Q: I found these at the bottom of a phossick box I won at auction. There are about 500 dated from 1918 to 1939http://cjoint.com/data/iteKrUNIeN.htm These are letterheads, why they are retained beats me, but I'd like to know the state to which the arms belongs to, any idea?
A: These are not letterheads. They are "stamped papers" which are purchased by one of the parties to a legal transaction (eg property sale). The paper contains a revenue stamp imprint which covers the stamp tax on that transaction. The legal document is then written on the stamped paper. A stamped paper's validity expires in six months if you do not use it. These are traditionally collected as completed documents and not as cut out stamps. The Stamped Paper was a sheet of paper on which the "stamp" was printed or embossed. These stamped papers are fascinating items to collect - not only for the "Stamp" but also for the details of the document written on them - a legal agreement, a court action or some fascinating aspect of the lives of the people involved. Most of these court documents are written in Urdu or Hindi script - so there is much interesting reading for you if you can read and understand either of these languages. The Stamped Papers are large and impressive documents to have in your collection, and the Court Fee stamps are also large : often 10 cm by 5 cm. Much larger than normal postage stamps and impressive items in a collection. While executing any document outside India meant for use in that country Indian stamps are not used. When instruments are executed outside India, they can be stamped by payment of appropriate stamp duty later in India by cash. For example, if a power of attorney is signed in New York before a Notary on a plain paper, the same can be presented before the concerned registering officer in India by the agent for authentication. The registrar will collect the stamp duty payable in India by cash and authenticate the deed. It should be done within three months after it is first received in India. What happens with unused stamp papers? Such stamp papers can be submitted to the Collector of Stamps for refund. There will not be full refund. About10 per cent will be deducted.