US Stamps

By Henry Gitner and Rick Miller

Tip of the week: U.S. embossed revenue stamps on document

January 21, 2016 04:09 PM

  • Colonial and federal embossed revenue stamps on document valued at $20 or less in the 2016 Scott Specialized Catalogue of United States Stamps and Covers are in demand and are selling for about double their catalog value.

By Henry Gitner and Rick Miller

In Great Britain’s American colonies, payment of some taxes was shown by a tax stamp embossed on the paper of the document. This practice was continued in some instances by the state and federal governments after American independence.

The 2016 Scott Specialized Catalogue of United States Stamps and Covers describes these revenue stamps as “colorless impressions resembling a notary public stamp.” These embossed revenue stamps are listed in the Scott U.S. Specialized catalog with numbers prefixed by “RM.”

Embossed revenue stamps were required on documents such as bills of exchange, promissory notes, powers of attorney, bills of lading, bonds, letters patent, leases and mortgages, and were used throughout the colonies and in the 13 original states.

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Not a few of these embossed revenue stamps on document are valued at $20 or less. Regarding values, the Scott U.S. Specialized catalog says, “Values are for clear impressions on entire documents of the most common usage in good condition. The document may be folded. Unusual or rare usages sell for much more. Parts of documents, cut squares or poor impressions sell for much less.”

Any of the embossed revenue stamps on document valued at $20 or less are generally worth about double their catalog value in good condition with a clear impression. They seldom come to market, and sell quickly when they do.

If you live in a state where they were used, it can prove interesting and challenging to acquire one from your state.

These embossed revenue stamps are more proof that you don’t have to spend a lot of money to find really interesting material for your collection.