One Bayer Aspirin Tablet: How much tax?

Books and catalogues

One of those mixed lots of match booklets and one little package labeled “Bayer” Industry of Uruguay, one tablet with aspirin and caffeine. 

The package contains one aspirin tablet and is 46 mm square or about 1 ¾” on each side. It also has an insignificant tax stamp on the reverse side. Into the drawer pending further examination–more on that later.

Several months went by and I managed to obtain some 90 different Pharmaceutical tax stamps from Uruguay. The earliest Pharmacy stamp with the Bayer logo is dated: Ley 2 de Mayo de 1910. One stamp was perforated 11 and the other imperforate.

I turned to my references: Forbin listed one generic Pharmacy stamp for 1910 without Logo. George Griffenhagen’s Medicine Tax Stamps of the World (1971) lists nine stamps, eight generic
and one with the Bayer Logo. This is dated: Leyes 2 de Mayo 1910 y 16 de Enero de 1924. “Bayer” is printed in red and, interestingly, this stamp also exists with the “Bayer” inverted.

A lower value with the same design is this blue 4 centesimos. In the left margin is the Emission number 10. A lot of these were used and hand-stamped by Bayer to indicate cancellation.


The design changes, one for local manufacture…

…and one for importation.

Later on the design takes on a more modern look, one for locally manufactured medicines…

 …and one for imported medicines. All the “Bayer” tax stamps printed @1924 or later were done by the Imprenta Nacional of Uruguay.

Several other companies also used company names as part of their design.

Well–and what about the generic tax stamp on the reverse side of the Bayer tablet?

It is dated: Decreto 23 de Junio de 1942–

The value: 2 milesimos or 2/100 of a centisimo.


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