Great Britain, May 6, 1840 First Issues Collectors Club of stamps and philatelic material

India (East India Company)

Wednesday, July 26, 1854.

Imperforate, watermark 37 (Coat of Arms), lithography.

Printed by the Survey Office in Calcutta.
The first issue.
Description # issued Scott # S.G. #
April 1, 1854. Not issued.
½ anna red 360 survive 1 1
October 1, 1854.
½ anna blue, die I 30 million 2 2 - 5
½ anna blue, die II 2,006,304 6 - 7
1 anna red, die I 4,250,000 4 11 - 12
1 anna red, die II 3,500,000 13 - 14
October 13, 1854.
4 anna red & blue, 5 printings 1,659,984 6 17 - 26
November 3, 1854. Typographed.
2 anna green 4 million 5 31, 34
August, 1855.
½ anna blue, die III 4,750,000 2 8 - 10
1 anna red, die III 1,520,000 7 15 - 16

All issue quantities are approximate.
There's no Scott #3.

The Half Anna Vermilion and Deep Vermilion of 1854 were prepared but not officially placed in use. Only 360 stamps were not destroyed of a much larger printing.

The ½ anna blue, die III, was printed between July 3 and August 25, 1855. It is therefore obvious that it could not have been issued earlier than those dates.

Of the 1 anna red, die III, many were later destroyed but the exact number is unknown.

The 2 anna green was made by typography from copper cliches. 7 million were printed but around 3 million were later destroyed.

Several different watermarks appear among these stamps. The most common features the arms of the Honourable East India Company.

Thank you to Floyd Conaway for help with the issue dates and quantities. Mr. Conaway also provided the literature references.

Thank you to Rohan Khurana for the nice images and for additional help on the dates and quantities.

Mr. Conaway also provided this piece of insight: "These stamps were issued following a Commission of Inquiry, from which Act XVII of 1854 was passed, which established the Indian Post Office. The East India Company's posts are important, because the "Great Company" held sway over so much of the world's commerce in those days, extending across Asia and East Africa. It had its own armies and its own postal service; constructed railways and public works; and acted like an imperial force long before the Empire was established."

Much more information can be found in these sources:

The first stamps issued in India were the so called Scinde Dawks

This page was last modified on Sunday, 02-Jul-2006 16:38:39 PDT