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Greenland Tax Stamps
Greenland: Tax Stamps, Tax Handstamps, and Tax Rates
by Jay Smith

This article provides background information and illustrations of original documents which include important data on Greenlandic tax rates from the late 1960s to the early 1980s.

The reproductions of the "Luren" pages are supplied courtesy of Paul Nelson, author of the article and "Luren" editor ("Luren" is no longer in publication). Thank you to Paul Albright and Roger Cichorz of the Scandinavian Collectors Club (USA) Library, housed at the Rocky Mountain Philatelic Library, for locating the documents referred to in Nelson's article. Some stamp illustrations are courtesy of cigarette tax stamp collector Andrey Vasiunin; he has an interesting website for world wide cigarette tax stamps: http://www.tax-stamps.com.

Greenlandic cigarette tax stamps are offered for sale on the Greenland Cigarette Tax Stamps web page.

Only one general type of Greenland tax / revenue stamp has been recorded; it is for cigarettes and similar tobacco products. This general stamp type exists in (at least) three distinctly different designs, with many different design details, different frame lines, differing text, and with ornamentation (or not) around the text. The non-ornamented-text stamps exist in (at least) four sizes, resumably related to the number of cigarettes in the package. The difference in sizes appears to have been achieved by simply by scaling the entire stamp image, thus making the bear (and everything else) either taller or wider, etc. Only one size has been observed of the ornamented-text design. Furthermore, there are several different colors (all shades and hues of blue) of the non-ornamented-text stamps.
  • First line of text "AKITSUUT KALAALLIT". No ornamentation around the text. THIN outer frame line, equal in thickness to the inner frame around the text. Polar bear appears to have a cigarette in it's mouth.
     
  • First line of text "AKITSUUT KALAALLIT". No ornamentation around the text. THICK outer frame line, several times thicker than the inner frame around the text. Polar bear appears to have a cigarette in it's mouth.
     
  • First line of text "AFGIFT". With ornamentation around the text. THICK outer frame line, several times thicker than the inner frame around the text. Polar bear completely redrawn, with much stronger lines and less detail; no cigarette in bear's mouth.
     
There has been extensive taxation of other products sold in Greenland, but no adhesive stamps were issued for those; instead handstamps, appearing very similar to postal cancellations, were used on documents to indicate that the tax had been paid. I have never seen any examples of these handstamps other than the illustrations below.

The first and only article, of which I am aware, that has been published on this subject was written by Paul Nelson, published in Luren in February 1986. The Luren article is reproduced in full below (with permission).

Nelson's article mentions photocopies of several documents that were supplied to him in 1985 by Den Kongelige Grønlandske Handel (KGH; The Royal Greenland Trade Department). The documents are reproduced below. If anybody would like to translate the documents, please let me know.

The KGH also provided a 12-block of "tax stamps" and stated "We can inform you [Nelson] that this is the only type produced and used on cigaret [sic] packets only." The 12-block (illustration of a photocopy below in the Nelson article) was of the design with ornamentation around the text. The KGH statement is open to interpretation, but I take it to mean that this was the only general type of tax stamp (i.e. not completely different designs or for other purposes) produced and that cigarettes (and perhaps other tobacco products?) were the only products to bear tax stamps.

The website of Andrey Vasiunin, a collector of world wide cigarette tax stamps, at http://www.tax-stamps.com shows some images, but provides no further details.

Remaining research opportunities: While assumptions have been made, virtually nothing is known about the dates of issue of the different designs, sizes, and colors. In fact, we really don't have any solid reason to believe that there are not more designs, sizes, or colors. Undocumented assumptions have been made as to the meaning of the stamp sizes. I have never seen or heard of any documents, or even pieces of documents, upon which the handstamps has been struck. Greenlandic tax rates are only known to us for what is shown in this article; the rates before and after are seemingly not known to philately. We also don't know if the rates documents shown are complete for the 1967-1981 time period.

Greenlandic cigarette tax stamps are offered for sale on the Greenland Cigarette Tax Stamps web page.
 

Luren article by Paul Nelson -- February 1986
 
  
  
  

1967 Tax Law
 
  
  
  

1979 Tax Law
 
  
  
  
  
  
  

1981 Tax Law
 
  
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