Roger Brody was our speaker on October 9, on the topic “Embossed Revenue Stamps Revisited.” After a brief historical review of the use of revenue stamped paper, Roger showed us a fabulous array of rare embossed U.S. revenues ranging from the mid-18th century to the mid-1800s.
Roger noted that the first use of revenue stamped paper in the U.S. occurred in Boston in 1755. He displayed a Boston newspaper from 1757 with a ½ pence seal. He also showed a document with a 2 pence codfish stamp, along with a 1757 example of the 4 pence sailing ship. Many of these were court judgments.
One of the highlights was an unused 3 pence stamped paper from 1765, representing paper from the notorious Stamp Act. Roger also showed stamped paper starting with the first tax act of Congress in 1789, including Philadelphia Custom House seals. Other highlights included: $5 stamp for operating a still (followed by a discussion of the 1794 Whiskey Rebellion); 1801 estate appraisal (with slaves listed); and 1814 taxation of retail alcohol.
While it was noted that all federal document taxes ended in 1817, some states continued such taxes, with the last use in 1856. Roger’s exhibit was very well written, providing a wealth of historical information while displaying some very scarce documents.