Artifacts Of The
   American Revolutionary War

The Stamp Tax Stamp


     The Stamp Tax was a tax levied against paper items. The name is a bit misleading. It would lead you to assume that the tax was placed on the stamp itself. But the stamp simply functioned as the overt sign that the tax had been paid for the paper item on which the stamp was placed. In other words, a printer or law clerk was required to pay a tax for the use of the paper or vellum onto which he would either print a broadside or write out an indenture. Then, after having paid the necessary tax, he would affix the stamp onto the document to show that he had dutifully paid the necessary tax.
     The images above show the Stamp Tax stamp and how it was affixed onto an Indenture on the front side of that document. The stamp is embossed with the King's insignia and the legend "Honi Soit Qui Mal Y Pense" and has around its border "IV Pence" and "1 Shilling". The image below shows the backside of the document. The paper stamp pasted over the spot occupied on the opposite side by the actual tax stamp has the letters "G" and "R", referring to "George" and "Rex", or George III, the King.