Sunday, 26 October 2014

Semper Eadem - The Newspaper Tax Stamp!

Semper Eadem - Always the Same

Semper Eadem - Latin for "Always the Same"

During the reign of Queen Anne (1702-1714), crimson tax stamps with the Motto - 'Semper Eadem" were stamped on  British Newspapers. They added a half penny to the price of such newspapers as the London Chronicle, Spectator of Addison and Steele, the Tatler, etc.

The above newspaper dated April 9-11, 1782, is in my possession for the information on Hyder Ally, who at that time was a person the British forces feared and his exploits among the British possessions was a constant threat and was rather worrisome to the East India Company, as also to the Crown.

However that is not part of this blog, and will be detailed in my next, I have ventured to inform you about this Semper Eadem stamp on this paper:

(this is a magnified image)

Semper Eadem was also the motto of the first Elizaberth and contains the notion of constancy and avoiding any kind of surprise, fear or favour, since the time immemorial.
Newspaper Precancels:
From 1712 there was duty payable on newspapers that started at ½d per half sheet and increased incrementally to 4d per sheet in 1815 with a discount for paying at least £10 duty at a time and not increasing the newspaper price by more than the duty increase. Payment of these taxes were indicated by red imprints on the sheet. As a dispensation, the newspapers were allowed to pass through the post multiple times for up to 15 days from the publication date. 1725 Halfpenny Newspaper tax
From a 1725 copy of  'The Whitehall Evening Poft'
Later Newspaper tax stamps
Half-size images of: 1 ½d (still with the Queen Anne motto "Semper Eadem"),
3 ½d, 4d - 20%, 4d - 4% with the King George motto "Dieu et mon Droit" from 1804.

Dear Reader, do share your comments on this rather antiquated tax stamp!

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