red, Vermillion, Dull red
The dull red shade on this Die is segregated from various other shades encountered that are all placed in the same SG16 shade dumping ground. The authors do not differentiate dull red as being any scarcer unused!
Four Anna 1st Printing 11 Frame stones
Shade combinations: Pale blue & Dull red, Blue & Bright red, Deep blue & Bright red, Steel blue & Vermilion
Four Anna 2nd Printing 11 Frame stones
Shade combinations: Pale blue & Dull Red, Blue & Bright red, Indigo and red, Blue & vermilion
Four Anna 3rd Printing 20 Frame stones
Shade combinations (in progressive order):
SG21a (Head Die II Frame Die I) Blue & Bright red
SG21b (Head Die IIIA Frame Die I) Blue & Bright red, Pale blue & Red
SG21 (Head Die III Frame Die I) Blue & Bright red, Pale blue & Red, Pale blue & Vermillion.
SG21c (Head Die III Frame II wide spacing) Pale Blue & Bright red
Four Anna 4th Printing 10 Frame stones
Shade combinations: Pale blue & Red, Blue & Bright red, Deep Blue & Deep Red
Four Anna 5th Printing 8 Frame stones
Shade combinations: Blue & Old rose, Pale blue & Red, Steel blue & Bright red, Deep blue & Deep red
Shade combinations on the four anna tend to be used a representative rather than fixed dual shade pairings.
On the subject of early lithograph issues 1854-5, only two substantive publications have appeared in the current millennium - D N Jatia on the 4a value (2000), and G. Rohatgi on the 1a value (2019) both detailed below. By far the majority of those whom contributed to the field, or actively utilised their research, came from a bygone era. The most active period of Indian lithographs was perhaps between the period of 1925 to 1955. Please note the below publications and references are a very selective list of what I myself use to plate, while other relevant published literature and articles exist.
1. Specialised Catalogue of Early India Lithographs 1854-1855 Dawson L.E., & Smythies E.A, pp26: 1933 2nd Ed.
This early specialised catalogue is a difficult publication to obtain. It is very useful as a concise reference of the different dies, stones, and main touch ups, and retouches on each value. Even prior to 1933, it illustrates a well-defined comprehension of the extant material known at that time. One of the key benefits of this old publication in my mind, is the extended shade definitions listed (well beyond the later SG simplified listed shades), with a price on each, therefore indicating their relative scarcity. The shades were noted on each stone rather than a more indiscriminate definition for each die (see Appendix A above), by renowned philatelists whom possibly saw more material than anyone, and recognised these shades as distinct!
2. Half & One Anna Pictorial Plating Reference Key Set of Nine Coloured Plates for the plating of Half Anna & One Anna Stamps by Col A. E. Stewart; Published by The Philatelic Society of India
A very useful high-definition pictorial plating aid, available to download merged in a digitised format, within this guide. Each diagram contains a full sheet of 96 plating positions on each of the 4 main stones of the Half Anna Stones A, B (Die I), C (Die II), D (Die III) and on the 5 stones of the One Anna Stones A, B (Die I), C, D (Die II), E (Die III). Overall these plating diagrams are an initial instant visual means to recognise the plating flaws on every parent stone, except the rare half anna stones. They can also be utilised as a later additional verification in the same process, after say a watermark position is hopefully identified. Multiple flaws found on each stone diagram for the same sheet position, will often immediately confirm the dye, and expected watermark element!
3. Half Anna Die I Plate II Intermediate Group Flaws Pictorial Plating Reference
This single pictorial diagram gives the 24 group flaws found on the Half Anna Die I, (see The Half-Anna Lithographed Stamps of India 1854-1855 Smythies E.A., Martin D. R. pp115: 1928 Plate II), is an invaluable resource when trying to plate this complex area, incorporating the two main stones A & B. This plating diagram available to download in a digitised format within this guide, shows the group flaws of all 24 clichιs that are repeated 4 times to make up a full sheet of 96. Often this is the initial means to determine Die I stamps, being only only a relatively small number of flaw groups need to be recognised.
4. The Half-Anna Lithographed Stamps of India 1854-1855 Smythies E.A., F.R.P.S.L: pp115: 1928
A very difficult publication to obtain, it is still the key work on plating the Half Anna value Stones A, B (Die I), C (Die II), D (Die III). Plus, also the rare sub-stones in order of progression A, A1, A2, A3, A4, B2, B1, B. The descriptive plating list on each position, and tables of sub-stone progression, are crucial to comprehend this entire value. It is our great fortune today that a monumental attempt at researching the half anna was made, with all its diverse difficulties to construct a viable plating process, to a point where we can use their findings to enjoy plating this lithograph value. Key parts necessary for plating, are available to download within this article.
5. The One Anna & Two Anna Postage Stamps of India 1854- 1855 Dawson L.E., F.R.P.S.L: pp102: 1948 [Reprinted 1997]
This publication in its more-recent reprinted version, is quite readily available in a printed format. The one anna part the majority of the book is a key work in the overall understanding on this value, and covers certain more advanced aspects, such as the elusive substituted transfer. However, its primary benifit for this plating guide, is consultation of the 96 descriptive plating flaws, on all 5 one anna stones: A, B (Die I), C, D (Die II), E (Die III). Each are individually downloadable within this article.
6. List of Line Blocks - Watermark Arms Sheet No; 4 (Dawson Plate XI The One Anna & Two Anna Postage Stamps of India 1854- 1855) Half & One Anna 96 sheet positions overlaid.
An important visual aid to locate where each sheet position is overlaid on the N 4 Arms sheet Watermark applicable to the nine half and one anna stones. On this diagram downloadable within this guide, is pencilled a small bouquet motif held in the small lions paws (sheet position 46), not on the original diagram, but part of the actual watermark. Note also the pencilled 24 group flaw numbers repeated on every sheet position! This very useful diagram is like a workhorse in the plating process.
7. The Four Annas Lithographed Stamps of India, 1854-55 Martin D.R., Col: & E. A. Smythies: 1930 (Reprint Ed 1996 pp50)
The original foundation work relating to the Four Anna. The authors noted in their preface that they originally had intentions to plate the 4a, but found the task practically impossible. Even prior to 1930, Martin & Smythies had already began a 3rd Printing frame flaw plating study (Plates 10 & 11), that was later updated by Smythies by 1951. It was a huge task just to accomplish even a foundation study, and probably not enough extant material to complete the task beyond die identification.
This publication excels in describing the various head die retouches found on all five 4a Printings, and commenting on their relative scarcities categorised into types where appropriate. The accompanying twelve plates, which include useful diagrams of head die types plate 8 (downloadable within this article with additions), watermark with sheet position overlays (close & wide only), the original 3rd Printing frame plating flaws study, plus various very interesting images of retouched 4a heads, along with the printing and sheet positions noted.
8. India's Bi-Coloured Four-Annas 1854 - A Specialised Study of Third Printing D N Jatia 2000 (69 pages and 24 colour plates)
A quite recent publication (2000), D N Jatia offers a much updated overview on all relevant aspects of the 4a value an excellent work built upon previous key studies, especially that of Martin & Smythies (1930). This hugely important research work includes clear watermark diagrams of all three sheet settings: wide (12), close (24), and medium (24) spacing (downloadable within this guide). It identifies a more nuanced understanding of the progressive wear on each Head Die type, based on the early state characteristics and the worn state changes, before transformation into a new distinct head die.
This research at its epicentre, is an advanced detailed study of the 3rd Printing a complex area based on frame plating flaws, and provides invaluable research to help identify the many stones discovered. Jatia significantly builds upon Martin and Smythies foundation work, updating those already established stones, while confirming many new ones, giving detailed plating diagrams on all 12 positions, plus showing confirmed and unconfirmed flaws. Also included are 24 fascinating colour plates, illustrating much of the best and rarest material extant, including various retouches on each printing, and various examples of all listed varieties.
9. Ikanni Tales: A Study of the One Anna Lithographed Label of 1854-55- Gautam Rohatgi, 2019 (348 A4 colour pages)
The book notes most of the existent research previously known on this value, and is brought up to date. It also contains the author's personal research, most notably on the aspect of the mysterious sub-stones, and proposes an interesting new methodology of study, with a more unorthodox backward engineered approach! A monumental contribution, it also deals with the postal usage, offering much information about the postal history of the period. Additionally, the entire work is prevalent with explanations of every possible facet of the lithographic printing process, detailing all its inherent idiosyncrasies and affecting issues.
a) The Scinde Dawks and Lithographs of India Wadia D.E: pp114: 1997
b) Supplement to Philatelic Journal of India for April 1927: The Half-Anna Lithographed Stamps of India 1854-1855 Smythies E.A.: pp16: 1927
c) India: Four Annas Lithographs, 1854-55 Smythies E.A.: pp7: 1949
d) India: Retouches of the 1854 Four Annas Lithographs Smythies E.A.: pp9: 1950