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India: 1854 4 annas blue and pale red, error head inverted, two used on cover.

India: 1854 4 annas blue and pale red, error head inverted, two used on cover.

Printer: Surveyor-General's Office, Calcutta

Medium: Lithograph

Date: 1854

Shelfmark: Tapling Collection

Item number: 1

Length: 83

Width: 140

Scale: Millimetres

Genre: Philatelic item

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The first general issue of stamps for British India appeared in 1854. These were ½ anna blue, 1 anna red and 4 annas blue and red, printed from lithographic stones at the office of the Surveyor-General, in Calcutta.

As the 4 annas was in two colours it required two printings from separate lithographic stones, one for the head of Queen Victoria in blue, and one for the frame in red. The two copies of the 4 annas shown on this letter sheet from Bombay to Venice, have the head of Queen Victoria printed upside down. This is the only known entire bearing the error head inverted (the stamps are affixed upside down).

Thomas Tapling purchased the item for £32 in 1890 from the Italian stamp dealer Dr Emilio Diena.

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