Stamp Statutes


The Stamp Statutes came into being in the early 1870's, for the payment of certain court costs and other public fees.

Early examples can be found, on various types of land and court documents, to pay for land taxes, court fees and fines, election rolls, and other legal fees.

The Stamp Duty Act of 1884 made these legal for postal usage, effective January 1, 1884, but it was short-lived. The Stamp Statutes were withdrawn altogether only four months later.

Postally used examples range from scarce to exceedingly rare, and are unknown from some of the early printings.

Bell Design
Pale Green - wmk V1

The One Penny Statute was issued in a pale green color in January 1871, line perforated 13 on paper watermarked V1(sideways).

A second printing from July 1879 is watermarked V1(upright), and is line perforated 12.

Bell Design - 1891 Reprint for the UPU
Yellowish Green - wmk V2

The One Penny Statute was reprinted in 1891 for the UPU in a pale yellowish green, on paper watermarked V2 (sideways) and line perforated 12. Most copies were overprinted Reprint in italics, but a few were issued without an overprint.

Bell Design
Pale Green - wmk V1

Rather than design a unique Halfpenny Statute stamp, the officials relied on the overprinted One Penny stamp from 1871 until 1884, when they were withdrawn. During that entire time, only about 6,000 stamps were issued.

The stamp is found in pale green, watermarked V1 (sideways)only, and line perforated 13.

Turner Design
Mauve - wmk V1

One printing in September 1879 supplied the entire inventory of these stamps. They are printed in mauve, on paper watermarked V1 (sideways), and line perforated 13 only.

Kellow suggests that only 4,500 were issued before they were withdrawn from use in 1884.

Postally used examples are rare!

Turner Design - 1891 Reprint for the UPU
Violet - wmk V2

The Three Pence Statute was reprinted in 1891 for the UPU in a violet, on paper watermarked V2 (sideways) and line perforated 12. Most copies, such as this one, were overprinted Reprint in italics, but a few were issued without an overprint.

The genuine issue is mauve and watermarked V1, while the reprint is violet and watermarked V2.

Turner Design - 1891 Reprint for the UPU
Violet - wmk V2

A few of the reprints were issued without an overprint. These can be very difficult to identify in the absence of reference copies for comparison.

Note the color shade of the Three Pence reprint, not mauve as in the genuine issue. As well, the reprints are watermarked V2, whereas the original issue is watermarked V1.

Beware...

Bell Design
Rose - wmk V1

There was only one printing of the Four Pence Statute. It was issued in April 1871, in rose, on paper watermarked V1 (sideways) and line perforated 13.

Postally used copies are very rare!

Bell Design - Color Variety
Red Rose - wmk V1

There was only one printing of the Four Pence, and only one color shade is listed in the catalogs, but this copy is in a distinct rose red shade, quite unlike other copies I have seen.

Feedback would be welcome...

Bell Design - 1891 Reprint for the UPU
Reddish Rose - wmk V2

The Four Pence Statute was reprinted in 1891 for the UPU in a reddish rose, on paper watermarked V2 (sideways) and line perforated 12. Most copies, such as this one, were overprinted Reprint in italics, but a few were issued without an overprint.

The genuine issue is rose, watermarked V1 and line perforated 13, while the reprint is reddish rose, watermarked V2 and line perforated 12.

Bell Design
Blue - wmk V1

The first printing of the Six Pence Statute was issued in March 1871, in blue on paper watermarked V1 (sideways) amd line perforated 13.

Bell Design
Ultramarine - wmk V1

The second printing, issued in June 1879 was in ultramarine. It is watermarked V1(sideways) and found line perforated 12 or 13.

Bell Design - 1891 Reprint for the UPU
Blue - wmk V2

The Six Pence Statute was reprinted in 1891 for the UPU in a blue, on paper watermarked V2 (sideways) and line perforated 12. Most copies, such as this one, were overprinted Reprint in italics, but a few were issued without an overprint.

The genuine issue is watermarked V1 and line perforated 13 or 12, while the reprint is watermarked V2 and line perforated 12.

Bell Design
Blue on Blue - wmk 1

The One Shilling was the most commonly used Statute stamp. It was first issued in April 1871, watermarked with numeral 1 (sideways), in a blue color on blue paper, and line perforated 12 or 13.

Bell Design
Blue on blue - wmk V1

The next printing of the One Shilling was in May 1876. It was printed in blue on blue paper, line perforated 12 or 13 as in the first printing, but these were watermarked V1 (sideways),

Bell Design
Deep Blue on blue - wmk V1

Deep blue shades appeared in the April 1883 printing, watermarked V1 (sideways) and line perforated 12 or 12½.

Bell Design - 1891 Reprint for the UPU
Pale Blue on blue - wmk V2

The One Shilling Statute was reprinted in 1891 for the UPU in a ultramarine, on paper watermarked V2 (sideways) and line perforated 12. Most copies, such as this one, were overprinted Reprint in italics, but a few were issued without an overprint.

The genuine issue is watermarked V1, while the reprint is watermarked V2. Otherwise, an un-overprinted One Shilling reprint could easily be mistaken for a genuine printing of this stamp.

Bell Design
Blue on green - wmk 2

The first printing of the Two Shilling Statute was issued in January 1871. It was printed in blue on green paper, watermarked 2 (sideways) and line perforated 13 only.

Bell Design
Deep Blue on green - wmk 2

The first printing on the green paper watermarked 2, ranged in color from blue to deep blue. Shown is an example of the deep blue shade.

Bell Design
Blue on green - wmk V1

The next printings were in shades of blue on green paper watermarked V1. Line perforations 12, 12½, and 13 are known, and watermarks upright and sideways are recorded. Both Saunders and De LA Rue papers are also found.

Bell Design - 1891 Reprint for the UPU
Blue on green - wmk V2

The Two Shilling Statute was reprinted in 1891 for the UPU in a blue, on green paper watermarked V2 (sideways) and line perforated 12. Most copies, such as this one, were overprinted Reprint in italics, but a few were issued without an overprint. The genuine issue is watermarked V1, while the reprint is watermarked V2. Otherwise, an un-overprinted Two Shilling reprint could easily be mistaken for a genuine printing of this stamp.

Turner Design
Orange - wmk V1

The first printing of the Two Shilling Sixpence Statute was in July 1876, in orange, watermarked V1 (sideways), and line perforated 12 or 13.

Turner Design
Yellow - wmk V1

The printing in October 1878 was in yellow, watermarked V1 (sideways), which is found line perforated 12 or 13.

Turner Design
Orange Yellow - wmk V1

Next found is the orange yellow shades from the February 1882 printing, watermarked V1 (sideways) and line perforated 12 or 12½.

Turner Design
Pale Orange Yellow - wmk V2

In April 1883, a final printing was made on paper watermarked V2 (sideways), in orange yellow, line perforated 12 only.

Turner Design - 1891 Reprint for the UPU
Yellow Orange - wmk V2

The Two Shilling Sixpence Statute was reprinted in 1891 for the UPU in yellow orange, watermarked V2 (sideways) and line perforated 12. Most copies, such as this one, were overprinted Reprint in italics, but a few were issued without an overprint.

The genuine issue is also found watermarked V2, but perforated 13(which might emulate the 12). An un-overprinted Two Shilling Sixpence reprint could easily be mistaken for a genuine printing of this stamp.

Bell Design - 1891 Reprint for the UPU
Blue on yellow - wmk V2

The Five Shilling Statute was reprinted in 1891 for the UPU in blue on yellow paper, watermarked V2 (sideways) and line perforated 12. Most copies, such as this one, were overprinted Reprint in italics, but a few were issued without an overprint.

The genuine issue is only found with watermark V1, which can be used to separate any potential un-overprinted reprints.

Bell Design
Olive Brown on pink - wmk 10

The first printing of the Ten Shilling Statute was issued in April 1871, in a distinctive olive brown shade on pink paper watermarked 10 (this being the same paper used for the ten pence Laureate), and line perforated 13.

This seems to be a rare stamp, even fiscally used.

Bell Design
Red Brown on pink - wmk 10

In March 1879, the stamp was printed in red brown on the same pink paper watermarked 10. These are found perforated 13 with the watermark sideways, or perforated 12 with the watermark upright.

Bell Design
Purple Brown on pink - wmk V1

The printing in July 1882 was purple brown, on pink paper watermarked V1 (sideways)and perforated 12½ or 12.

Bell Design - 1891 Reprint for the UPU
Purple Brown on pink - wmk V2

The Ten Shilling Statute was reprinted in 1891 for the UPU in purple brown, watermarked V2 (sideways) and line perforated 12. Most copies, such as this one, were overprinted Reprint in italics, but a few were issued without an overprint.

The genuine issue is not found watermarked V2, so this can be used to separate un-overprinted reprints from the earlier issues.

Bell Design
Slate Violet on yellow - wmk V1

The first Printing of the One Pound Statute was a slate violet shade on yellow paper, watermarked V1 (sideways or upright), and line perforated 13.

Bell Design
Mauve on yellow - wmk V1

Mauve first appeared in March 1879, printed on yellow paper, watermarked V1 (sideways). Line perforations 12, 12½, and 13 are found.

Bell Design - 1891 Reprint for the UPU
Mauve on yellow - wmk V2

The One Pound Statute was reprinted in 1891 for the UPU in mauve on yellow paper watermarked V2 (sideways) and line perforated 12. Most copies, such as this one, were overprinted Reprint in italics, but a few were issued without an overprint.

The genuine issue is not found watermarked V2, so this can be used to separate un-overprinted reprints from the earlier issues.


The Stamps of Victoria, by G.Kellow, B&K Publishing, 1990.

A Subject Index of Victorian Philately, by G.Kellow, Royal Philatelic Society of Victoria, 1988

The Encyclopedia of British Empire Postage Stamps, Vol IV, by Robson Lowe Ltd., 1962

Stanley Gibbons Stamp Catalogue, Part 1, British Commonwealth,Stanley Gibbons Ltd., (2002).

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