Jaipur State Postcards, replacing the British Product, 1905-1912 

Jaipur cards001-2

This state is said to date back to 1128 when it was founded by a chief who came originally from Gwalior. Many of its chiefs claim to be descended from the sun, hence its use on the state arms. Jaipur city was founded in 1728 by the warrior and astronomer Jai Singh, as a new capital.  It took over from Amber fort and palace nearby and is well laid out with broad streets on an astronomically aligned grid. The state had its own post office which was used for many centuries by court to send and receive daily reports, many of which still survive. Citizens could use the post office and in fact adhesive stamps were issued in 1904. The post, however, only operated within the state. All outside destinations were served by the Imperial Post Office, which had branches in every town within the state.

From 1906 the state post office sold its own postcards. These were used until the Indian Post Office took over on 1 May 1950.
The first cards were letterpress printed by Perkins Bacon in London. 
They bore no stamp imprint, and a quarter anna stamp, from the new issue (also printed by Perkins Bacon) had to be stuck on before use. We can assume this was done at the post office before sale. A rectangle of dots was there to guide the clerk in fixing the adhesive, it can be seen if the adhesive was badly placed. 
The new adhesive stamps were printed by intaglio and a letterpress die similar in design that could be used on the printed card was perhaps not available. These cards were released locally in April 1905.

The inscription across the card,  ‘Only the address to be written on this side’, is standard for postcards of the time. Below it is the word for ‘reply’.
The roughened top edge is evidence the card was the lower half of a pair. This card was sent from Jaipur Central PO 22 October 1906.

A user could pay for the reply by buying a pair of cards, outward and reply. In most issues of Indian cards pairs can be found, the reply card being printed on the back opposite the blank half so that when the card is folded in half the postman only sees one address. These cards from Perkins Bacon were only printed on one side.

Numeral obliterator 6 of Udaipur, used (from the script) in 1905. Udaipur is now a city in Shekhawati and a municipality in Jhunjhunu district in the Indian state of Rajasthan.


The type image of the Udaipur obliterator [6/Ud. in Devanagari], taken from the definitive work on these markings: Jaipur State Postal Markings - A Comprehensive Listing (Adrian V. Kemmenoe and Ratan Chand Batia, published in ‘India Post’)

Numeral obliterator 87 of Sambhar Lake, [87/Samb.] which lies due west of Jaipur, and is connected by rail. Sambhar is an important centre of the salt industry. Arrived at Jaipur City 8 May 1906.

The Provisional Imprint of 1906

Every postcard had to have an adhesive stamp added in order to validate it. Normally this would be done behind the counter at the post office. Apart from the drudgery, there was always the danger of pilfering, the cost of these engraved stamps, and the worry that supply from distant London might fail. 

A provisional solution to using adhesives was to have a local printer stamp a simple grey-blue imprint on to the card. The imprint was prepared from ordinary printer’s type and lines. 

Here is an example from 1906, early in the life of these cards and used in Jaipur City.

In 1907, Perkins Bacon supplied cards with an imprinted stamp that closely resembled their contemporary intaglio adhesive.

A buff card showing the numeral obliterator for Kishangarh, where the State had a Post Office in a neighbouring state. Addressed to Chomu. 

Another much darker, pinky brown card, to Jaipur, arrived 14 June 1906. This card has a much paler back, so may be affected by sunlight. It shows an early example of the Jaipur datestamp used in the City. The lower ring reads ‘Dak Khana Sadar’ [Head Post Office]

Shortage of the Perkins Bacon cards led to more improvisation. 

This blue card is printed with the dividing line and address details of a Jaipur printer. The stamp was cancelled with a circular datestamp in the first type recorded that shows the Jaipur sun, as in the Arms [Cleal and Batia Type 26]. It is, here, used in July 1907, sent to Jaipur. 

Picture Postcards began to appear, and provide souvenirs for any brave and prosperous tourists who might arrive from Europe. 

female carriage

Picture Postcard, ‘Female Carriage (Bahal), 1909
The artwork is prepared from a local photo by the named artist, in Jaipur, and rendered by lithography. the back is printed letterpress, and, judging by the serial numbers, by a large printer elsewhere. 

 This card was probably sold to the foreign visitors at their hotel. The writer has just dated and located the card; 17th February 1909, at Jaipur, British [‘Anglaises’] India, stamped it at double the rate for some reason, and sent it to himself at the Kaiser-i-Hind Hotel, which was still in business 100 years later and is the 200-year-old house of the former Prime Minister of Jaipur.

 The card was only posted in the Indian system on the 19th, by when the sender had left for the Taj Mahal Hotel, Bombay. so it was endorsed for forwarding by the IPO, and was received at Bombay Fort, the local PO for the Taj, on the 24th.

The addressee, who was also the sender from the handwriting, was the Baron Rotsart de Hertaing, a Belgian nobleman with property in East Flanders. 

In 1909, Perkins Bacon changed the colour of the design to red, and were using a much more bleached white stock of card.

From 1911, the government began to experiment with printing their own cards at the Jail Press in Jaipur City, which was able to do other security printing for the State, and was indeed responsible for printing local copies of the Perkins Bacon sourced postage stamps. 

The first Jail Press issue lacks the state symbols and the Sun Chariot design and is a simple letterpress copy of the basic form on very thin card. 

This copy is dated 3 September 1911 at Manoharpur and sent to Jaipur.

This card is from the same printing, although the image is shifted to the left, and the torn top edge shows it to be from a reply card pair. It was posted at Kotah, Rajasthan, outside the State of Jaipur, and bears an Imperial adhesive to prepay the trip to Jaipur, postmarked 6pm on the 6th May 1912. The clerk at Kotah marked in red round the Jaipur imprint to stress that it is not valid for that part of the journey.
At Jaipur City the card is stamped on ‘delivery’ on the 8th, and handed to the State Post, which cancels the imprint and completes the journey to Rajmahal, Jaipur State.

The next issue, first use of which is recorded in September 1911, includes a rough rendering of the Sun Chariot. Local papers were used for the card, with a distinctive difference in colour from front to back, in this case from pink to green.

This card was quickly corrected to show the Devanagari script in the top tablet and its translation into English in the bottom tablet, as had been the arrangement for postage stamps since 1904.

This card with a buff back and pink front, is from Gangapur, and to Jaipur, sent 12 September 1912. 

This card with a green back and pink front, is also from Gangapur to the same addressee in Jaipur, sent 5 September 1912. Thus different stocks of card were in use at the same time.