Words and Sentences I Like In The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn

Classic book and very memorable, I particularly like some of the words and sentences used, some of which you don’t hear today.  Here are the ones that stood out to me with a rough guide on what they mean:

By and by = Over time
Muggins = a fool
Mud-cat = a catfish.
Flapdoodle = Mess around
Spondulicks = Money
Considerable = A lot
Sivilize me = Civilise me
Sap-head = An idiot
Yellocution = Elocution
We’d allow it? 
I don’t take no stock in that  

New Tamper Proof Royal Mail Stamps Are a Nightmare For Collectors

Royal mail now issue lots of tamper proof stamps which is great for protecting their revenue and making sure people don’t re-use but how does it affect the stamp collector?  Well the traditional methods of removing stamps from envelopes like steaming doesn’t work on the new Royal mail stamps.  So what do we do with tamper proof Royal Mail stamps if you are a collector?

One option is to simply cut around it and leave it on the paper.  Nobody likes doing that normally unless its a particularly interesting postmark or something.

A second option I have heard works well is using a label remover such as Ambersil Label remover, you spray it on and it unsticks/comes off pretty much straight away.  There are other options too like Cramolin or Goo Gone but I’ve not tried these.

A final tip is to spray a light coating of WD40 on the back of the envelope where the stamp is located, the area becomes transparent then wait a couple of moments the stamp will peel off with ease.

Note, it is illegal to remove and re-use a postage stamp!  This is information for people collecting used postage stamps.

Please do comment below if you have had luck with any other methods!

Technology – How to Find Out About the Windows Lock Screen Image or Spotlight Image

I had a certain image two days in a row on windows spotlight lock screen that looked like a half crescent moon like sand dune structure and wondered where it was, for reference, here is the image I was talking about:

Windows spotlight lock screen image
Windows spotlight lock screen image

Now after a bit of googling for things like “what is the big sand half crescent on the windows spotlight” and “what is the big desert structure/sculpture on the windows spotlight” with no luck I pressed CTRL+L to get back to the lock screen and investigate further. When you look at the top right of the lock screen there is an icon “like what you see?”, if you hover over it it tells you where this is:

Icon "like what you see?
Icon “like what you see?

Even better than that, if you click on the middle icon “What do we have here?” it will take you to a bing search for the building or location in question:

Icon "What do we have here?"
Icon “What do we have here?”

For those that are interested, it turns out this is actually not a “half crescent moon like sand dune structure” but in fact its the Auditorio de Tenerife in Santa Cruz, Tenerife (Canary Islands, Spain). An auditorium, who’d have thought it?

UK Fiscal and Revenue Stamps

Fiscal Stamps = Term used to denote issues made for payment of tax, duty or fees other than postage.
Revenue Stamp = Issues made to pay tax or duty other than postage.

List of fiscal/revenue stamps from Victoria onwards:

Additional Medicine Duty
Admiralty Court
Board of Agriculture
CB Licence Fee Paid (CB Radio Licence)
-Chancery Court
Civil Service
-Colonial Office Services
Common Law Courts
-Companies Registration
-Companies Winding Up
Consular Service
Contract Note
-Diplomatic Service
-District Audit
-Draft or Receipt
-Estate Duty
-Excise Revenue
-Foreign Bill
-Foreign Office
-Foreign Service
-Health & Pensions
-Income Tax
-Inland Revenue
-Isle of Man Revenue
-Judicature Fees
-Justice Room
-Land Commission
-Land Registry
-Law Courts
-Life Policy
-Magistrates Courts
-Medicine Duty
-Mayor’s Court
-National Health & Insurance
-Northern Ireland
-Passport Office
Patent Office
-Pedlar’s Certificate
-Police Courts
-Probate Court
-Public Records
-Railway Rates Tribunal
Revenue stamp with cypher seal and tin strip
-Register House Scotland
Television Licence
Transfer Duty
-Travel Identity Card
-Travel Permit
-Unemployment Insurance
-Specimens (no assignment)

Additional Medicine Duty

When medicine duty rates were doubled, these stamps were attached to existing medicine duty labels.

Admiralty Court

The Admiralty Court handles shipping and maritime disputes, these stamps were used to collect court fees.


Bankruptcy Petition documents required special revenue stamps for payment of the judicial fees.

Board of Agriculture

These were only issued from 1889 when The Land Commission became The Board of Agriculture.  You don’t see many of these around.

CB Licence Fee Paid

CB Licence Fee Paid stamps were issued between 1981 and 1990s on licences to operate CB radios.

Civil Service

The Civil Service Revenue stamp was used to pay for examination fees to enter the Civil Service and could be bought from Post Offices by prospective candidates.

Common Law Courts

Common Law Courts stamps were used to pay for several fees involved in the system of Common Law after the Common Law Courts (Fees) Act of 1865. The stamps were in use for ten years, being replaced by Judicature Fee stamps in 1875.

Consular Service

These were British revenue stamps used when providing services in embassies and consulates overseas. They were used to pay fees when issuing passports and other services like validating legal documents. Some people collect the cancels and pay a lot of money for rare ones as these have been stamped from all over the world!

Contract Note

Tax on an agreement to purchase shares or sucurites. Introduced as a penny rate by an Act of 1860, extended in 1888 and 1893, and made into a sliding scale 1910 when the use of these adhesives became obligatory (previously, general duty embossed stamps were permitted). Where several sales of stocks were included on one contract note, each sale was taxed, hence the need for a series of values when the rate was originally simply 1d per contract. Most contract notes issue exist with either the overprint inscription in thin or thick letters.

Patent Office

Issued by the Patent Office for payment of fees for registration of patent documents

Revenue stamp with cypher seal and tin strip

Special revenue stamps on blue base paper for the payment of judicial fees were attached to the document. A tin strip was used to attach the two together just like you would use a stapler today.The name of the debtor was written partly on the stamp and partly on the document and then the embossed impression was made.

Cypher adhesive labels were used as a security device to secure the ends of the tin strip.  This was the first adhesive stamp from Britain and was used to cover the staple on the reverse of the document.  It was line engraved with the royal cypher and its position in the sheet.  Originally they bore the Georgean Cypher but in 1837 it was changed to Queen Victoria’s Cypher.

Georgean Cypher Stamp position 172 in the sheet
Georgean Cypher Stamp position 172 in the sheet

Queen Victoria Cypher Adhesive Stamp
Queen Victoria Cypher Adhesive Stamp

Later in Queen Victoria’s reign the label was changed.  The new label was given an engine turned background to the more highly engraved Royal Cypher, it was also given corner letters which indicated the position of the label in the printed sheet.

Queen Victoria Royal Cypher engine turned background
Later Victorian Label. Letters S-K indicating Row ‘S’ or row 19, Stamp ‘K’ or column 11

Television Licence

Television licences first appeared in 1946, from 1968 a higher fee was payable for a colour receiver. From 1972 licence stamps were made available at Post Offices; the fee could also be payable directly to the Bristol Licence Office.

Transfer Duty 

Tax on the transfer of stocks and shares. This tax was payable only once a year, so if shares were transferred several times in a year, only the first transaction was taxed. The stamps were dated to show their period of validity. Rates were based on the face value of the shares or security – 3d below £25, 6d below £50, 6d per £50 thereafter.

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