Dan Walker, an American Philatelist who signed the Roll of Distinguished Philatelists in 2014, is a recognised expert on Indian States material. Dan has exhibited internationally and four of his collections are displayed upon the Museum of Philately. These study the stamp issues from; Barwani, Hyderbad, Jaipur and Soruth. In the upcoming sale there is strength in the Daggar Issues and especially the later Sacred Cows. These are intriguing stamps and our catalogue provides additional information which has been kindly permitted by John Warren from his book. Below is part of the text which helps to put context on this fascinating issue.
One of the key items in this sales is an unused example of the rare 1894 1/2a slate-grey on laid paper, which has a BPA certificate dated 2022, and catalogues at £23,000. It is a particularly fine example having a crisp impression and the four frame lines are intact, a very rare stamp in such condition. Equally as mouthwatering is the opportunity to acquire what is thought to be a unique item; a cover franked with an SG1a 1894, 1/2a slate-grey on laid paper which is showing the variety “Last two letters of value below the rest”, again it comes with an expert certificate (RPS dated 1985). Interestingly, Dan Walker states that in over 40 years of collecting he has never seen another SG 1a on cover. Also in this auction is 1897 2a pale green on laid paper, type III, in unused condition in a block of six (3 x 2) the top right stamp showing plate flaw “first two characters missing”. Its a very fine, rare and important exhibition showpiece with the very rare plate error (SG £2’830+). Another cover worth highlighting is one which has the 1897-98 1r yellow on blue wove paper, type III, and a non philatelic native use. It’s been professionally restored and is an extremely rare usage being the only known commercial usage of the 1 Rupee Daggar issue. As well as these four spectacular items there is a selection of individual lots to suit the budget of all collectors with prices ranging from under £100 into the thousands, with many being highly scarce but still relatively affordable. It is an exciting opportunity to acquire material which is not often seen and in the case of those mentioned above may not be seen again for many decades. The auction catalogue are being prepared now and we hope to have this offering available online in early November, when you will be able to review the lots and register your bids in the build-up to the auction. In the meantime here is some additional information on the Sacred Cows.
“The Sacred Cows stamps were reported for the first time in the May 1915 issue of the ‘Philatelic Journal of India’. They reported a new issue of stamps by Bundi State, a ½A value, which they indicated was issued in October 1914 and a 2A and 4A value issued in February 1915. These were the first of what was to become one of the most interesting issues of the Native States of India. The design was quite attractive, showing the head and body of the Maharaja Sir Raghubir Singh in the centre, with a sacred cow on either side each standing on its hind legs. The Maharaja was the Ruler who saved sacred cows from slaughter by a Mughal army, hence it was an appropriate design to use. In a panel at the top were the words “Raj Bundi” in Devanagari script and, in a panel at the bottom, were the value characters, also in Devanagari script. The stamps were printed in small blocks of four stamps which, collectors were soon to learn, were separate clichés which could be taken apart and reset in a different order, thus creating different settings. When a new value was required, the value characters could be removed and new ones inserted. Similarly, the letters in the top panel could also be removed and replaced. This was occasionally done, with a different style of type-face, thus creating more new settings. This issue was to remain in use for twenty-seven years and, throughout all that time, the same four clichés were in use, resulting in nearly sixty different identifiable settings. Because of the considerable length of time that the clichés were in use, frequently being reset and new inscriptions being inserted, damage inevitably occurred to the clichés and a study of these flaws is invaluable in identifying clichés and settings and in determining the chronological order of the settings.”