"From my Collection"
Some interesting examples from our collections



This item used in a World War One Local History Exhibition summaries the way in which many British Colonies (plus the Dominions of Canada and New Zealand) issued War Tax stamps to contribute to the funding of the war.


The taxes were applied to local mail or items posted to the British Empire. Twenty-five colonies were involved - no Protectorates - and the overprinting of the stamps took place in London and locally, fuelled by the demand for collectors.


Re-printing led to variations as can be seen from the three halfpenny stamps from Dominica. The first stamp from Dominica was unnecessarily overprinted "One Halfpenny" as well.

Stamps combining both postage and war tax were subsequently issued and finally "War Tax" was dropped in cases where the War Tax was simply incorporated in increased postage rates.

WAR TAX IMG_20200819_0001(0).jpg
War tax St Kitts 1920 mixed cover.jpg

The Presidencies making up the Federal Colony of the Leeward Islands each made their own arrangements for the issue of War Tax Stamps. As a participant in the Imperial Penny Postage scheme mail to the USA had been subject to War Tax and this 1920  cover to the USA shows how the resultant higher rates (1d + ½d) continued to apply after the war.


Like the other Presidencies, St Kitts-Nevis used both Federal (Leeward Islands) and Presidential (St Kitts-Nevis) stamps. Whist philatelic income may have been behind the perpetuation of concurrent issues the way in which the presidential 1d and federal ½d stamps have been affixed to make up the 1½d “war tax rate” on this envelope to the USA from St Kitts-Nevis in 1920 hardly suggests philatelic usage. The back of the cover has been annotated “answered 7-28-1920”.