First Federal Issue
The First Federal Issue of embossed revenue stamped paper was authorized by the Act of July 6, 1797. Pursuant to the Act of December 15, 1797, the effective date of tax was postponed from December 31, 1799 to July 1, 1798. The First Federal Issue embossed revenues were replaced by the Second Federal Issue on March 1, 1801.
To implement the tax, 240 dies were prepared -- 13 values for each of the 16 states, plus two rate stamps for each of the states. The denominations prepared were 4¢, 10¢, 20¢, 25¢, 30¢, 50¢, 75¢, $1, $2, $3, $4, $5, and $10. Not every value is known for each state, although most of the values up to $1 are known for each state. The $2 to $10 values are rare, and are not recorded for most states. Two rate stamps were prepared for each state, Six Mills per Dollar and Ten Cents Percentum. Only a single document with a rate stamp is known to have survived. Dies were prepared for each of the 16 states then part of the Union. Stamped paper was also used in the Northwest Territory, the Indiana Territory, and the District of Maine.
The dies and special presses for embossing paper were sent to the Supervisors of Revenue in each state. Taxpayers could bring their document to the supervisor to be embossed, but most taxpayers simply purchased pre-embossed paper.
The Act taxed a variety of legal and financial documents; however, most of the surviving documents fall into a few general categories. The most common surviving documents are promissory notes. The most commonly seen tax rates were as follows.
Bonds, bills, penal bonds, and promissory notes:
| Above $20 and not exceeding $100||10¢|
|Above $100 and not exceeding $500 ||25¢|
|Above $500 and not exceeding $1,000||50¢|
|Above $1,000 ||75¢|
|if payable within 60 days|
|Above $20 and not exceeding $100||4¢|
|Above $100 and not exceeding $500 || 10¢|
|Above $500 and not exceeding $1,000||20¢ |
|Above $1,000 ||30¢ |
Bills of Lading
| July 1, 1798 - March 31, 1799|
|goods exported from one district to another district of the United States||10¢ |
|goods exported to a foreign port or place||25¢ |
|April 1, 1799 or later|| |
|goods exported from one district to another district of the United States, not in the same state|| 4¢|
|goods exported to a foreign port or place|| 10¢|
Policy of Insurance for ship, vessel, or goods
| going from one district to another district of the United States||25¢|
|going from the United States to a foreign port or place when the amount of insurance is not more than $500||25¢ |
|going from the United States to a foreign port or place when the amount of insurance is more than $500|| $1|
Protest or Notarial Act 25¢
Inventory or catalog of furniture, goods or effects required by law 50¢
Receipt of a Legacy
value above $50 and not exceeding $100 25¢
value above $100 and not exceeding $500 50¢
for every further $500 an additional $1.00