Revenue stamps

American colonies tax stamps

The British Library has a wide range of stamps for collecting tax. These include the tax stamps of 1765 that helped to spark the American War of Independence. We also have Zululand revenue duty stamps.

About the collection

You can see:

  • Great Britain and BritishCommonwealth revenues, (The Board of Inland Revenue Stamping Department Archive). This includes an extensive amount of material.
  • British Commonwealth revenues, (The Crown Agents Philatelic and Security Printing Archive).
  • British Commonwealth revenues, (The Foreign and Commonwealth Office Collection).
  • Great Britain revenue stamps in proof and registration form, 1827-1933 in eight volumes, includes Table Water Duty, Medicine Tax, Playing Card Tax stamps, and Pension Order forms, (The H M Customs and Excise Collection).
  • Great Britain Excise Revenue material, also strong in National Savings, National Insurance and revenue stamps, (The H M Stationery Office Collection).
  • Great Britain 1826-1840 correspondence between the Treasury and Excise, with some content relating to the working of the departments, (The Treasury Excise Correspondence Collection).
  • British Commonwealth revenue stamps, to about 1940, (The Kay Collection).
  • Libya including revenue stamps of 1955-1969, (The Davies Collection).
  • Hungary City Municipal tax stamps of Budapest from 1898, (The Ryan Collection).
  • Great Britain - Cypher Labels, (The Turner Collection).
  • Great Britain - Newspaper Tax stamps, (The Turner Collection).

What is available online?

The Global Philatelic Library provides many online resources. You'll find over a million digitised pages from our Crawford Collection of early philatelic literature.

What is available in our Reading Rooms?

You can study revenue stamps in our Philatelic Reading Room. You’ll need to make an appointment to use this Reading Room. If you can, please contact us at least 10 days before your visit. Our experts will be on hand to advise. Call us on 020 7412 7635 or email:

Other Reading Rooms are available if you want to read philatelic books or journals. Search our catalogue, Explore the British Library, to find publications.