Editorial Director Sift Ltd
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Historic stamp press finds new home at AccountingWEB Live Expo


When HMRC decommissioned its historical Victorian stamp presses last July, someone had to save them from the scrap heap. That someone was AccountingWEB.

23rd Sep 2021
Editorial Director Sift Ltd
In association with
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While we're keeping our powder dry on the human HMRC speakers for AccountingWEB Live Expo this December, we can confirm that we have one special non-human attendee that you won't find at any other trade show. 

And if you like accounting history, you are going to love who it is. Or, more accurately, what. Let us explain.

Pressing ahead

On 19 July 2021, HMRC officially retired its Stamp Duty press machines from service on 19 July 2021, marking the end of over 300 years of tax-related history. 

The now defunct stamp presses are around 100 years old and can trace their origins back to the Victorian era. The process of stamping documents to show that tax had been paid began in England long before that with the first ‘stamp duty’ introduced in 1694 as a temporary measure to fund the war on France. 

Stamp duty was paid on all paper, vellum or parchment to be used for legal documents, and payment was indicated by an embossed, colourless stamp (hence the name). 

However, fast forward 300+ years and with the introduction of a new electronic process that successfully took the place of traditional physical stamping due to Covid-19 restrictions, HMRC has decided to retain the new approach.

That meant a lot of extremely impressive but decommissioned machines with a massive historical significance but no home - what were we to do? So we got one!

Stamp collecting

You'll be able to see one of the stamp presses at AccountingWEB Live Expo on 1-2 December. At a whopping 685 kg, the presses will eventually be 'locked' to stop them being used for anything nefarious (we had to sign a piece of paper!) and to see off any potential injury. 

However, as a very exclusive treat for the Expo, we have arranged for the stamp press to remain unlocked. Attendees will be able to get their Expo lanyard passes stamped with our exclusive Expo die. Present your stamp at our AccountingWEB stand to be entered into a competition for exclusive prizes. 

Note for tax historians: These stamps will be unique to the Expo and while not quite as valuable as the dies originally used (which varied in value from 50p to £1m!), they will be a part of a long British industrial history and financial history.

Our thanks again to HMRC for letting us be a new home for this very impressive piece of history. After the Expo, the stamp press will find a permanent home at our AccountingWEB offices in Bristol. Register now for AccountingWEB Live, 1-2 Dec 2021


HMRC will be speaking at AccountingWEB Live Expo, along with over 60 other software suppliers. If you're planning on buying in 2022, this is the only chance to put your questions to vendors face-to-face

AccountingWEB Live Expo takes place on 1-2 December 2021 at Coventry Building Society Arena, Coventry. Registration is now open. A full content programme will be announced in early October enabling you to register for specific sessions. Please visit the AccountingWEB Live Expo website for full details and to sign up to our newsletter.

Register now

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