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HMRC decommissions stamp presses: ‘almost like seeing a life-long colleague retire’

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HMRC’s stamp duty press machines will be officially retired from service on 19 July 2021, marking the end of over 300 years of tax-related history. From mid-July, an electronic process will be adopted for the remaining transactions which still required physical stamps, such as duty paid on shares purchased on a stock transfer form. The new process was introduced during the pandemic, as traditional physical stamping could not function under covid-19 restrictions. Having worked well, HMRC decided to retain the new approach.

Angela MacDonald, HMRC’s deputy CEO and second permanent secretary, said: ‘In many ways it is sad to see the presses go, almost like seeing a life-long colleague retire, but it is wonderful that HMRC is able to keep and enjoy the stamp presses themselves in so many of our new offices, where they will make decorative and informative talking points, acknowledging our past in the very places that are so important to our future.

‘Now what we’d most like to do is secure long-term homes for the remaining pieces, which are well crafted and represent elements of both British industrial history and financial history.

The presses, which will now be seeking a new home were designed by the Stamp Office and built by the internal engineering section using parts supplied by Grover and Co, an engineering firm once based in Britannia Works, Wharf Road, London. They are 18-die recording presses, which were able to stamp various denominations and tally the stamps they embossed every day. The individual dies they could stamp varied in value from 50p to £1m.

The presses are very heavy, weighing 685 kilograms, and will require careful handling and strong flooring. They would be ideally suited to museums or financial institutions with sufficient space seeking a historical focal point for their building.

Any organisations interested in rehoming a decommissioned stamp press from HMRC, should email


Issue: 1537
Categories: News