|An aspect of fiscal policy|
A beard tax is one of several taxes introduced throughout history on men who wear beards.
In 1535, King Henry VIII of England, who wore a beard himself, introduced a tax on beards. The tax was a graduated tax, varying with the wearer's social position. His daughter, Elizabeth I of England, reintroduced the beard tax, taxing every beard of more than two weeks' growth.
In 1698, Emperor Peter I of Russia instituted a beard tax to modernize the society of Russia following European models. Those who paid the tax were required to carry a "beard token". This was a copper or silver token with a Russian Eagle on one side and on the other, the lower part of a face with nose, mouth, whiskers, and beard. It was inscribed with two phrases: "the beard tax has been taken" (lit: "Money taken") and "the beard is a superfluous burden". Walter Hawkins published a paper in 1845 illustrating an example of the token from his own collection, and describing the history of the tax in Russia. Those who resisted the ban on beards were forcibly and publicly shaved.
- Sharpe, M. E. (1967), Challenge, Vol 2, New York University Institute of Economic Affairs, p. 14
- Fashions in Hair: The first five thousand years, Richard Corson, published 1965 by Peter Owen Ltd, ISBN 0 7206 3283 8 - page 220
- "Smithsonian Rare Russian Coin Collection Seeks Exhibition Sponsor". America.gov. Retrieved 2011-12-23.
- Florenskiĭ, Pavel Aleksandrovich (1997), The Pillar and the Ground of Truth, Princeton University Press, p. 535, ISBN 978-0-691-03243-6
- Numismatic Chronicle, vol. vii., pp. 153—155, 1845
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