Stamps of India:
Article of the Month - January 2012
|King George V Silver
Jubilee Issues of India 1935
by Madhukar & Savita Jhingan
Recently Nicholas Levinge from England visited India and joined many a
meetings formal and otherwise on philatelic matters. His chosen subject
is the King George V Silver Jubilee issues of all countries and he is
the founder President of the King George V Silver Jubilee Study Circle.
He also undertook research at the National archives of India for about 3
months on the Silver Jubilee issue of India. Alas without much luck.
We have been busy during his visit with various exhibitions including
Stamps of India National Exhibition where Levinge volunteered and was a
great help in mounting and dismounting of the exhibits. We had promised
that we will search and collate all the information we have access to on
the subject and share it with him. The following is result of our work.
George V, became the King of the United Kingdom and the British
Dominions, and Emperor of India on May 6, 1910 at the death of his
father King Edward VII. His 25 years of Reign was celebrated as Silver
Jubilee. On this occasion 59 countries besides India issued
commemorative postage stamps. 44 postal administrations issued a common
stamp design that was a first for a British colonial issue.
India issued its own unique design in a set of 7 stamps on May 6, 1935.
The monuments featured on the stamps were Gateway of India Bombay,
Victoria Memorial Calcutta, Rameswaram Temple Madras, Jain temple
Calcutta, Taj Mahal Agra, Golden Temple Amritsar, and Pagoda in Mandlay.
These stamps were designed by H W Barr, Engraver at the Security
Printing India as the India Security Press at Nasik Road was then known.
He had joined the Press at its inception on a five year contract and
after completion of his second five year contract left India in March
1935 upon his retirement. He was succeeded in office by T I Archer, a
name well known to those interested in Indian philately.
The Annual Report of the Security Printing India for the year 1934-35
has this to say about him:
Mr Barr was responsible for the organisation of the work of the Studio
from the inception of the Security Press, and the for the bulk of the
original design work. Apart from his work on the designs of Government
currency Notes, he redesigned the whole range of higher values of court
fee and non-judicial impressed stamps, the series of Government of India
cheques, the Inauguration of New Delhi Commemorative series of Postage
Stamps and the Silver Jubilee Issue, in addition to many other items
including work for Indian Native States.
The Director General's Special circular No. 64 of the March 5, 1935
states that these stamps will be printed for the normal consumption of
three months only and the sale of corresponding
denominations of the ordinary postage stamps now current will remain
suspended so long as the Jubilee stamps are on sale in the post offices.
These commemorative stamsp will be used for prepayment of postage and
airmail fees on all postal articles and for payment of telegraph charges
as well. During the currency of Jubileee stamps, ordinary postage stamps
now current will also be accepted, if used by the public on postal and
airmail articles and telegrams. No service commemortive stamps will be
issued. The Annual Report of the Indian Posts and Telegraphs
Department for the year 1935-36 states that these pictorial stamps
remained on sale up to December 31, 1935 when the unsold stocks were
withdrawn and destroyed. The discovery of the exact quantity printed and
sold is the final frontier of India's Silver Jubilee issue.
The accompanying Postal Notice to the above Circular states that a set
of 7 stamps will be issued on May 6, 1935 and will be available at all
post offices in India and Burma. However the denominations listed in the
Notice are ½ Anna, ¾ Anna, 1 Anna, 2½ Annas, 3½ Annas, 8 Annas, and 1
Rupee. Another Postal Notice of April 17, 1935 modified the above
stating that the stamp in the denomination of 1 Rupee will not be issued
and that instead stamps in the denomination of 1¼ Annas will be issued.
The Post Office Building at Calcutta GPO and several other places were
illuminated on this occasion. Although Monday, the
May 6, 1935 was observed as a Post Office holiday on acccount of the
Silver Jubilee of His Majesty the King E'mperpor's accesion to the
throne vide Postal Notice of April 18, 1935.
A Postal Notice of February 28, 1935 states that a special stamp called
Silver Jubilee Postal Seal has been issued by their Majesties Silver
Jubilee Fund India and will be on sale at selected post offices from
April 1, 1935 to May 15, 1935. The proceeds of the sale of the Seals
will be used for the relief of distress and suffering in India. These
Seals will not be recognized in payment of postage or any other postal
or telegraph charges. The Postal Notice of May 8, 1935 extended the date
of sale of the Seals to May 31, 1935.
A poster for the 1 Anna Seal was also put up in the post offices.
A severe Earthquake of 7.7 magnitude on Richter scale devastated Quetta
on May 31, 1935. A Postal Notice of June 7, 1935 resumed the sale of
Silver Jubilee Postal Seals now for the benefit of His Excellency the
Viceroy's Quetta Earthquake Relief Fund. This sale was discontinued with
effect from January 1, 1936 vide the Postal Notice of December 13, 1935.
A slogan postmark 'Support the Jubilee Fund' in about 3 distincts types
are known, two types of Duplex and another is boxed type. This were used
at at selected post offices in India during the year beginning with
April 1, 1935.
Stephen Smith, distinguished aero-philatelist and pioneering
astro-philatelist commemorated the Silver Jubilee by commemorative
rocket mail on March 23, 1935 for which special labels were also
produced by him. Later in between April 7 and 13,
Smith launched 9 more rocket mail flights in Sikkim commemorating Silver
6 denominations, 6d, 1s, 2s 6d, 10s, 15s, and 20s,
of the Silver Jubilee issue of British Postal Orders overprinted 'India'
were put on sale at post offices in India on May 7, 1935
according to the Postal Notice of May 3, 1935. Jack
Harwood, an acknowledged experet on postal orders of the world, has this
to say on our request for information and imgaes for these:
"Unfortunately, I have never seen a Silver Jubilee Postal Order
overprinted for India. Ordinary British SJ issues of any but the 6d and
1/- are difficult enough to locate. Actually, I don't believe I've ever
seen the SJ Postal Orders overprinted for any colony or territory. There
are no such items in my collection. I've viewed most of the major
collections of postal orders in the UK, and do not recall ever seeing an
overprinted Jubilee issue in any of them. I have checked with several
other postal order collectors, and no one seems to have seen any
overprinted SJ examples, India or anywhere else. Only 4 million of each
denomination were printed, so numbers sent overseas from the UK must
have been very small."
National Archives of India, New Delhi, various Postal Documents, and
works of Jal Cooper
Ashok Kumar Bayanwala, Ashish Talwar, Rohit Prasad, Harsh Gupta
Version 1.0, First published in Issue
# 507 of Janaury 26, 2012 of the Stamps of India Collectors Comapnion
February 9, 2012, images plus additonal facts added in
text published on