Dave Elsmore


This is the fourth in the series of ‘Let’s Educate the Judges’ in evaluating the exhibits of the Australian States Revenue and Railway Stamps. 

This paper is not a critique: it is written to help guide the judge in this fairly new field of  Revenue Exhibiting. I offer my 40 years of knowledge in collecting Tasmanian revenue stamps.

When judging a Tasmanian revenue exhibit there are several references available to the judge, ‘Stamps of Tasmania’ by Bassett Hull 1890, ‘The Perkins Bacon & De La Rue Printings’ by Bassett Hull, 1932, ‘The Courier’ published by the Tasmanian Philatelic Society has several worth while articles to help the judge, W. Craig has published the ‘Handbook of Tasmanian Revenue Stamps’ 1997, which is in bad need of an update, and for Commonwealth beer stamps see “The Revenue Stamps of the Commonwealth of Australia and its Territories” by W Craig 1986. For the fiscal-postal section Robson Lowe Volume 1V 1962 has information on die & plate proofs. A comprehensive listing of shades can be found in Stanley Gibbons.

Tasmania was the first Australian State to issue a duty stamp in 1827 and therefore the earliest state to be collected. This like other states has a ‘quiet’ period 1920-1966 where study ceased, so there is much room for the student to research and publish new information. There appears to be an abundance of material available to the exhibitor as many large holdings have come on to the open market in the last 25 years. This also includes original art work, essays, master dies and plate proofs etc.

Tasmania first accented an adhesive duty Act on 24 September 1863 and it became known as ‘An Act to provide for the raising of Stamp Duties in Tasmania’ and came into force on the 1 October 1863.

Section One

Newspaper Duty: An Act to license and tax newspapers became affective on 15 October 1827 and an exhibit must show a complete copy of an 1827 or 1828 newspaper with as near complete ‘two pence’ handstamp as possible. An orange strike being the more available but a black first month strike would be a plus and is scarce to rare.

Fiscal Postals. Chalon Heads 1857-91:

Die, plate proofs & specimen overprints are known and a selection shown would reward. Reprinted die proofs are known and should be clearly described by the exhibitor. It is important the exhibitor show a good range of shades and values. Plenty are available with 4 margin imperfs given a plus along with the scarce to rare 1865-69 privately perforated stamps done at Oatlands & Longford. I would suggest a certificate if displaying from these two private perforators.  Launceston and Hobart perforated stamps are available and should be shown. Prior to 1863 the exhibitor must be careful not to show manuscripted postal numerals (or you will have the traditionalists wanting to swap!). About 30 different have been recorded. Not all fiscal postals were pen canceled, the Supreme Court & Colonial Treasury used cancellers and at least one department should be shown. Usage is available and a document or two should be shown. There are plenty of large multiples [fig 1] fiscally used available to the exhibitor.

Fig 1

Fiscal Multiples Imperf and Perf

Sidefaces 1870-91:

As with the Chalon issues large quantities of sidefaces are available to the revenue collector including large multiples fiscally used. Die & plate proofs are available and should be included along with specimen overprints, shade, watermark & perforation studies. Imperf copies are available and a small selection should reward. The 4d blue is scarce and known to have had revenue usage, this should be shown. Most of these 4d copies have been snapped up by unscrupulous persons, removing pen cancels then on selling to the unsuspecting collector as mint copies. It is easy to identify cleaned stamps with a UV lamp. Unlike traditionalists this is one stamp we do not need a certificate to prove revenue usage. Michael Blake in his “EXHIBITING & JUDGING TASMANIA” articles in preceding editions of NAPE [I would recommend all Tasmanian revenue collectors read it] queries the usage of the watermark 10 perf 11½. I have a fiscally used copy in my collection [fig 2] with a perfect date of 15/4/71.  This obviously would be a big plus if shown and must be rated very rare. Possibly only one sheet was perfed 11½ and part of this was used fiscally. Gibbons does not list this stamp postally used only mint. Quality usage should be rewarded with condition given a premium.

Fig 2

Wmk 10 Post Office Perf 11½ Unique?

Tablets 1892-99:

High value tablets were mostly used for revenue purposes and are readily available to the exhibitor along with plenty of the lower values including large fiscally used multiples. Essays and plate proofs exist but only a handful, all are rare and the revenue collector would be hard pressed to fight off traditional collectors in auctions for copies to exhibit. A range of watermark & perforation studies would reward and there is much scope for original research here. With plenty of mint blocks available, the judge will not be looking for a mint block with a ‘forged’ pen cancel, but seriously, nice clean usage is available and should be shown.

George & Dragon:

First issued in 1863 the exhibit should show a range of imperfs. Four margin copies given a plus, none are scarce. With plenty of perforated issues available none are scarce, but a perf study should reward with watermark varieties and multiples given a plus. Imperf reprints with or without the ‘REPRINT’ overprint. Perforated stamps with or without the overprint ‘REPRINT’ or ‘SPECIMEN’ overprints are available to the exhibitor in sheets, none are scarce. In late 1900 the three high values were overprinted ‘REVENUE’ Two sizes have been recorded and should be shown, 15 mm x 1½ mm on wmk ‘1’ & wmk ‘TAS’ and in 1903 a 15 mm x 2 mm on Wmk ‘4’ on 2/6d & 10/- only is known. Varieties such as broken letters would be a plus if shown. 1918 produced a 5d surcharge on the 10/- revenue overprint stamps and usage is known and should be shown. Large multiples [Fig 3] are scarce, and a small plating study should be appreciated by the judges if shown.

Fig 3

Imperf wing margin with plated stamps 7,8,9,10,11,19,20,21,22,23,31,32,33.


Original platypus art work 22 Mar 1877 is known, all unique. A master die of the central design [11 May 1877], master frame die with central design with value blank are known and would be a big plus if shown. The exhibitor should show a good representation of this issue as there are plenty available. ‘REVENUE’ overprints are available and a study should be shown with the perf 14 1/- being scarce. The 1d with inverted 'REVENUE' exists and the 1/- is also recorded with inverted and double overprint these are rare along with the large ‘UE’ of ‘REVENUE’. Revenue overprinted surcharges should also be shown, plenty available including inverted surcharge common. The 1D [fig 4] [not 1d] only known mint should be given a plus if shown as they are rare. Two complete panes, a top pane and a bottom pane [both panes are from the one sheet] of this overprint has been recorded in private hands. If broken up, would greatly affect the rarity of this overprint. Private perfins appear scarce and a selection would enhance. Usage is available and should be shown.


Fig 4

1D Unique Double Surcharge.

Platypus cont.:

In 1929 this issue was reintroduced with various values surcharged with the lower cartouche left blank. Issued both perforated and rouletted, all are available and should be shown. Usage 9d and above appear scarce and should be given a plus. Any dated 1929 copies shown should be rewarded.

A 22 May 1877 De La Rue rejected hand drawn Queens head sideface essay is known in private hands inscribed “STAMP DUTY TASMANIA ONE PENNY”.

QV ₤1 Queens Head Postage Stamp: 1900–44 (used to 1965) The ₤1 Queens Head was overprinted ‘REVENUE’, also known with double overprint, one vertical, this is scarce. With this overprinted issue a further 5d or 1s surcharge was applied and all three should be shown. Early usage should be rewarded as plenty of surcharged mint remainders are available. Late usage in fairly large multiples are known, and would be a plus if shown.

Numerals:  1904 saw the first numeral series with 6 different issues showing a different watermark. Security underprint and no watermarks all are available and should be shown with the only rarity being a 1/- on 3d [fig 5] surcharge and mint copies are rare. A 9d brown & 10/- green in the last issue are scarce but available. A surcharge ½d on 1d should be included in the exhibit. Security underprint usage above 3d appears to be the scarcest to find but again is available and should be shown. A small study of the different colours of security underprint would be a plus if shown.


Fig 5

Mint Pair showing damaged ‘S’.

The Koskie last Pre-Decimal Series:  This rouletted series is recorded on unwatermarked & watermarked paper to ₤5. Black proofs exist of all values and are scarce and should be rewarded if shown. The issued stamps are available with the exception of the 2½d unwatermarked, and if shown would be a plus. A small study of perfin's should reward along with usage of high values.

Handstamps found on Government Cheques/Receipts: Two different patterns are known, 1865 1d 29 mm and 1879 1d 28 mm. Both should be shown with the 1879 being scarce to rare, on entire would be a plus.

Colourless embossed duty stamps found on cheques: Two different patterns are known, 1867 1d 32 mm and the small crown 1871-80 1d again 32 mm with the preceding scarce but both available and should be shown.

Platypus Impressed duty stamps: A number of hand drawn [pencil] essays are available and if shown should be appreciated by the judge. 1880 Die Proofs both dated and undated coloured and albino with the central design complete are known form 1d to ₤20. A single presentation undated coloured set c1900 is known with the commissioner’s initials and several sets per favor coloured and albino were done in the mid 1950’s and are in collector’s hands.  A used selection should be shown along with a good representation of dated albino, undated albino & coloured usage, most values are available. Embossed to order 2d, 3d & 6d newspaper wrappers are known, they are scarce but available and a single shown should be rewarded.

Impressed duty stamps: Around 1919 saw the introduction of a 15/- and four high values to ₤100. Per favor coloured impressions are known in collector’s hands [mid 1950’s]. Usage of these high values is scarce to rare but available and a couple of values should be shown. 1956 saw the introduction of a ‘belt & buckle’ low value series 1d to 6d again Per Favor coloured & albino impressions are known in collectors hands including the 1½d diamond. All appear scarce and usage shown would be a plus. A final last pre decimal low value series of five values is known and at least one shown would be a plus, all are scarce to rare. A further last pre decimal issue of 62 is known, black proofs of all values are known and a selection should be shown all are rare. This series has the highest face value revenues for Tasmania with a ₤250, ₤500 & ₤1000 [fig 6] added, all are rare and an exhibit with a single high value should be rewarded.  A spelling error exists in the penny reading PENNEY and both were issued with the error scarce to rare and should be shown.

Fig 6

Black Die Proof ‘PENNEY’     Tasmania’s highest value Revenue £1000.

Manuscripted Revenue: To help complete the story a document or two showing manuscripted receipted duty with no stamps used would be a plus. Example: “Received £4/10/6 stamp duty hereon this day 31 day of October 1914 signed Dave Elsmore Collector of Stamp Duties”.  I have 5 different signatures and this also comes as a purple hand cancel, so showing an example would be a plus. Documents are available to the exhibitor and these are mostly found on vellum. I believe this system come about due to the fact Tasmania had no means of affixing stamps to vellum other than the clumsy circular punch staples found on fiscal postal sideface issues. I have dates ranging from 1914- 51. Other Australian states used silver staples or a needle & thread to stitch the stamps onto the vellum.

Highlights to look for:

1. Original artwork.

2. Master die, die & plate proofs.

3. Private perfs..

4. 1D surcharge.

5. 1s surcharge mint.

6. Dated Impressed usage.

7. Embossed wrapper, any.

8. Belt & Buckle usage.

9. Lion Impressed usage.

10. Impressed ₤250, ₤500, ₤1000.



Section Two

This section includes the Beer Duty, Tax Instalment & Revenue stamped paper.

Beer duty stamps: Some of the most attractive revenues can be found in the Tasmanian beer duties. All well documented with intricate designs to help prevent fraud. An exhibitor may add two or three frames from section two to complete a 5 or 8 frame exhibit. It is important to note an exhibit with badly torn or only half beer stamps should NOT be penalised. Large fines, even imprisonment were imposed if beer stamps were not defaced. Mint remainders should be rewarded.

March 1880 saw the first all mono colour beer duty stamps produced. All are exceedingly rare and a single copy from this first series should be rewarded. Towards the end of 1880 saw another series produced. Various colours were used, again all rare to very rare. A single copy should be rewarded. In late 1881 another series was produced which ran for nearly 10 years. I would rate these as scarce, and a selection should be shown. In 1930 red per favor positive negatives were printed and the exhibitor may or may not wish to add these late ‘proofs’ all are available and not scarce at all. This series was also surcharged in 1892 a sample or two should be shown surcharges continued through to 1900.

With the formation of the Commonwealth in 1901 a new beer excise Act was imposed, and a series of nine beer stamps was produced. There appears to be more mint remainders than genuine used stamps available and a selection should be shown, it is also possible to reconstruct sheets of ten and a plating study should reward. In 1902 imperf proofs are recorded all scarce with the issued stamps available and a selection should be shown. 1902 also saw the introduction of the key type beer duty for all Australian states. There is a whole series of ‘Beer in Casks’ recorded, but with only one value in collectors hands, it should be shown. 1903 ‘Beer in Bottles’ the same recording of a full series but only four values are in collectors hands, again should be shown. 1903 saw another ‘Cask & Bottle’ series no watermark produced because of the addition of Malt Hops & Barley, a selection should be shown. It is also important the exhibitor include with this series, examples printed on watermarked ‘NEW SOUTH WALES’ paper which is unrecorded and rare. With WW1 came four different surcharges on old stock all are rare and should be rewarded.

In 1918 another key type change of design removing the states name this series became available Australia wide with the beer Act being repealed in 1958. Unfortunately Craig only lists the printer's archival records and NOT the copies known in collectors hands. A judge must NOT go from this list and penalise the exhibitor for lack of copies used within the state. All copies are rare to exceedingly rare and just one half of a stamp shown should be rewarded. With the Commonwealth “Beer Excise Act 1901-1928” regulations reading “All beer in bottles shall have the stamps placed on the cart-note, so that in separating the cart-note from its butt the stamp will be halved as nearly as possible” this only applied to bottled beer. Beer in kegs had the complete stamp stuck on the cask and this was supposed to be destroyed when the cask was opened. Only a handful have survived and would be a plus if one or more was shown used from a Tasmanian brewery. Complete cart-notes [fig 7] exist and if shown should be well rewarded as only a small handful have survived.

Fig 7

1 of 2 Recorded Cart-Notes.

Wages Tax Overprint:   1d to £1 numeral issue overprinted ‘WAGES TAX’ [fig 8] printed in 1935 ran for five years and all are available. Different overprint colour and settings should be shown by the exhibitor, usage is rare and should be rewarded.

Fig 8

Wide & Narrow Overprint Settings.

Tax Instalment Overprint:  Numerals overprinted ‘TAX INSTALMENT’ [fig 9] are recorded on all values to 10/- all rare with lower values available and at least one should be shown. My studies show a £1 & £5 was issued. none have surfaced yet. A blank value platypus overprinted ‘2s. TAX INSTALMENT’ is known and is scarce to rare, this would be a plus if shown.

Fig 9

Tax Instalment Overprint.

The Joint Commonwealth Tax stamps were introduced [TAS printed central] in 1941. 30 values 1d to £5 were printed with 15 only unique die proofs of the frame colours known.  Also known with part ‘CANCELLED’ showing one of these groups of letters CAN-CEL-LED.  These are from printers booklets sent to interstate tax offices as reference copies, all are very rare.   All issued stamps are available with mint being rare only a handful of the £5 [fig 10] exist and would be a plus if shown.  Usage is particularly rare with the £5 very rare.  The 3/- is recorded in two frame colours the beige being rare and if shown would be a plus. Craig lists the 16/- as not being issued, this is wrong. He also lists an issued set with no imprint this is also wrong and was taken from archive records. A wage sheet showing usage would reward. 

Fig 10

The Rare £5 wmk Crown over A Sideways.

Revenue Stamped Paper. Betting Tax:

Tatterstall’s tickets had preprinted ‘STAMP DUTY’ with value on them printed in a ‘box’, values from 1d [fig 11] to 2/- are known [The 2/- is found on the 20/- ticket with 22/- being paid] the 1d & 2/- are not recorded by Craig. Cut outs of all values are found and should be shown. Complete tickets with values other than 6d are rare to very rare and if shown should be rewarded. These tickets come in an array of colours with the ‘Tax box’ either single or double lined. A ticket with the wording “This ticket represents a value in this Consultation of 5/- including 6d. Tasmanian Government Stamp Duty” should be shown & explained by the exhibitor. Craig notes from 7 November 1905 the duty was raised from 1d to 2d per 5/- wagered this date is wrong the correct date is 1 January 1905.

Fig 11

Betting Tax 1d 1903. Tax box 34mm x 18mm.

Bookmakers Betting Ticket Tax:

Craig states no pre decimal values have been recorded this needs to be corrected as a 1d & 3d [1948c] plus a 3d sub-charged [fig 12] ‘TWO PENCE’ [1953] believed unique. A 2d [1959] shows a  different belt & buckle die from 1d 3d plus the 2d has a different crown, the wording in the belt reads ‘TASMANIA STAMP DUTY’ with no value.


Bookmakers Betting Tax 2d one Surcharged. Full ticket size 100 mm x 50 mm.

Postal Notes:

The exhibitor will find information in early issues of the State Tax Act. Also check the Postal Stationary Society of Australia journals for articles. All appear scarce with the early notes rare, a page or two with original research would reward. To help give a comparison, I have 3 notes from Tasmania and a one frame exhibit on Qld postal notes.

Highlights to look for:

1.    First series beer duties.

2.   Last series beer duties.

3.  Complete Tatts tickets other than 6d.

4.  Betting Tax Ticket.

5.  Income tax die proof.

6.  1941 high value £5.

7.  Income tax 1941 3/- Beige.

8. Early Postal Notes.

I would strongly recommend to all revenue judges to reread the FIP GREX and SREV’s before attempting to evaluate a revenue exhibit and adhere to them. Exhibitors tend to increase the size of their exhibit over a period of time as material is sourced and added to frame by frame. If an exhibit has been rewritten, do not evaluate the exhibit on past showings. Evaluate the exhibit on what you see in the frames before you.

Revenues as a new class lacks published information and simple sources for obtaining material. Thus original research and the problem of acquisition of unusual material is more difficult than in more traditional classes. This should be appreciated by the judges.

Write critiques to help the exhibitor further his exhibit. Straight negative critiques are unhelpful at the best of time, but even worse for a new field such as revenues.

Treatment is left to the judge’s expertise with the exhibitor following the FIP SREV’s which can be found at the FIP web site here: https://www.f-i-p.ch/ The writer can be contacted at this email address: Dave

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All Graphics. Dave Elsmore

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