Embossed Revenue Stamps

Rowland Hill’s idea for pre-printed postage stamps, that acted as a sort of bearer certificate for a service purchased but not yet obtained, was not formed in a vacuum. Printed postage stamps were a new idea, but embossed revenue stamps (and even a few embossed postage stamps from the Italian area) had been around for a long time before 1840. Among the more interesting areas of the very specialized US Revenue field are the embossed revenues. These stamps were embossed designs that were placed on sheets of paper that then were used for legal documents, property transfers, contracts, and the like to indicate that the tax had been paid on these documents (it was embossed revenue stamps like these that were the physical dimension of the hated stamp tax act of 1765, that the British placed on the Colonies and was one of the factors that led to our rebellion). Embossed revenues allowed banks and attorneys to have a stock of forms on which the taxes were paid so that legally binding documents could be made up quickly.
The problem with embossed revenue collecting, if it can be called a problem, is that the stamps are so rare that collecting them is difficult. (This is a problem with all very esoteric and rare philatelic areas, and the same factors discussed below applies to them). There are over 500 embossed revenues listed by Scott, most of which are seldom, if ever seen (as I write this, out of the millions of stamp listings on Ebay, there is only one embossed revenue of the US listed for sale). This not only makes new additions for collections hard to find, it has also meant that prices of these stamps have stayed quite low, and the price difference between wholesale and retail are quite close. This has discouraged dealers from stocking them, which has made collecting these stamps even more difficult. Here’s how that works

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