PHOTO MOMENT: Armenian tax stamps by Vachagan

For the past few weeks I have corresponded with a cigarette pack collector in Armenia by the name of Vachagan. He and I have set up a swapping exchange whereby I will send him empty cigarette boxes in return for excise tax stamps from his home country. You may remember a previous Photo Moment of excise tax stamps for tobacco based on my exchanges with the renowned Russian collector Andrey Vasiunin. It was through Andrey’s collection website that Vachagan contacted me.

Vachagan recently sent me an email with attachments of the stamps he will allow me to choose from and then keep aside as he awaits the packets which I will be collecting in the meantime. I do not collect cigarette packs myself so I can find good examples of the stuff he wants for the stuff I want.

While I have been able to obtain tax stamps from all over the world, Armenian stamps are hard to come by here in the United Kingdom, so my partnership with Vachagan will enable me to massive expand the Armenian section of my tax stamps collection. In addition, Vachagan is also offering a single domestic tax stamp from Russia, but I did not choose that one as my stamp collection has many of the old stamps like the one in his possession. I have accrued these tax stamps over the best part of a decade.

The really amazing thing about Armenia’s tax stamp programme is two-fold. Firstly is that the Armenian government issues different types of tax stamps based on whether the cigarettes in question are locally made products or imported from abroad. Secondly every year the designs for both categories of banderols are changed and modernised with the latest security features in order to guarantee the legitimacy of the cigarettes and tobacco products you buy in Armenia.

The tax stamps are issued by government agencies, especially the Customs Service of the Republic of Armenia whose logo featuring a police-style badge of a lion grasping a key features on the newer issues of the country’s excise stamps. You can view their website at –with language options for speakers of Armenian, Russian and English. An English-language legal explanation of the rules governing the use of Armenian tax stamps by importers and distributors can be found here: STAMPING OF GOODS SUBJECT TO EXCISE TAX.

(c) CSRA
(c) UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs


Imported cigarettes (2005)

Imported cigarettes (2005)

ARMENIA-2007-import (1)

Imported cigarettes  – reddish-brown (2007)

ARMENIA-2007-import (2)

Imported cigarettes – aquamarine (2007)


Local filtered cigarettes – 20-packs (2007)


Imported cigarettes (2008)


Local filtered cigarettes – 20-packs (2008)


Imported cigarettes (2009)


Imported cigarettes (2010)

ARMENIA-2011-import (2)

Imported cigarettes (2011)


Local filtered cigarettes – 20-packs (2011)

ARMENIA-2011-local-non filter-20

Local non-filtered cigarettes – 20-packs (2011)

ARMENIA-2012-local-non filter-12

Local non-filtered cigarettes – 12-packs (2012)

ARMENIA-2013-import (1)

Imported cigarettes (2013)

ARMENIA-2013-import (2)

Imported cigarettes  – different series letter (2013)

ARMENIA-2013-local-filter-20 (1)

Local filtered cigarettes – 20-packs (2013)

ARMENIA-2013-local-filter-20 (2)

Local filtered cigarettes – 20-packs/reversed colour scheme (2013)


Imported cigarettes (2014)


Russian ‘special stamp’ for local cigarettes – no longer issued

All scanned images featured in this article are the copyright of V. Aleyan, with original copyrights resting with the issuing authorities of the tax stamps in question.
Homepage in English, Armen Iskandaryan, Customs Service of Republic of Armenia LINK
“File:Armenia – Location Map (2013) – ARM – UNOCHA.svg” –  UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), Wikimedia Commons (24 February 2014) LINK
Tax stamp images via Mr. Vachagan Aleyan via Outlook email.


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