Lanarkshire Philatelic Society




Chris. Harman FRPSL


"Over the years the government of the country has invented numerous ways of putting its hand in the pockets of its citizens in order to fund its activities".

With these words Mr Chris Harman, Immediate Past President of the Royal Philatelic Society of London, opened his wonderful Display at the meeting of the Lanarkshire Philatelic Society on 19th October.  Through documents, newspapers, certificates and stamps, he told the story of "Revenues" throughout the centuries.

He began with "Stamp Duty" – this being the first tax created by the government to fund King William III’s war against the French. Thereafter, through the years, taxes were imposed on Newspapers and Almanacs, Playing Cards, Hair Powder, Gloves and Hats.

A Newspaper duty was imposed during Queen Anne’s reign, not so much to raise revenue - more as a censorship of the criticism levelled at the Queen and her government!

Playing Card wrappers had a revenue imposed in 1711 – and the Ace of Spades was printed and supplied by the Stamp Office to indicate the payment of the required duty.

In 1712 a Paper Duty was imposed – and this included Wallpaper which had a Duty Stamp printed on the back! This Duty was abolished in 1861. In 1783 - Medicine Duty; 1784 - Hat Duty; 1786 - Perfume Duty; 1790 – Glove Duty – and in 1784 came the Hired Horse Duty; an initial ticket was valid to the first turnpike, then the driver was given an Exchange Ticket for further passage.

In 1853 came the issue of new 1d adhesive receipt stamps. These could not be used as postage stamps! They were attached to a receipt and signed across to signify the duty having been duly paid.

The Display concluded with a show of stamps and seals for Customs Duty, for the Justice Room and for the Mayor’s Court which exercised a commercial and civil jurisdiction within the City of London and met in the Guildhall.


Gordon Shepherd proposed the Vote of Thanks for a truly wonderful talk and most interesting display of such rare documents and artefacts.