The stamps bore the Merchants' Mark of the British East India Company in a design embossed on wafers of sealing wax impressed on paper and are found in three colors. It is believed that the red version was issued first but because they cracked and disintegrated very easily, they were soon replaced by a colorless design embossed on white paper. The last stamps were a blue embossing on white paper. All three stamps had a value of a ½ anna.
The ½a vermillion un-issued value – 1854
This stamp, with 9½ arches in the side border, was prepared for use and a supply was sent to Bombay, but was not officially issued. The vermillion shade is normally found on toned paper and the deep vermillion on white paper.
The ½a Die I issue in various blue shades – 1854
The ½a Die I stamp is found in four distinct shades being blue, pale blue, deep blue and indigo. While the official release date of the stamp was 1 October 1854 the stamps were already on public sale from mid-September. Mid-August use is recorded as early as mid-August at Toungoo, Burma.
The stamps were printed between 5 May and 29 July 1854 with the total amount printed being 30 million.
The bulk of the stamps were printed between 1 and 12 August 1854 with some extra sheets being printed on or before 2 November 1854. The printing is estimated to be about 2 million stamps.
The 1a Die I issue in red shades – 1854
The 1a Die I stamp is found in two distinct shades being deep red and red. The printing of the stamps commenced on 26 July 1854 and continued in to mid-August with the total printing of Die I and Die II being approximately 7.5 million stamps.
The 1a Die II issue in red shades – 1854
The 1a Die II stamp is found in two distinct shades being deep red and dull red. The printing of the stamps took place in August and September 1854 with the total printing of Die I and Die II being approximately 7.5 million stamps.
The 4as Lithograph – Third Printing – Head Dies II, III and IIIA – Frame Dies I and II – 1855
The 4as third printing is only found in different, often bright, shades of one color being blue/red. The printing is complicated consisting of various combinations of 3 Head Dies and 2 Frame Dies. The printing has the stamps widely spaced in the sheet and separated by a blue wavy line. The printing was made between 10 March and 2 April 1855 and a total of 138,960 stamps were printed.