A is for Aden and Z is for Zanzabar

A is for Aden and Z is for Zanzibar... Now what is between? For the world wide classical era philatelist and stamp collector, a country specific philatelic survey is offered with two albums: Big Blue, aka Scott International Part 1 (checklists available), and Deep Blue, aka William Steiner's Stamp Album Web PDF pages. Interested? So into the Blues...

Sunday, December 9, 2012

India- Native Feudatory States

Alwar 1877 Scott 2 1a brown "Katar"
Into the Deep Blue
About 38 Native Feudatory States had their own stamp production, valid within their own borders, from as early as 1864, and lasting as late as 1951. Although that may seem like a lot of states, recall that there were 565 Native States, when India and Pakistan became independent in 1947!

The "Feudatory States" stamps are truly an interesting area for the WW classical collector. The 1,653 stamps (my count) in the Scott Classic catalogue range from primitive and basic ("The Uglies"), to engraved designs as sophisticated as any country in the world.

The stamps can also be quite intimidating for the classical WW collector. For often, there were different papers used, different colors, many variations due to the primitive production methods, reprints, and yes, some forgeries.

Big Blue only covers nine Feudatory States in the '69/'97 albums, having shed the additional generic blank page for all the remaining Feudatory States found in the '47/'41 editions. I plan here to follow Big Blue's lead, and primarily touch on those nine states, which includes most of the more productive stamp issuing entities anyway. This will make the blog post do-able. Frankly, covering them all thoroughly would require a half dozen posts, and I do not really have the material to do justice.

But I will include some of my stamp scans of other Feudatory States (Example: Alwar in Post Header), just to whet the appetite for those that would really like to delve deeper into these fascinating issues.

And there is help....

• For serious investigation into the Feudatory States, a Stanley Gibbons India and States catalogue is recommended (or for the WW collector, a Commonweath & British Empire Stamps 1840-1970 catalogue) , although here I will be using the Scott catalogue per usual.

• Join the "India Study Circle"

• And there are great online discussion forums


Hosted by tonymacg from Australia, who is a specialist and enthusiastic promoter of collecting the "Uglies".  Thanks Tony!
1909 Map of British India (pink) and Native States (yellow)
Colored arrows point to the Feudatory States covered in Big Blue
The Feudatory States covered in Big Blue are:
(Format: Name, Capital, Population (1941 or before), Years stamps issued, Number of stamps, Number of stamps with a CV of <$1-$1+.)

• Maroon Arrow/Charkhari/ Maharajnagar/120,000/1894-1943/44/13
• Red Arrow/Cochin/ Ernakulam/1,400,000/1892-1949/206/108
• Blue Arrow/Hyderabad/Hyderabad/16,300,000/1869-1949/113/65
• Brown Arrow/Indore/ Indore/ 1,500,000/1886-1947/47/20
• Indigo Arrow/Jaipur/Jaipur/3,000,000/1904-1949/99/28
• Dark Green Arrow/Kishangarh/Kishangarh/85,000/1899-1947/112/17
• Pink Arrow/Simoor/Nahan/150,000/1879-1899/38/10
• Yellow Arrow/Soruth/Junagarh/670,000/1864-1950/64/14
• Light Green Arrow/Travancore/Trivandrum/6,000,000/1888-1949/111/82

The total major number stamps found for the above Feudatory States in Scott is 834, with 357 having a CV of <$1-$1+. Since BB '69 only has space for 77 stamps total (9.2%), clearly more could have been included. ;-)

A closer look at the stamps and issues
1931 Charkhari 1r rose & green "Guesthouse"
The 1r rose & green from Charkhari was part of a nine stamp set (CV <$1) issued in 1931, and, in fact, the entire set is included in Big Blue. Charkhari had some earlier fairly primitive sets, some lithographed. This 1931 production appears to be the most "sophisticated" in design.

1911-13 Cochin Scott 15 3p blue "Sri Rama Varma I"
1913-15 Official Scott O3 9p carmine rose, overprinted
Cochin is known for their generous size stamp, and a portrait of their ruler. The two stamp images also highlight the importance of "Official" stamps for many Native states.

The left stamp was part of an 8 stamp set issued in 1911-13, CV is <$1 for 7 stamps. This set was the first issue to show a ruler portrait, which Cochin continued through 1949.

Six spaces in BB are found for this issue.

The right stamp, an "Official", is part of the first Official issue, an 8 stamp production (CV <$1 for 5 stamps).

BB does not include any spaces for "Official" stamps for the Feudatory States, except for Soruth.

These issues here are engraved, and quite nicely presented in a "classic" style.

1918-23 Cochin Scott 23 2p brown "Sri Rama Varma II"
1918-34 Official Scott O10 4p green, overprinted
A change in ruler necessitated a change in portrait as illustrated above. The 1918-23 2p brown was part of an 11 stamp issue, with CV <$1 for 9 stamps. The 1918-34 4p green was part of a 12 stamp Official issue, CV <$1 for 10 stamps. Who says Feudatory State stamps are all expensive? ;-)

Big Blue has six spaces for the regular issue of this design.

"Small Umbrella" watermark 41
Of interest, the earlier Cochin stamps have an "umbrella" watermark, either upright or sideways as illustrated. I suspect an umbrella in India was used more to ward off the Sun's rays, rather than the rain; a use much more common here in Oregon. But they do have monsoons....  ;-)

1933-35 Official Scott O39 1a brown orange, overprinted
"Sri Rama Varma III"
The next regular issue was produced in 1933 for "Varma III" in a similar design to the preceding sets. The 11 stamp set had a CV <$1 for 5 stamps. The 1933-35 Official issue (Illustrated) had 10 stamps, 9 stamps with a CV <$1.

1944 Scott 62 1a3p on 1a8p rose red
 There are a number of stamps (11) either overprinted ("Anchal" = "Region") or surcharged from 1928-1944. The Scott 62 above is an example.

1943 Scott 65 6p red brown "Maharaja Sri Kerala Varma" 
1944-48 Official Scott O61 2 1/2a dull yellow green, overprinted
During WW II, a new issue was produced for "Maharaja Sri Kerala Varma", a six stamp production, with CV of <$1-$1+ for 2 stamps. Lithography was used, perhaps because of the war?

The "Official" version had 5 stamps with a CV of <$1-$2+ for 4 stamps.

1946 Official Scott O79 1a3p magenta, overprinted
"Maharaja Ravi Varma"
A three stamp "Official" set (CV <$1) was issued in 1946 based on the identical 1944-46 regular issue. Note the crude lithographic impression.

1946-50 Scott 83 3p carmine rose "Maharaja Ravi Varma"
1946-48 Official Scott O84 9p ultramarine, overprinted
In 1946, a new issue was produced, still lithographed. This 8 stamp set has a CV <$1 for 3 stamps.
The "Official" version had 8 stamps, 3 of them for CV <$1.

1948-49 Scott 91 3p carmine "Maharaja Sri Kerala Varma"
1948-49 Official Scott O92 6p red brown, overprinted
The last design before Cochin and Travancore merged, is illustrated above. The regular 8 stamp issue has a CV <$1 for 4 stamps. The "Official" issue had 8 stamps, 5 of them CV <$1.

1871-1909 Hyderabad Scott 4 1/2a orange brown
Shown with shades
Hyderabad, actually the largest of the Feudatory States in population with 16 million, is shown here with a long issued 1871-1909 1/2a orange brown in various shades. Naturally, the Feudatory States were not fastidious about colors, and many issues come in various hues.

1915-16 Scott 31 1a carmine rose "Seal of the Nizam"
1915-16 Scott 32 1a red
I suppose if the color change is radical enough, then Scott will give a major number as seen here.

1931-38 Scott 39 4p black "Seal of Nizam"
1931-48 Scott 43 4a ultamarine 
"Reservoir for City of Hyderabad"
The stamps illustrated above are part of a nine stamp set, CV ranges from <1-$10+ for the set.
Big Blue '69 includes 5 of these stamps in the album.

1946 Scott 52 1a blue "Returning Soldier", unwmk
Also exists watermarked "Urdu characters"
The Scott Classic catalogue actually, for the British Commonwealth, has stamps through ~1951. And naturally, as many Feudatory States continued through this period, their stamps are represented also. Here is a poignant scene of a soldier returning to his family after WW II.

1912 Scott O39 1/2a brown violet, overprinted
1930 Scott O45 8p on 1/2a green, overprinted
A couple of examples of "Official" stamps are presented here. There is an overprint in Hindi script. The right stamp already was surcharged (8 pies) in red.

1934-47 Scott O49 2a dark violet, overprinted 
"High Court of Justice"
The 1931-48 regular issue, some of which is in BB, is here transformed into an "Official". This 8 stamp set has a CV <$1 for 6 stamps.

Indore 1904-08 Scott 9 1/2a lake "Maharaja Tukoji Rao III"
1904-06 Official Scott O2 1a green, overprinted
Indore had a 6 stamp issue produced for 1904-08, CV <$1-$2+ for 5 stamps. The 1904-06 "Official" version had 5 stamps, CV <$1-$2+ for 4 stamps.

(Note: 8-17-2016 -See study on these issues under addendum at end of post.)

 1928-38 Scott 15 1/2a orange 
"Maharaja Yeshwant Rao II"
Beginning in 1928, a 16 stamp set was produced, the CV <$1-$3+ for 6 stamps. The high end CV is $140. Big Blue has seven spaces for this issue.

Jaipur 1931-37 Scott O13 1/2a dull violet & black, overprinted
"Maharaja Man Singh II"
The regular issue of 1931 had 12 stamps, 9 stamps having a CV of <$1-$47+. I chose 9 stamps, because that is the group that is in Big Blue. ! Actually seven stamps of this group are $9-$47+. 

And this is the only issue of Jaipur that is in Big Blue. I count 7 stamps @ <$1-$1+, 16 stamps @ <$1-$5 that were issued prior to 1931 that BB could have used. ;-)

Nevertheless, it is a very nice bi-colored set with interesting scenes, so I am not that unhappy with the selection.

The "Official" version is illustrated above, and has 5 stamps in the issue, 4 with CV <$1-$6+.

1947-48 Scott 52 1a deep ultramarine & chocolate
For the 25th anniversary of Raja Man Singh II on the throne, a 9 stamp series was issued in 1947, CV is <$1-$4 for the set. Here is a pic of the "Observatory", but where are the telescopes? Perhaps the stairs match up with the eyepiece at night? ( I do amateur astronomy, so I'm interested in these things ;-)

Kishangarh Scott 20 & 20a 1a "Coat of Arms"
gray violet & gray
Kishangarh, one of the smaller Feudatory States, is represented in BB with six spaces.
beginning with the 1913 issue. The stamps above, though, are from an 1899-1900 issue of 25 stamps.  These stamps are handstamped on imperforated thin wove paper. Not exactly what one would find for a major country. :-) They are fascinating. The CV for the issue ranges from $1+-$9 for 9 stamps.
The above example of the 1a shows two colors.

Sirmoor 1885-88 Scott 3 3p brown
"Raja Sir Shamsher Prakash"
Simoor was another Feudatory State with a small population. It is, however, represented in BB with 10 stamps, this issue included.
The 1885-88 issue had 5 stamps, with a CV <$1-$6+.

Soruth 1929 Scott 32 1a claret & black
"Nawab Mahabat Khan III"
Soruth, or Saurashtra is near Bombay, and is represented in BB by 12 stamps: 6 from the regular 1929 issue illustrated above, and 6 from the "Official" issue of the same stamps. Soruth, then, has the only Official stamps with a space in Big Blue. I would really like to get into the mind set of the Scott editors: Why did they permit Officials for Soruth, and not for the other Feudatory States? ;-)
The issue illustrated above has 8 stamps, with a CV of <$1-$10+ for the 6 stamps found in BB.
What amazes me about the Feudatory States is the incredible difference in printing from one issue to another, or one Feudatory State to another. Look at the exquisite craftsmanship on this stamp.

Soruth Official 1929 Scott O2 1/2a dark blue & black
"Gir Lion", overprinted in red
The Official version is shown above, and, as mentioned, is also in BB. The 8 stamp set has a CV of <$1 for the 6 stamps found in BB. Quite attractive, No?

Travancore 1889-99 Scott 4 1/2ch violet "Conch Shell"
1910 Scott 13 6ca red brown
For Travancore, the "Conch Shell" is the State Seal, and hence is found frequently on the earlier stamps. Here are several examples. The Denominations are interesting.
16 Cash= 1 Chuckram
2 Chuckrams = 1 Anna 
The earlier values of Travancore are generally inexpensive with the 18 stamps issued between 1888-1916 finding 11 with CV <$1.
1939 Scott 36 1ch yellow green
"Lake Ashtamudi"
The 1939 issue had 7 stamps with a CV of <$1 for 3 stamps. Beginning in 1931, a number of the Travancore designs had edifices or scenes.

1911 Official Scott O1 1ch indigo, OP in red or black
1918-20 Scott O7 1 1/4ch claret
The Officals were overprinted on regular issues as shown.  The first 13 stamps from 1911-1925 had a CV <$1.
1921 Scott O9 10ca rose
Multiple changes in overprint
Of interest, if one has a small sample of the overprinted Officials, it is not unusual to have different examples of the overprint. Could make for a fascinating study.

After 1949, Both Travancore and Cochin joined together as "Travancore-Cochin", and issued mainly surcharged stamps from their previous stock. This new Feudatory State, naturally, is not in Big Blue because of date (1940) cutoff.
1949 Travancore-Cochin Scott 5 2a on 4ch henna brown
"Sri Padmanabha Shrine", surcharged
The example above is from the Travancore stock, but there was issues using the Cochin stock as well.  The 1949 issue shown above consists of 7 stamps, 5 with CV of <$1.

This concludes the review of the Feudatory States that are found in Big Blue (excepting the Travancore-Cochin union) . Remember, the 9 Feudatory States represented had 834 stamps, with 357 of them CV <$1-$1+.

What about the other Feudatory States?

Here is a list, as represented in Scott, and has the format:
(Name, Capital, Population, Years issuing stamps, Number of stamps, Number with CV <$1-$1+)
(Also, if no stamps are CV <$1-$1+, I will then list the least expensive stamp.)

Jammu and Kashmir/Srinagar/4,000,000/1866-1884/143/10
Kotah/Kotah City/526,000/1883/4/0/$8,500
Las Bela/Bela/63,000/1897-1904/6/0/$16
Rajasthan/"Union of 14 States"/13,000,000/1948-1949/56/0/$4

Here is a sub-total of 819 stamps, 85 of them <$1-$1+. Although the sub-total number is about the same for the Feudatory States in BB, these are generally more expensive stamps. Recall, for BB, the Feudatory States had 834 stamps, 357 of them <$1-$1+.

Grand Total for Feudatory States:
1653 stamps
442 stamps CV <$1-$1+

• 29 Feudatory States + 9 in BB = 38 Feudatory States in Scott
• 2 Feudatory States, Faridkot and Jind- subsequently became Convention States.
• Although most of the remaining Feudatory States here have a small stamp production, two do not: Bhopal (149), and Jammu and Kashmir (143)
• If one would like to have a sample from as many Feudatory States as possible, an upper limit of CV $7+ will net 22 more states, only missing 7.
• Like the "Uglies"? Consider Alwar, Bambra, Bhopal, Bhor,Bundi, Dhar, Duttia,Faridkot ,Jammu and Kashmir (especially), Jhalawar, Nandgaon, Nowanuggur, and Poonch (especially).

Here are examples of some of these Feudatory States....
Bundi 1894 Scott 1A 1/2a slate
"Katar" (Indian Dagger)
Bundi actually has 105 stamps, but only 3 are CV <$1-$1+. This example is on wove paper. One can really get into the "Uglies", but one would need to become knowledgeable about the issues/stamps to do them justice (and not to get ripped off ;-)

Jammu & Kashmir 1879-80 Scott 92 1/2a red
Thin Toned Wove paper, printed in oil colors
Jammu & Kashmir is another State full of "Uglies", but definitely attractive. ;-)  But only 10 of the 143 stamps are CV <$1-$1+. Still, this is a State in which I would like to have more stamps.

This ends the section, but I have examples of Alwar (Header post image), and Orchha, and Jammu & Kashmir to come. Enjoy!

Deep Blue
Deep Blue (Steiner) has all the pages one would want for the Feudatory States, following the Scott catalogue. 138 pages!
Hyderabad Official stamps in Deep Blue
The good news is the spacious outlay would probably work even if one was following the Stanley Gibbons catalogue, provided one wouldn't mind adding stamps on a page, or having additional quadrilled pages.
The bad news? 138 pages. ;-)  Unless the general WW classical collector makes a particular effort, or takes an interest, many of the pages will be little filled.

Orchha 1917 Scott 4 2a brown "Seal of Orchha"
Big Blue
Big Blue '69, on three pages, has 9 spaces for Charkhari, 12 spaces for Cochin, 5 spaces for Hyderabad, 7 spaces for Indore, 9 spaces for Jaipur, 6 spaces for Kishengarh, 10 spaces for Sirmoor, 12 spaces for Soruth, and 9 spaces for Travancore, for a total of 79 spaces. Grand Total for India = 244

Charkhari in Big Blue
• I've already made a number of observations throughout the post about Big Blue's coverage of the Feudatory States. Perhaps the most significant is BB offers 77 spaces, while there are 442 stamps with a CV of <$1-$1+. ;-)
• Big Blue managed to include a $47+, $30,$20+,$20+.$10+.$10+,$10+ stamps for the 1931 Jaipur issue. Admittedly, they are handsome stamps.

Big Blue "41/"47 editions have a blank space page
• As one is probably aware, the blank space for the "Rest" of the Feudatory States was dropped after the 1947 edition. Not included are Dungarpur, Idar, Jasdan, Kotah, and Tonk. Not listed either are the Feudatory States that came into existence from mergers in the 1940s: Rajasthan and Travancore-Cochin.  Since there is a precedence, I would suggest having a blank or quadrilled page available for the additional Feudatory States.






Next Page



40,41,42,37,52 (54)




Next Page


Official stamps

1908-21 (actually 1888-1921)
1 or 5, 12,14,15,17,23,

(1947/41 editions have blank page for the rest of the Feudatory States)
Six columns of 7 stamps would yield 42 stamps: mix and match any Feudatory Stamp from the Feudatory States not already offered spaces.

A) Expensive stamps ($10 threshold)
Hyderabad 1931 Scott 45 12a scarlet ($10+)
Jaipur 1931 Scott 26 1a blue & black ($10+)
Jaipur 1931 Scott 27 2a orcher & black ($10+)
Jaipur 1931 Scott 28 2 1/2a rose & black ($47+)
Jaipur 1931 Scott 29 3a dark green & black ($20+)
Jaipur 1931 Scott 30 4a dull green & black ($20+)
Jaipur 1931 Scott 32 8a brown & black ($30)
Kishengarh 1895-99 (Scott 16) 4a dark green ($20+)
Soruth 1929 Scott 35 4a dull violet & black ($10+)
B) (   ) around a number indicates a blank space choice.
C) The only Feudatory State offered spaces for Official stamps is Soruth.

Jammu & Kashmir 1883-94 Scott 117 2a red
Yellow Pelure Paper; Printed in oil colors
Out of the Blue
Wow! What a ride!
I am really attracted to the Feudatory States, especially the "Uglies".
But, reluctantly, I must move on for now.  :-(

Note: Map appears to be in the public domain, and I modified it for this post.

Have a thought? 
Comments are appreciated!

Addendum 8-17-2016

A Brief study of Indore 1904-08 Issue and Official 1904-08 Issue

Keijo, of Stamp Collecting Blog fame has recently done a study of the above issue, and he believes that there may be some lithographic stamps in the group. The issues were engraved, according to the catalogues.

Indore Scott 8-11 @ 300 dpi
1904-08 Issue
The "Kitchen Foil" test on these stamps.. ("Positive" means markings found.)
Scott 8 Positive
Scott 9 Clearly Positive
Scott 10 Clearly Positive
Scott 11 Clearly Positive
Conclusion: These appear engraved.

Indore Scott O1-O3, O5  @ 300 dpi
Scott O1 - Unclear. The script "service" is clearly visible (marked).
Scott O2 - Unclear.
Scott O3 - Definite Positive.
Scott O5 - ? Positive

Indore O6-O7 @ 300 dpi
Scott O6-  ?Negative
Scott O7- ?Positive
Conclusion- Harder to make a determination. One definite positive. Two that are probably positive but not definite. One that may be negative. And two more that are also unclear.


  1. These series on the Indian States are absolutely wonderful! I've always found them interesting and a number of times have been tempted to wade in, but found them really confusing. Your explanations start to make them a lot clearer than they ever were before. Thanks for this very much for all this research and the great write-ups.

  2. You are welcome Drew. :-)

    One could spend one's entire philatelic effort on the Feudatory States, and find it satisfying indeed.

    Tempting....... ;-)

  3. Hi Jim

    Very nice post in a very interesting and complex area. Although I am not an "album" collector, but for this one I would definately add an extra blank page or two to try and cover the rest of the States.

    As an aside, if you are ever interested in trading some of our duplicates to fill in our respective "blanks" give me yell over at DCStamps.


  4. Jim
    No need to post, but "Big Blue '69, on three pages, has 9 spaces for Charkhari, 12 spaces for Cochin, 5 spaces for Hyderabad, 7 spaces for Indore, 9 spaces for Jaipur, 6 spaces for Kishengarh, 10 spaces for Sirmoor, 12 spaces for Soruth, and 9 spaces for Travancore, for a total of 77 spaces." These add up to 79, which gives a total of 244 for India, which is exactly what I come up with, too.

  5. Thanks Joe. Always appreciate the double check.

  6. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  7. I have a vast collections of stamps from British India.Where can I purchase a complete stamp album listing all the British India Stamps from 1852?

  8. The Steiner albums (stampalbums web) would have PDF albums available based on the Scott catalogues, as would Palo albums, which are produced. Palo albums also would have British India albums based on the Stanley Gibbons catalogue.

    Also check out amosadvantage.com for Scott albums, and Stanley Gibbons site for their albums.

  9. Hi Jim,

    could you please check if the Indore stamps you display are engraved or not? I have a hunch there's something fishy going on with these stamps (more about that at http://www.stampcollectingblog.com/indore-stamps-of-190408-engraved-litho-or-both.php ), and your specimens seem to match the characteristics.

    1. Hi Keijo
      I've been out of town, but do plan to check those Indore stamps, and I will get back to you with a response on your blog.