These stamps are not essentially identical to postage stamps, and date back to early or middle eighteenth century. However, both kinds of stamps can sometimes be used interchangeably!

What are Revenue Stamps?

Revenue Stamps have been used traditionally as a means to collect taxes, fees and other such charges involved in businesses concerning sale and shipment of goods like medicines, documents, alcohol, drugs and other licensed chattels under the Stamp Acts.

Formation of The Revenue Society

There has to be a body that can deal with revenue Stamps across the globe, hence the Revenue Society which emerged from the United Kingdom in the year 1990, originating from a meeting at the East India Club on 3rd March 1990.

You may also read about the Fiscal Philatelic Society which had a decline long ago, around the year 1928.

It was Robson Lowe, who kindled of this process during the mid-twentieth century.

  • Philately is the term for the collection or investment as well as the study of various kinds of Stamps.

Who proposed the idea of revenue Stamps?

Rowland Hill in 1837 proposed the idea of assigning a stamp to signify payment after which proceedings for Revenue Stamps came about!

It was then the collective effort of Rowland Hill, Henry Cole and William Mulready, initially, to plan the entries.

  • If you love travelling, do visit the Postal Museum in London!

First Revenue Stamp

The first stamp of this kind, was used in 1840 and it was called Penny Black.

An image of a block of six Penny Black Stamps is shown below:


Source: Royal Mail

Where and when was the first Revenue Stamp printed?

Penny Black being the first ever revenue stamp, was issued in the Great Britain on the 1st May 1840 and the order for its official use began after five days of its release!

Know about British Postal Museum- here

  • Value:

    • As the name and stamp profile suggests, it stands for value of a Penny.

    • However, the value of it as today is about a 500 Euros!

  • If you are someone who enjoys collecting stamps, you may want to know the estimated values of the stamps possessed by you! (Check here)

Development and Usage

Revenue Stamps have been used both locally and internationally.

Different countries have authorised their usage at different times, more or less in the same period and becoming widespread between early and mid-nineteenth centuries.

In India, these stamps can claim fees or transactions as large as INR 5K and above, according to the India Stamp Act 1899 for uses including debt, demand, receipt, exchange bills, cheques, memorandum, etc.

Visit Catalogue: here

Parts of a Stamp:

  • Tagging by Phosphor: Phosphor (or even a coating detectable with UV lamp) is used to make a distinction between the first and second class mail, in Britain.

  • Perforating: Meant to aid the separation of stamps, a number of lines of holes are punched going across outlines of stamps on the stamp sheet.

  • Watermarks: Detected by holding stamps to the light, watermarks are a security device for the stamps

(Read: The Complete Guide to Stamps and Stamp Collecting by Dr James Mackay)

Some Revenue Stamps:

Commonly Used Stamps



Revenue Stamp: India

Value: 5 n P or 'five naye paise'



Revenue Stamp: Columbia

Issue: 1916

Value: 2 c or 'Dos Centavos'



Revenue Stamp: South Africa

Value: 6 d



Duty Stamp: New Zealand

Value: 6 shillings

Collector’s Stamps



Foreign Bill Stamp: India

Released in 1861

Value: Rs 3/-



Revenue Stamp: Bahrain

Printed by: Waterlow & Sons

Released in 1924

Value: 4 Anna


Source: Peter Clarke (Wikipedia)

Consular Service Stamp: Ireland

Used in: 1939

Value: 2 s or 'two shilling'


Revenue Stamp: Sarawak

Issued: 1918

Value: $1


Source: Stan Shebs (Wikipedia)

Revenue Stamp: United States


Value: 2 c or 'two cents'


Source: Own

Postage and Revenue Stamp: Dominica

Issued: 1923

Value: 6 d


Source: Own

Postage and Revenue: Britain

Issue: 2002

Value: 2 d

(Blog Banner Photograph: Own)