The history of taxes in general and stamp duty in particular

Overige zegels

(From revenue stamped paper to revenue stamp- a fiscal philatelic chronicle from the very beginning, Part 1a.) This is only a very, very small part of imperforate revenue stamps worldwide, and who says otherwise, should try research on stamped paper… I have been asked repeatedly to present a paper on fiscal philately in the world that illuminates the historical background of fiscal philately and classifies the various topics in a comprehensible manner.

Fig. 1: Clein Segel (small seal) at about 8 Stuever/Stuyver/Stuiver, not attached but “angeplaakt”, meaning basted, affixed, wired, sewn…

I am finally pleased to do so, even if it is hard for me to be brief in this regard. The field of fiscal philately is just too complex and broad. And you could write even more essays about stamp duty, which is an indirect tax, also called transaction tax, mostly meaning stamped papers or stamp papers. Even after more than ten years of research and the compilation of almost 150 manuals and 6 in progress, I still have to say, there are simply too few who do research and we are still in the beginnings regarding the research of fiscal philately and indirect taxes. It is even more pleasing, when gaps are meticulously closed and in such a profound way as is done by the outstanding expert in the field of Saxon fiscal philately Steffen Eckert in his work. I hereby declare my wish that many philatelists understand this chronicle as an introduction to be able to classify fiscal philately better and that this chronicle spreads as quickly as the stamp paper itself. In the following, I will show to anyone interested – on the basis of old sources – how fiscal philately has developed from the very beginning and what the stamp is all about.

However, it started in Europe (and not overseas), where wars had always been an appropriate instrument of forcing through the interests of countries and rulers or even the faith by the church in Rome. Before I come to that, I want to address briefly fiscal philately versus stamps philately as the object of research.

Fiscal- Philately – just a hobby or rather historical science?
The work only starts for collectors of fiscal documents where it ends for most stamp collectors. Whereas the former limit themselves often to the identification of brand, type, and form of stamps, travel paths and valuation of letters, the collector of fiscal documents in general needs to delve deeper into the matter.

Important questions need to be answered, such as:

  • What is the content and scope of this document?
  • From what time and from which region does it come from?
  • Is it possible to draw conclusions about paper mill and creation time from the watermark?
  • What were the power relations in the region at the time of writing?
  • What were the tax rates and how were taxes levied in this case?
  • What currency was valid at the time?
  • Which fee amounts were paid?
  • Which people have been involved?
  • What were the consequences of the document for the involved persons?

Important auxiliary and basic sciences of history like knowing how to use archives, libraries, and files, heraldry, genealogy, numismatics, historical geography, knowledge about taxes, paleography, diplomatics, sigillography (sphragistics), epigraphy, and even historical chronology as well as the complete history of law and others make great demands on fiscal philatelists.

Whereas collecting stamps usually remains a hobby, the collection of fiscal documents often gets out of hand and becomes the meticulous combination of various details. The greater, of course, is the pleasure, when we decipher another document at the end of a long road, present it to the scientific community, and integrate it into the collection!

We see that the work of fiscal philatelists often is of scientific nature! Especially if breaking down and interpreting the documents results in new historical findings. This applies, if previous historical knowledge must be amended or even revised by the interpretation of the documents. There are many examples for that on my homepage. Let me mention the latest dating of the imposition of stamp duty for a region or a rule as an example.

onclusion: Fiscal philately is a hobby with a scientific claim, but it cannot do without the implementation of auxiliary historical sciences.
If the activities of fiscal philatelists are directed not only to the classification of documents, but also to acquiring new historical data, the fiscal philately absolutely is an auxiliary historical science!

Modern diplomatics: Paleography is the historical auxiliary science, which deals with forms and the mode of origin of late medieval and modern records. It focuses on official documents. It uses some of the methods of diplomatics, however, has set up its own teaching system since Heinrich Otto Meisner. Modern diplomatics provides for the basis of a critical study of the file source. It examines each document according to specific criteria. It is subdivided into analytical diplomatics, genetic diplomatics, and systematic diplomatics. Analytical diplomatics investigates the inner and outer form of the file. The external analysis, for example, deals with the paper, the form of closure, the writing materials, and writing utensils. The analysis of the inner structure is concerned with the writing. Genetic diplomatics examines the genesis of the file within the authority and deals with the various remarks. Systematic diplomatics provides a typology of acts with clear guidelines.

Heraldry: Heraldry, the herald art, deals with coats of arms and encompasses the design, display, and study of armorial bearings. It covers rules on how to design coat of arms, how to read coat of arms, and how to lead coat of arms. Heraldry goes back to the 12th century. The heraldry is concerned with the construction of coats of arms, the meaning and the significance of the individual parts and symbols of coats of arms. The herald was the expert in reading coat of arms and identifying the bearers. Before that, heralds supervised the coats of arms, guided by a king of arms (and still do in the UK). Today, heraldic associations take care of that. Animportant basis for historical heraldry are a few original shields, seals (sphragistics), and lists of coats of arms that were created by heralds because of their position or on special occasions. Bookplates (ex libris) from the Late Middle Ages that were executed primarily as coat of arms at the time are also taken as a basis for heraldic research. As a discipline of historical science, it is one of the auxiliary historical sciences. Philipp Jacob Spener is regarded as the scientific founder in the German-speaking countries.

Genealogy: Genealogy (from Ancient Greek γενεαλογία Genealogía, family tree, originating from genea γενεά (family), and λόγος lógos (doctrine)) denotes – in the stricter sense – the research of family history, popularized genealogical research, which is an auxiliary historical science. People who deal with the related human genealogy are known as genealogists or family researchers. In a broader sense, genealogy refers to the genetic relationship of a group of living things, the ancestry of one living thing from other living things. In animal breeding, it is the prerequisite for lineage rating. In the figurative sense, we speak of genealogy as a historical method that analyzes and explores the historical origin of various present circumstances (for example, moral, psychiatry, sexual orientation, and personal identity). Michel Foucault for instance explored the understanding of mental illness and the prison system in recent historical periods. The focus is less on changing concepts and ideas of these issues, but on the neighboring disciplines that constitute facts. Thus, for example, Friedrich Nietzsche reconstructed that moral is not derived from absolute values, but merely has developed in history (and is therefore contingent) (Friedrich Nietzsche: The Genealogy of Morals).

Numismatics: Numismatics (from Ancient Greek νομισματική [τέχνη, μάθησις] to νόμισμα, nomisma or Italo-Greek nú (m) misma, “the law through which valid, the coin”) is the scientific study of money and its history. Often, collecting coins as a hobby is also called numismatics.

Historical Geography: Historical Geography is a spatial science that deals with processes of human activities and the resulting spatial structures at any time in the past. Thus, it crosses all disciplines of human geography and is closely related to the respective sub-disciplines of historical sciences. However, while the latter examine the influence of space on a particular time, historical geography studies the influence of the respective time on space.

It is especially closely connected by tradition to historical geography and regional history. Historical and geographical issues are central parts of the interdisciplinary environmental history. The tasks of historical geography are the recording, description, and explanation of quality and quantity of relevant economic, demographic, social, political, and natural processes in spatiotemporal differentiation. Thus, historical geography tries to reconstruct past landscapes and to determine regularities in the development of cultural landscapes by comparing them.

The focus is on the research of historical development in the geography of rural areas, in land register science and toponymy, settlement archeology, and the science of field landscapes. One sub-discipline, which is more developed in the English-speaking countries, is the urban morphology. Another related scientific approach is the genetic cultural landscape research, which explains current spatial structures and processes from the past. Again, genetic settlement research is an important sub-discipline by tradition. Applied historical geography tries to integrate the findings of historical geography and cultural landscape research into current planning and environmental education. One goal is the maintenance and development of the historical heritage in the form of maintaining cultural landscapes.

Paleography: Paleography (Greek παλαιóς palaiós “old” and -graphy) encompasses the study of ancient inscriptions. Scientifically it is not part of linguistics, but is an auxiliary historical science and a branch of Latin philology of the Middle Ages and modern times. The task of paleography is to reproduce the vibrant development of writing in detail by means of available writing monuments. This knowledge helps to recognize the development phases of different fonts and thereby classify undated writing and literary monuments in space and time. The methods consist essentially in the analysis of letterforms or the use of typical abbreviations. Both are especially for inscriptions the only dating method, as the writing material (unlike organic materials such as paper, parchment, or leather) barely helps dating. It distinguishes different strands of writing: Latin paleography, Greek paleography, Arabic paleography, Cyrillic paleography, etc. The science of historical forms of music notation (notation science) is also referred to as musical paleography.

Codicology: Codicology (Latin codex “book” and-logy) and manuscript studies, an auxiliary historical science, is the scientific study of handwritten books. It is therefore limited to the Late Antiquity and the Middle Ages, i.e. mainly the time between 500 and 1500. It is followed by the science of incunabula. Codicology encompasses issues of nature and development process of a medieval codex, focusing on manual and technical aspects of production, such as the question of the writing materials (papyrus, parchment, or paper), ink and pens, location, binding, book decoration or provenance. The book is treated like an archaeological artifact, and considered part of the primary assets upon delivery by recording it in time and describing it accurately. Codicology is closely related to paleography.

Diplomatics: Diplomatics (from Ancient Greek diploma “Folded” from diplóos “double”) is one of the basic disciplines of auxiliary historical sciences. It deals with the classification, the features, the exhibition (people involved, business activities of the offices, aids like formula books), the tradition, the authenticity, and the historical value of legal documents. Priorities of German researchers were initially mainly European documents from the middle Ages and the early modern age. Meanwhile, there is also extensive research on Tibetan and Mongolian certificates. The scientists who deal with this area of research are called diplomaticists.

Sigillography: Sphragistics (from the Greek Sphragis, seal) is one of the auxiliary historical sciences. Its goal is to knowledge of seals (Latin sigillum, little picture) and especially document seals. It was established in the 17th century as a side branch of diplomatics. It differentiated by different methods close to or borrowed from heraldry and numismatics. It examines the physical structure of the seal, from which the time of creation or placement of seals can be deducted. In addition, the artistic-historical development of seals is of interest, from which you can draw conclusions to clothing, arms, and possibly the town history. Where coats of arms and symbols of rulers are affected, many overlaps with heraldry result.

Epigraphy: Epigraphy (“Inscription”, epigraph of Greek ἐπιγραφή “inscription, inscription”) is an auxiliary historical science, which is particularly important for the Ancient History. It deals with inscriptions on various materials such as wood, stone, glass, marble, metal, leather, etc.

Beginnings of taxation
In the beginning was not the word “post”, but the words “tithe, treasury, tax, duty, tax, regalia, monopoly”. Certainly not everything is “postal”, but “philatelic” and everything started with the tenth anyway, and there is no state without taxes, and the total of government expenditures is generally funded by the sum of all tax revenues, and this does not exclude the mostly the state-owned and not even the leased postal service.

Who equates the Babylonian cuneiform with the word post today, has – with all due respect – no or little idea of the actual philatelic history in its early days and postal service as an indirect tax revenue!

“Pecunia non olet” (Latin for “Money has no smell”)
To fill the empty treasury, the Emperor Vespasian raised a special latrine tax on public toilets. Suetonius recorded that Vespasian justified the tax before his son Titus by holding the first collected coins under his nose and asking him whether the smell offended him (“sciscitans num odore offenderetur”). When he said no, he replied: “Atqui ex lotio est” (Yet it comes from urine). This phrase has survived to this day to justify the possession or acquisition of money from unclean sources. The public toilets in Paris are still called “Vespasienne”. Even in Italy, urinals were referred to as “Vespasiani”.

Taxes and stamp duty, stamp tax paper – a historical overview
Taxes have been existing since the early ancient times and they were called a variety of names, such as toll, customs, or tithe. Even though their right to exist is seen traditionally in the fact that community and thus state needs must be met, some of the reasons to introduce new taxes and fees feature a remarkable creativity. The first evidence of official taxes is available from the third millennium BC from Egypt, where the writer mentioned the crop tax and the Nile toll. Assyria and Persia were able to do without taxing their own people at their height, because they covered their financial needs through tolls that were imposed on the people defeated and conquered in war. The polis of Athens, the cradle of democracy, financed the political system through indirect taxes, such as tolls, and through labor and services of the Athenian citizen and a comprehensive taxation of non-Athenians. The Parthenon temple on the Acropolis served probably temporarily as a treasury to keep all these tax revenues safe.

The financial administration of the Roman monarchy in the 6th century BC was organized similarly. Government expenses were mainly covered by the citizens themselves, and only in exceptions, usually war, tax on capital, the Tributum, became due. For their assessment, the census, two high-ranking officials (censores) were chosen who checked the tax returns (professiones) of citizens and then collected the tax. During the era of the Roman Republic, the Empire expanded enormously as of the 3rd century BC. More and more provinces and dutiable parts of the country contributed to cover the financial requirements of the state, so that the Roman citizens were exempt from direct taxes in 167 BC. In the provinces, procurators administrated direct taxes (property and poll tax). For convenience, the collection of indirect taxes (customs duties, tolls, and other usage fees) was leased to private persons.

The system of tax farmers (publicani), however, led to mismanagement and injustice and it was only Emperor Augustus who put the entire tax collection back in the hands of state officials (quaestors).

In the pre-Roman era, Germania knew only the voluntary honorary contributions to the prince instead of taxation. The attempt of tax collection by the Romans is said to have been the starting the Battle of Teutoburg forest. Only west of the Rhine, the Roman financial administration prevailed, led by the provincial procurator resident in Treverum (Trier).

At the end of the Roman Empire, government expenditure increased, revenues declined, and the treasury (aerarium), previously kept in the Temple of Saturn and supervised by the Senate, was resolved in favor of the imperial fund (fiscus). Forced to cover not only the cost of the Roman budget, but also to achieve the greatest possible increase in private wealth, the first historically guaranteed curiosities became evident in tax laws. “Pecunia non olet”, meaning money has no smell – this well-known was the phrase used by the emperor Vespasian to justify a tax on public toilets.

As a source of income for kings and princes in the Early Middle Ages, tax played only a minor role. On the one hand, none of the Frankish princes was politically able to enforce a general taxation on the population, because the estates of the country, fearing for their own benefices, were too powerful. On the other hand, the necessary administrative means to enforce a tax were lacking, because the records of citizens and ownership were outdated or so-called land registers were simply not available. The expenses were covered rather by revenues from the private sector, from the sale of rights such as market and city rights, from monopolies e.g. on wool and spices, as well as from the state domains, i.e. mainly from the agricultural and forestry state-owned enterprises and regalia like forest hunting, fishing, salt, mining, and water rights. In addition, lease fees like the Easter chicken or the Christmas turkey brought payment in kind into the treasuries of the prince. I include in the income of the ruler the compulsory services too, which the subjects were forced to render.

However, the situation for the Church and its institutions and people was different. As the Bible gives an instruction to the Christians to meet their tax liability (Book of Paul, Romans 13:7; “Give to everyone what you owe them: If you owe taxes, pay taxes; if revenue, then revenue; if respect, then respect; if honor, then honor.”), a church tax was levied in the form of tithes until the 19th century. Not only was this tax derived from Christian tradition, but also it was relatively easily monitored and recovered by the local church institutions. Only the almshouses were exempt from this tax. Over time, the secular rulers needed more income too, e.g. to finance wars, the royal household or the establishment of a state polity.

In the High Middle Ages, the taxes levied by the Prince were primarily property taxes including land and property as well as other assets (livestock, inventories, etc.). The oldest written evidence is the Doomsday book, which recorded ownership relations in England for the purpose of taxation by the King in the 11th century. For the vast majority of the population, consisting of landless or poor bondservants and tenants, to be included in the taxation as well, the poll tax (pupil tax) was applied, which requested the same amount from all citizens regardless of possessions and ownership.

The taxation of income by the central government agencies was difficult, because monitoring the tax collection was impossible due to administrative shortcomings in the middle Ages and, as already mentioned, land registers were not available. Therefore, a repartition tax was often levied, imposing a lump-sum rate on a region or community, which was allocated on the citizens at the sole discretion of the people in charge.

In the following early times of state, direct taxes were levied only in exceptional cases and they had to be approved by the estates of the realm anyway. Typical events were war (Turk penny), the wedding of a prince’s daughter (trousseau), the procession to Rome for the coronation (Roman penny), a ransom demand, and other general hardships. Since taxes were levied only at longer intervals and irregularly, the tax rates (e.g. usually 5 percent of the total of assets) could be relatively high.

In the 16th century, taxes were levied at ever-closer intervals and for longer periods, so that they came very close to annual taxes. Absolutism in France knew again the system of tax farming with all its upsides and downsides (financial rise of the tax farmers (Maître de Request) as a new group in the state, over-exploitation of the tax-paying population).

Since the late middle Ages, indirect taxes became more and more popular with the leaders. They introduced excise taxes/tolls on beverages such as beer, wine, salt, cloth, grain and other goods circulating in the country. Again, the simplified tax collection was on the foreground, because usually only a few breweries, wine or salt traders were monitored for their honesty regarding tax payment. All kinds of writings on paper and parchment, caused by everything that had to be made of paper, such as playing cards, calendars, announcements (posters), newspapers, as well as the circulating money were indirectly taxed too as well as were bills of exchange and later securities, then lotteries and gambles of all kinds. Besides, tolls were a fairly simple way of generating income for the princes. They founded cities, built transport routes, controlled them in appropriate places and were able to levy bridge tolls, town gate and pavement fees, road and turnpike tolls, and waterway fees. However, tolls also walled off the markets and secured them to domestic producers. Indirect taxes were the main income of any state, followed by the stamp duty on securities.

The industry was taxed by the rulers as well, e.g. for the lease of mills of any kind and thus the water usage rights, they leased out their own forests and hunts e.g. to generate and deliver payment in kind. Rag-picking, rags having always been a raw material for producing paper, was leased to private persons. Even hog feeding in the state oak forest was leased out against payment in kind. Throughout history, two problems occurred that have not been solved yet even today. On the one hand, the territorial tax legislation often leads to double and triple taxation. On the other hand, there is always the difficulty of separating the tax collection from other collections of the rulers. It was not infrequently that as many as four institutions requested taxes from the population – the crown (emperor or king), the prince, the community or town, and not least the church. In addition, contributions were always due for state services (usage fees) and services to be rendered (compulsory labor, manual work) in return for the protection of the property owner provided to bondservants. Thus, the stamp duty in its way of taxation developed differently in different countries and there is still a lot of research to be done.

For the Roman Empire of the German Nation alone in 1789, altogether 314 imperial territories and 1475 imperial knighthoods, including large and small states, 7 electoral areas, about 60 imperial princes, round 100 imperial princes and 50 imperial cities need research on stamps and taxes.

To this date, I was able to find evidence for approximately +/- 150 countries and other governmental entities to have issued stamp paper. Whoever does not believe in the triumph of the indirect transaction tax (stamp tax) that went around the world and was introduced everywhere – a long time before postage stamps – and which is still being applied in many countries today, has not learned anything about tax revenues by stamp papers, stamps, or postage stamps.

Further indirect taxes provided with stamps
There are certainly a huge number of traffic taxes in all other countries in the world, but trying to list them all here would go beyond the scope of all the indirect taxes listed here for the Roman Empire of German Nations.

Excise/Accise tax is a stamped paper:

The excise tax or excise was an indirect tax, usually a consumption tax or an internal tariff. Excises were raised on staple food (e.g. rye, wheat, hop, or other grain or flour), food (sugar, salt, fat, and meat), drinks and tobacco (tobacco, coffee, tea, beer, and sparkling wine), cattle or other consumer goods.

The collection of excise taxes is attested since the 11th century in Spain (1001) and Venice and since the 13th century in the German Empire (Cologne 1206). In the 17th century, the originally urban tax became significant in rural areas too. Excise collectors were tax (sub)-officials (gate clerks), who collected the excise tax directly at the town gate.

In many older city constitutions, the excise master was officially responsible for collecting and supervising. They could be persons who had leased the right of collecting taxes from the town; their election traditionally took place on St. Peter’s day (22 February) with the “burning candle”. This type of collection held a great risk of abuse and was therefore particularly hated by the people. Even contemporary experts criticized it repeatedly.

Under Frederick William I of Prussia, the excise tax became a protective tariff by being levied on foreign goods, especially drinks, colonial and manufactured goods, and was collected at the gate.

In this regard, the excise wall was built. In feudalism, when privileged estates were able to defend themselves against the imposition of direct burdens successfully (tax privileges), excise taxes and tolls played a major role in evading the resistance. This was expressed particularly in the so-called excise duty dispute in the 17th and 18th century. After more and more tax privileges for direct taxes were abolished in the second half of the 19th century, the evaluation of excise taxes changed. The location or the building, where these taxes were collected, was referred to as the excise too (e.g. the Old Excise Office in Hamburg-Horn).

Fig. 2: 1837. Excise note from the upper excise district Langenau in Wuerttemberg at 3 Kreuzers each. Two blank notes from a whole sheet of stamped paper, stamped red.
Fig. 3: 1790. Fruit excise note stamped blue-green from the Electoral Palatine at 6 Kreuzers.
Fig. 4: 1716 to 1726. Excise bills from the Duchy of Wuerttemberg, the sum was entered by hand, if the bill was not enough, although the colorless embossed stamp shows the “X” two or three times, i.e. 2 or 3 Kreuzers for the tax bill; the “K” above stands for Kreuzer.
Fig. 5: Example from Excise bill from Silesia
Fig. 6: 1735. Sheet with eight excise bills from Silesia at XXX = 30 Silbergroschen each. Inscription: ACCIS 30 Silbergroschen. What is a postage stamp sheet against that?

What is a postage stamp sheet against that?

Fig. 7: 1811. Stamped customs and excise sheet from Baden at 1 Gulden each.
Fig. 8: 1832. Excise document at 2 Kreuzers issued by the superior excise office Tubingen in the Kingdom of Wuerttemberg, affixed with bran adhesive on a delivery note as proof of payment.

What is an affixed postage stamp against that?

Fig. 9: 1835. Front of stamp sheet. A stamp sheet of excise bills from Wuerttemberg at 1 Gulden each. These certificates were invalidated by a cancellation loop.
Fig. 10: Back of stamp sheet with twenty excise bills at 1 Gulden.

What is a postage stamp sheet against that?

The mining excise tax called kux is a stamped paper:
Kuxe is what they call shares of mining unions in German. A union is understood usually as an organization representing workers’ interests. In the mining industry and in mining law, the term union, however, has been standing for centuries for the oldest form of organization used to dig for gold and silver, ores or coal together. Miners working individually or in small groups (trades) developed into associations to operate a mine jointly. The mergers served both to divide the labor and to provide financial strength. “Mining is not one man’s thing” is an old, often quoted miner saying, and Johann Mathesius formulated in 1562: “If you want to build a mine, you need money or have busy hands.” We know unions already from a first recording of mine customs in Tridentine mining law from the year 1208. As mining-specific forms of community, they appear in numerous later records of mining customary law, mining law at the Harz mountains and in the sovereign mining system adopted between the 15th and the 18th century. The mining union was something between partnership and corporation. The shareholders were called trades. Their shares, the mining shares (Kuxe), were not worth a fixed amount of money, but worth a share in the trade capital. For one company, a minimum of 100, but not more than 10,000 shares were issued. What the articles are for other forms of company is called statues for mining companies. Instead of profit, they spoke of yield distributed in proportion to the mining shares. According to the mining laws, a claimant was obliged to mine-work the claimed field. Individuals could often not bear the costs on their own. For that reason, the mines were divided into ideal proportions and mining shares sold to private persons. The division was possible in many ways. The division was based on the Roman weight and coinage units. The whole was divided into twelfths, so that each shareholder owned a certain proportion of twelfths (1/12, 2/12, 3/12, etc.) of the mine as given by the share certificates. To achieve an even further breakdown, a subdivision was made, so that you could own sub-shares of twelfths. This made it possible to divide the mines into corresponding ideal proportions. The allocation could be 16, 32, 64 shares. The maximum number of shares initially was 128. The value of a mining share depended on the state of the mine. Shares in good and profitable mines were worth more than 100 Thalers, shares in smaller mines were often worthless. Originally, Kuxe were land rights to a mine. The Kuxe legally belong to the movable property. The term appeared for the first time in verdicts by the court of Freiberg in 1477. Kuxe could not be subdivided further according to the Prussian Mining Act. The Mining Act of the Kingdom of Saxony dated 1869 permitted the subdivision of mining shares into 100 equal shares only. In contrast to shareholders the trades, i.e. the owners of mining shares, were committed to rate, i.e. they had a funding obligation if the union needed capital. The trades’ liability to rate was controlled consistently by the mining officials and could result ultimately the loss of the shares in case of default of the trades. If the owner of the Kuxe was not able to pay the debts after the deadline, the share were respite for mine debts. It happened that mining shares were declared to no longer exist and the ownership was cancelled. This was called to forfeit the mining shares. If a trade wanted to escape the liability to rate, it could voluntarily waive the Kuxe. Each trade was free to leave the Kuxe to other persons for sale. Ultimately, most trades returned their Kuxe, when the liability to rate was increased. The mining clerk registered the mining shares in the catalog of mining property. Later, they proceed to making mining shares freely tradable as transferrable shares. Sworn intermediaries (called “Kuxkraenzler” in German) were responsible for trading the mining shares. In the 16th century, mining shares were widespread objects of speculation. A separate mining shares stock exchange existed in Essen before the Second World War. Since the forced conversion of all legal mining trade unions in 1985, Kuxe or mining shares no longer exist in Germany.

Fig. 11: 1717, Stamped quarterly mining share certificate from Saxony at 1 Gulden and 30 Kreuzer for the mine Neufundenglueck.

Messenger certificate / messenger fee is a stamped paper:
The messenger fee is a payment or a tip for an errand run by a messenger. The messenger fee has absolutely nothing to do with post, because there were many purely private Messenger, like court messengers, city messengers, butcher messengers, harbor messengers, embassy messengers, market messengers, stock messenger, stately messengers etc. There was also a courier service as corvée.

Fig. 12: 1826. Duchy of Saxe-Gotha, 4 Groschen to the secret messengers of the chambers.

Bridge toll is a stamped paper:
Bridge fee, bridge tolls, bridge rent, bridge penny, bridge dinar, bridge tax is a city tax levied for the use of a bridge by people, carts, and animals passing.

Fig. 13: Pfalz-Zweibruecken, pays 4 Kreuzers bridge toll from 17…
Fig. 14: 1838. 3 Kreuzers Rhineland currency, bridge toll from Kronach
Fig. 15: Bridge fee from Stroehen 184…

Road fee /paving tax is a stamped paper:

The road fee was a kind of road toll to be paid by carts for the use of certain roads in the form of cash on delivery. Guards, who had control over the respective road section, sitting in a roadhouse and directing the traffic through related turnpikes, collected it. This road fee is comparable to today’s tolls. In general, the road fee went into the state treasury and was used to construct new roads and maintain existing roads. Because over time and with the development of roads, it did not cover the costs and traffic was halted unnecessarily, the road fee was abolished.

Fig. 16: 1804. Half a road fee certificate from Enzweihingen from the Duchy of Wuerttemberg.

What is the difference to postage stamp sheets, they were cut in the beginning too.

Fig. 17: 1843. Road fee from the Kingdom of Hanover for four draft animals at 1 gute Groschen = 4 animals counted = 4 gute Groschen
Fig. 18: Road fee from the Kingdom of Prussia at 2 Silbergroschen
Fig. 19: 1887. Road fee of 13 Pfennig from the Kingdom of Saxony
Fig. 20: 1911. Road fee of 30 Pfennig from the Principality of Schwarzburg
Fig. 21: 1861. Road fee of 8 Hellers from the Electorate of Hesse Kassel
Fig. 22: Road fee of 6 Kreuzer from the Imperial Knighthood Craichgau dated 17…
Fig. 23: 1810. Kingdom of Westphalia, French General Administration of bridges and causeways; road fee of 3 Centimes

Dam contribution is a stamped paper:
Earlier levy for construction and maintenance of dams (embankments) in coastal areas and alongside riverbanks. Prior to the regulation of rivers, floods often destroyed entire regions, so that the bank reinforcement and thus the dam contribution played economically great role.

Fig. 24: 1850. Dam contribution from Ratzeburg at 32 shillings (Schilling Courant).

Protection duty is a stamped paper:
A payment in cash for travelers to be accompanied and protected when crossing a district (by armed men). Originating from the time of
the jungle law, the protection duty was often complained about by merchants and prevailed in Germany until the late 18th century and was then confiscated as a separate road fee without the original purpose (provision of policemen).

Fig. 25: 1720. Protection duty certificate from the Principality of Hesse-Darmstadt
Fig. 26: Protection duty certificate from Saxony

Dog tax is a stamped paper:

The dog tax is a municipal tax for owning dogs. Like any tax, it is a public duty, the return for which is no specific service (except cleaning the streets of dog feces). According to the universal principle, tit was used to finance all local tasks. The dog tax is one of the excise taxes. In 1796, the state dog tax was introduced and abolished in 1987 in the UK. It was often referred to as the world’s first dog tax.

Fig. 27: 1903. Permit to own a dog in Baden, handwritten 8 Mark tax, with colorless embossed tax stamp with inscription: Grand Duchy of Baden, like the stamp papers
Fig. 28: 1902. Dog tax note at 8 Mark for a dog in Wuerttemberg

Wharfage is a stamped paper:
Wharfage is the tax paid by ships must pay, if they moor at a port. The name goes back to the wharf, where the charge is cleared and the ship reloaded. Formerly, the wharfage had to be paid immediately in cash by the master or a crewmember. Today, the fee is charged differently, e.g. together with the mooring fee, which is collected by the shipping company. The wharfage must be paid not only by cargo vessels, but also by vessels from other fields. Passenger ships are obliged to pay the wharfage too when they drop anchor.

Fig. 29: 1841. Wharfage paid 4 Pfennig per load, together 4 Thalers; Emden.

Visitor’s tax is a stamped paper:
The visitor’s tax (also called tourist tax, local tax, accommodation tax, or city tax) is usually a local tax levied on the municipal level per person and night. The visitor’s tax has been established long ago, already in 1507 in Baden-Baden, where the bathing legislation applied taxes since 1306 (hot springs).

Fig. 30: 1943. Visitor’s tax, Hospice Charlottenruhe Herrenalb
(See 30 for explanation)

Calendar stamp tax is a stamped paper and is even subject to stamp duty:

This stamp duty (including stamp taxes) refers to a series of historical duties, i.e. both taxes and fees, which were collected originally by stamping the corresponding papers (cards and calendars) or objects with a stamp. Essentially, the stamp tax corresponds to the transfer taxes. The calendar tax was raised in almost all German States.

Fig. 31: Blue stamp at 5 Kreuzer
Fig. 32: 1746. Historical calendar of peace and war from Kingdom of Poland and Saxony; red stamp

License is a stamped paper:
License fee is a tax on goods to be exported from the country. It was first introduced during the Dutch unrest in Zealand around 1572 to get permission to export goods into hostile countries. It is therefore a kind of a road toll.

Fig. 33: 1708. Electoral Palatinate, license tax at 4 Kreuzers, with two tax stamps
Fig. 34: 1708. Electoral Palatinate, two times license tax at 2 Pfennig, with four tax stamps

Lottery tax is a stamped paper:
The racing and lottery tax is one of the oldest tax types that is still applied in Germany. As early as in the 15th century, lotteries were organized in the form of the draw of valuables such as silver instruments to finance public services in emergencies.

In the 18th century, the lottery from Italy was adopted in Vienna in 1751 and in Berlin in 1763. The Prince’s financial exploitation of gambling took place either based on independent implementation as a lottery shelf or by assigning the wagers with excise (duties).

When the law concerning the collection of imperial stamp duties (Reich Stamp Act – RStempelG) entered into force on October 1, 1881, the uniform document tax was created in the form of official cancellation of lottery tickets. In the same way, the betting slips were recorded for horse racing in 1891. The Betting and Lotteries Act dated 1922 was then adopted in its present form and has been amended only slightly since.

Among other things, the tax was extended to football bets after World War II. The German Bundestag adopted the law on the taxation of sports betting (I, p. 1424) in June 2012 and thus the law changed largely for the first time.

Fig. 35: Lot for the state lottery for the poor with prize
Fig. 36: Lot, tax number 42

Market stall fee is a stamped paper:
This fee comprises trade and transport duties on markets and in selling places. The market stall fee was divided between the municipality and proprietors. The sealer closely monitored the market operation, particularly the observance of weights and measures. The treasuries of rulers and cities were filled by many duties. The citizens had to pay to use the back homes and mills, the town’s official balance and the “cradle of money”. For this purpose, they raised a fee on funerals, the consumption of wine was taxed with the “Ohmgeld”, and fees for using paths and places were raised. Taxes on meat, grain, furnaces, and salt were collected too.

Fig. 37: 1813. 3 Pfennig market stall fee in Dresden
Fig. 38: Market stall fee of 3 Pfennig in Tubingen
Fig. 39: Market stall fee of 5 Pfennig from Tubingen dated 1897?

Road fee is a stamped paper:
“Maut” is derived from the Old High German and Gothic “Mota” and “Muta” term for customs in the sense of road fees. The term describes a fee for the use of structures, such as roads, bridges, highways and tunnels.

In the 11th century, the road fee was widespread in Europe. It was introduced, because it became increasingly difficult to finance roads. By paying the toll, the travelers (users) were involved in the financing, for which the residents had advanced the funds.

Other forms of financing were drudgery (everyone had to work physically for a certain number of days for the state) or tax to residents (e.g. in ancient Rome).

Toll bridges and gates were popular because they were easier to control and (to avoid worse) had to be repaired less than streets.

Later, the hindrances were reduced for trains, because they interfered with free trade.

In Graz there were, however, urban tollbooths or line offices at the city entrances until 1938, where pavement and goods tolls had to be paid.

An alternative term was driving fee (as opposed to e.g. parking fee). This can be urban (see inner city toll) and inter-urban road use charges (tolls, possibly even highways).

In Great Britain existed turnpike roads, highways in the early industrial period, which were conducted privately. The turnpike was a barrier opened after having paid the toll.

Fig. 40: Traditional Bavarian toll Pollette, stamp fee and weighing fee included 2 Gulden and 42 Kreuzer
Fig. 41: 1816. Toll note

Night tax is a stamped paper:
In medieval German cities, licensed, eligible persons that may have had tax character as “dispensing fees” or dues in conjunction with oppressed money (“Ungeld”) or excise taxes collected royalties.

They were later taken over by the sovereigns in charge and were collected until the 19th century, as stipulated partly in the stamp duty laws of individual German states.

The Prussian District Provincial Tax Act dated 1906 recognized the stamp duty as a local franchise tax. After World War I, communal “night taxes” or “chair taxes” were introduced temporarily, which were collected for service at inns at night. The Prussian Revenue Sharing Act from 1938 limited the right to raise such tax to urban and rural districts.

Past 1945, the liquor license tax was established as local consumption and expenditure tax in the new tax system of the country. Night tax tickets were available almost everywhere like in Stuttgart. During inflation after World War I, the city treasuries were empty and new tax sources were examined. Stuttgart came up with the idea of introducing a “night fee”. The owners of pubs, bars, and nightclubs had to charge every guest attending their facility past 11 p.m. a night tax of 15.00 marks. The guest received a night tax ticket as a receipt. The city of Stuttgart was the first German city to introduce this tax on 27 October 1921. In March 1922, the city treasury comprised 500,000 marks, and from April 1922 to March 1923 even 1,636,086 marks. This fact encouraged other cities to introduce this lucrative tax. However, on December 11, 1924, the source ran dry again. The tax was abolished – but not forever. In the years before World War II, it was revived in several cities, though then named “chair tax”. As an acknowledgment in the Rhineland Palatinate town of Landstuhl, a verse was printed on the ticket: The tower bell called midnight; the goblets are still passed around. You joyful revellers consider that who sits for longer and steady, has to pay.”

Fig. 42: 1st hour = 10 Pfennig
Fig. 43: 2nd hour = 20 Pfennig
Fig. 44: Night tax ticket by the city council of Noerdlingen called emergency money.

Passage fee is a stamped paper:
Collected at paths and bridges, this fee was levied on goods carried as a kind of a transit tariff for the type and quantity of goods or carts, even for animals driven.

Fig. 45: 1831. Kingdom of Hanover passage bill
Fig. 46: 1789. Duchy of Saxony Coburg passage bill at 1 Kreuzer, Meiningen
Fig. 47: 1838. Passage bill from the Kingdom of Hanover
Fig. 48: 1734. Electorate of Hanover, GR = George Rex

Post tax is a stamped paper:
The former German postal service transported letters and passengers across numerous German states on its way, which raised tax almost uniformly. In each state, whether Baden, Prussia or Saxony, different fees or travel expenses had to be paid. The system was confusing and not very flexible. Although the imperial decree expressly prohibited any operation of incidental or butcher items, the Duchy of Wuerttemberg issued a “post and butcher order” in 1622 and placed it under national sovereign protection. The opposition to the imperial decree dismissed the Duke of Wuerttemberg by the words: “How it was kept from time immemorial, so it remains.”

Fig. 49: Post office of the court of the Principality of Brunswick-Lueneburg.
Fig. 50: 1835. Prussia, postal fee receipt at 2 Pfennig.

(to be continued…)


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