Stamped paper

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A used Indian 12 Anna stamped paper dated 1938 (top 90% only shown)
A stamped paper of Alipura State in India
A 1934 stamped paper from Sangli State in India

Stamped paper is an often-foolscap piece of paper which bears a pre-printed revenue stamp.[1][2] Stamped papers are not a form of postal stationery.

The use of stamped paper in the American colonies was so unpopular that it has been credited with sowing the seeds of the American Revolution.


The stamped paper has been widely used around the world to collect taxes on documents requiring stampings, such as leases, agreements, receipts, court documents and many others. The papers are bought blank apart from the pre-printed stamp and are available from stationers, lawyers' offices, post offices and courts according to local regulations. The parties to the matter then write their legal business on the paper and lodge it with the court or other interested party. This is an efficient way of collecting taxes and stamping documents without the need to submit them to a separate government stamp office.


Stamped paper is thought to have been a Spanish invention,[3] being introduced (or reinvented) in the Netherlands in the 1620s.[4] It has been used widely in France (from 1651),[4] Great Britain (from 1694),[4] the United States, India and elsewhere.

The 1765 Stamp Act required all British colonies in the New World to use stamped paper prepared in London and embossed with a revenue stamp.[5] This led to riots and political agitation which have been credited with sowing the seeds of the American Revolution.


Collecting stamped paper is part of revenue philately.[6]

Security measures[edit]

The stamp sometimes occupies the entire width of the top part of the paper and is often of an intricate engraved design to enhance security. The paper will also frequently have a whole page watermark for the same reason.[citation needed]

Current uses[edit]

Stamped papers remain in use in many countries; however, electronic versions are being developed to reduce the risk of fraud. This has particularly been the case in India following a large-scale fraud in the year 2000.[7][8] The use of stamped paper remains an important source of revenue in some developing countries, like Bangladesh, where other forms of taxation are hard to collect.[9]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Mackay, James. Philatelic Terms Illustrated. 4th edition. London: Stanley Gibbons, 2003, p. 147. ISBN 0-85259-557-3
  2. ^ "The British Postal Museum and Archive: Philatelic glossary". Archived from the original on 28 June 2011. Retrieved 26 February 2010.
  3. ^ de Lacroze, Jean Cornand (1802). A historical grammar: or A chronological abridgement of universal history. D. Carlisle for C. Bingham, p. 196
  4. ^ a b c Dagnall, H. (1994) Creating a Good Impression: three hundred years of The Stamp Office and stamp duties. London: HMSO, p. 3. ISBN 0116414189
  5. ^ "The Stamp Act of 1765 - A Serendipitous Find" by Hermann Ivester in The Revenue Journal, The Revenue Society, Vol.XX, No.3, December 2009, pp. 87–89.
  6. ^ What is Revenue Stamp - Where to Get, Its Use, Price and Rules in ... . 6 February 2022.
  7. ^ E-Stamping of properties – a sure way of avoiding corruption and bribery in Bengaluru (Archived) Retrieved 26 February 2010.
  8. ^ How Telgi Pulled Off Rs 3,000 Cr Stamp Paper Scam Until He Didn’t Retrieved 5 December 2021.
  9. ^ Bangladesh Govt to Amend Stamp Law to Boost Revenue Retrieved 12 December 2010. Archived here

Further reading[edit]

  • Castenholz, Bill. Field Guide to Revenue Stamped Paper, Castenholz and Sons, Publishers, Pacific Palisades, California, United States.
  • Einstein, Joseph; Thomas C. Kingsley and W. Richard DeKay. Handbook for United States Revenue Stamped Paper, American Revenue Association, Inc., United States.
  • Koeppel, Adolph. The Stamps that Caused the American Revolution, the stamps of the 1765 British Stamp Act for America, American Revolution Bicentennial Commission, New York, 1976.

External links[edit]