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::: Honolulu Foreign Mail Postmarks to 1886 :::

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50 - Nov 2

This cover is the earliest recorded use of the Honolulu straight-line postmark, type 201. It was placed aboard the schooner Penelope for San Francisco and then aboard the steamer Oregon, departing San Francisco on December 1 for Panama City. The practice in San Francisco was to postmark letters on the date of the steamer sailing. At San Francisco, the cover was rated "42" to indicate the 40¢ steamship rate to New York plus the 2¢ ship fee. A mute charge of 10¢ was paid in Honolulu to place the letter aboard ship in Honolulu Harbor. Total postage was 52¢, of which 42¢ was paid by the recipient upon delivery.


STRAIGHTLINE

Hono 2Nov50-detail 300

Hono. 201 21 Dec 50

MH #201; Straight-line postmark from printer's type; blue (top image) before December 21, 1850 and black (bottom image) from December 21.
Usage: November 2, 1850 to June 14, 1851.
Scarcity 2, 34 recorded examples, of which eight are blue strikes (rarity 1RRR). See Log of Covers for the Inaugural Treaty Period.

HONOLULU
HAWAIIAN-ISLANDS

236_11 (I) 11Mar52 - 300

March 11, 1852

236_11 (I) 3Dec52 - 300

December 3, 1852


236_11 (I) 25Dec54 -300

December 25, 1854

MH# 236.11 (I); 28mm, red, boxwood base; used for mail with U.S. postage collect but also seen on some covers believed to have been prepaid. Usage: December, 1851 (?) to March 19, 1855.
Scarcity 2, 72 recorded strikes on cover. (Please E-mail (scott312@earthlink.net) me if you can identify a pre-March 11, 1852 strike.) Jim Shaffer has proven postmarks in this style were made by three different but similar devices (see numbers 4 and 7, below). A fourth device in the same style is known, but only on a domestic cover in 1865. See the characteristics of Type I below. A break in the rim below the first "A" of "HAWAIIAN" happened in December, 1852.

HONOLULU
U. S. Postage Paid

236_05 (I) 25Feb52-300

February 25, 1852

236_05 (I) 31Mar52-300

March 31, 1852

236_05 (I) 11May52-300

May 11, 1852

236_05 (I) 16Aug53 -300

August 16, 1853

236_05 (I) 9Nov54 -300

November 9, 1854

236_05 (I) 28July55

July 28, 1855

MH# 236.05 (I); 28mm, red, boxwood base; used for mail with U. S. postage prepaid.
Usage: February 10, 1852 to August 30, 1855.
Scarcity 3, 132 strikes on cover. Jim Shaffer has proven postmarks in this style also were made by three different but similar devices (see numbers 5 and 6, below). See the characteristics of Type I below. A break in the rim beneath the "S" happened in April, 1854 and another break above the "UL" happened in November, 1854. Still another break beneath the "ge" happened in December, 1854.

HONOLULU
HAWAIIAN-ISLANDS.

236_11 (II) 23April55-300

April 23, 1855

236_11 (II) 17May55-300

May 17, 1855


236_11 (II) 5Jun55-300

June 5, 1855

MH# 236.11 (II); 28mm, red, boxwood base; used for collect mail but also seen on some prepaid covers.
Usage: April 6, 1855 to April 14, 1856.
Scarcity 2, 42 strikes on cover are known. See the characteristics of Type II below. A break in the rim between the "D" and "S" of "ISLANDS" happened in mid-June, 1855 and another break in the rim below "-IS" happened in March, 1856.

HONOLULU
U. S. Postage Paid

236_05 (II) 3Nov55 300

November 3, 1855

236_05 (II) 5Mar56-300

March 5, 1856

MH# 236.05 (II); 28mm, red, boxwood base; used for mail with U. S. postage prepaid.
Usage: September 14, 1855 to May 1, 1856.
Rarity 1R, 28 strikes known on cover. See the characteristics of Type II below. The month letters are large, January through May, 1856.

HONOLULU
U. S. Postage Paid

236_05 (III) 26Jul56-300

July 26, 1856

236_05 (III) 6Dec56-300

December 6, 1856

236_05 (III) 17Dec56-300

December 17, 1856

236_05 (III) 27Jun57 - 300

June 27, 1857

MH# 236.05 (III); 28mm, red, boxwood base; used for mail with U. S. postage prepaid.
Usage: May 24, 1856 to June 27, 1857.
Scarcity 2, 59 strikes recorded on cover. See the characteristics of Type III below. A break in the rim beneath the "e" shows on most strikes. At some point before June, 1857, a break appeared above the second "O."

HONOLULU
HAWAIIAN-ISLANDS.

236_11 (III) 8Dec56 300

December 8, 1856

236_11 (III) 8Apr57-300

April 8, 1857

MH# 236.11 (III); 28mm, red, boxwood base, used for collect mail.
Usage: June 6, 1856 to May 21, 1857.
Rarity 1RR, 16 recorded covers. See the characteristics of Type III below.


The three prepaid postmarks, type 236.05, compared:


236_05 (I) 11May52-300
236_05 (II) 5Mar56-300
236_05 (III) 27Jun57 - 300

Type I
a) letters of "HONOLULU" are 3mm tall
b) "e" and "P" are separated by 1.5mm
c) no period after "Paid"

Type II
a) letters of "HONOLULU" are 3.5mm tall
b) no space between "e" and "P"
c) no period after "Paid"
d) "S" seems upside down

Type III
a) letters of "HONOLULU" are 3.5mm tall
b) narrow space between "e" and "P"
c) period after "Paid"
d) second "O" is larger


The three collect postmarks, type 236.11, compared:


236_11 (I) 25Dec54 -300
Hono. 236.11 (II) 17May55
236_11 (III) 8Apr57-300

Type I
a) right star is midway between "U" and "S"
b) first "O" of "Honolulu" is midway between "H" and "N"
c) no period after "Islands"
d) last "U" of "Honolulu" points at "W" in "Hawaiian"
e) second "O" is smaller than in other types

Type II
a) right star is close to "U"
b) first "O" of "HONOLULU" is close to "N"
c) period after "ISLANDS"

Type III
a) right star is midway between "U" and "S"
b) first "O" is rounder than in other types
c) period after "ISLANDS"
d) "H" of "HAWAIIAN" is even with "S"

HONOLULU
HAWAIIAN-ISLANDS

243_03 12Jan59

January 12, 1859

243_0315Nov62

November 15, 1862

243_03 20Feb69

February 20, 1869

243_03 22Jun70-300

June 22, 1870

MH# 243.03; 35mm, red (to March 28, 1863) or black (from April 18, 1863), steel base; initially used for collect mail. Starting in 1859, the device also was used to cancel Numeral Stamps on domestic mail. From October, 1868 to June, 1870, it was the only device used for both foreign and domestic mail. By mid-1870, the mark was showing distinct signs of wear. Starting July 1, 1870, it was used mostly for domestic mail but also was used as a backstamp postmark of origin on mail sent through the United States to other countries.
Usage: August 1, 1857 to November, 1877.
Estimated 8, between 2,000 and 3,000 estimated strikes.

HONOLULU
U. S. Postage Paid

242_03 15Dec66

December 15, 1866

MH# 242.03; 34mm, red, steel base; used on mail with U.S. postage prepaid.
Usage: August 1, 1857 to October 5, 1868; also in September, 1869.
Scarcity 5, 431 known strikes.

General Post Office
Honolulu

212 13Dec69

December 13, 1869

MH#212; 30mm x 25mm oval, blue
Usage: December 13, 1869
Rarity 1RRRR, one known strike; other strikes are known on post office letterhead stationery

HONOLULU FOREIGN MAIL
POSTMARKS OF THE CONVENTION PERIOD

The Convention included directions for postmarks, specifying that they be placed in the upper right corner of an envelope and that they contain the name Honolulu and the words "PAID ALL." Postal clerks in Honolulu were inconsistent in where they placed the postmark but usually they avoided striking the stamps. There was no direction about where to place stamps so the postmark might be struck anywhere to avoid hitting the stamp – not always with success. Because of the practice in placing postmarks, off-cover strikes of these postmarks are few.

During the Convention Period contemporary postmarks used for domestic mail are found, usually as backstamps, on envelopes addressed to foreign destinations outside the United States. In mid-1875, the procedure of substituting a foreign mail postmark with a local or interisland postmark stamped on the back became routine. Domestic mail postmarks are also seen on the two newspaper wrappers to surface thus far from the Convention Period. If other wrappers are discovered, they likely will bear a domestic mail postmark as well. Importantly, the rarity rating for domestic mail postmarks in the tables below are for their use on foreign mail in the Convention Period. As postmarks on domestic mail none are rare by the standard set out in Describing Postal Markings.

At the date of this update, the census for the Convention Period numbers 666 covers or pieces with sufficient information to yield postal marking data. Mixed franking covers have been given more attention by auction houses so the count of those covers is probably more accurate than for ordinary letters addressed to the United States because, until recent years, those covers often ended up in large lots. Future opportunities to examine Convention Period covers will add to the number of postmarks presently counted.

G. P. O. HONOLULU/PAID ALL
Single lined outer circle, no year date

70 - Jul 22 Monroe stampless detail

July 22, 1870

70 - Aug 25 cover to Fitzsimmoins detail

August 25, 1870

MH# 245.02, 37 mm, orange-red.
Usage: July 22, 1870 to September 5, 1870.
Rarity 1R, 21 strikes recorded, including 14 covers, one large piece and 6 off cover stamps

G. P. O. HONOLULU/PAID ALL
Single lined outer and inner circles, no year date

73 - Oct 25 - OFF detail

October 25, 1873

MH# 277.12, 32mm, orange-red.
Usage: September 24, 1870 to October 24, 1874.
Scarcity 4, 162 recorded covers

G. P. O./HAWN.ISLDS PAID ALL, with B in 5th line

Honolulu 233_14 74 - Nov 17 to Allen

November 17, 1874

MH# 233.04, 25mm, orange-red.
Usage: November 16, 1874 to November 26, 1874.
Scarcity 1RRR, 7 recorded strikes

The letter “B” in the 5th line is deformed and has also been reported as a “K.”

G. P. O./HAWN.ISLDS PAID ALL, with C in 5th line

20150806_165626

(Courtesy of Alan Furukawa)

November 17, 1874

MH# 233.22, 25mm, orange-red.
Usage: December 12, 1874 to December 30, 1874.
Scarcity 1RRRR, 3 recorded strikes

The letter “C” in the 5th line has also been reported as an “O.”

G. P. O./HAWN.ISLDS PAID ALL, blank 5th line

75 - Jan 20 – Peters

January 20, 1875

MH# 233.14, 25mm, orange-red.
Usage: January 20, 1875.
Scarcity 1RRRR, 2 recorded strikes

G. P. O./HAWN.ISLDS PAID ALL, with A in 5th line

Honolulu 233_24 76 - May 31 break to Sydney Hono cds detail

May 31, 1876

MH# 233.24, 25mm, orange-red.
Usage: February 1, 1875 to March 1, 1877.
Scarcity 3, 78 recorded covers

HONOLULU. H.I./PAID ALL (Rimless)

Honolulu 221_02 77 - Oct 9

October 9, 1877

MH# 221.02, 22mm, orange-red, purple.
Usage: February 27, 1877 to May 12, 1879 [an unconfirmed June, 1879 date is reported].
Scarcity 2, 66 recorded covers and 3 off cover strikes. Purple strikes are late usage.

HONOLULU. H.I./PAID ALL

Hono 237_12 79 - Oct 25

October 25, 1879

MH# 237.12, 29mm, purple.
Usage: August 4, 1879 to June 22, 1881
Scarcity 3, 80 recorded covers.

HONOLULU. H.I./PAID ALL

Hono 235_32 81 - Jun 14

June 14, 1881

MH# 235.32, 27mm, magenta, purple, red.
Usage: March 15, 1881 to December 19, 1881.
Scarcity 2, 65 recorded covers. Purple is early use, red is in the middle and magenta is late use.

LOCAL AND INTERISLAND MARKS USED ON FOREIGN MAIL IN THE CONVENTION PERIOD

The first three postmarks shown below were used for local and inter-island mail (“domestic mail”) during the Convention Period but in the limited circumstance listed below they also were used on foreign mail. The last of the four postmarks was used interchangeably in 1884-1886 on foreign and domestic mail but in the Convention Period this postmark was used on foreign mail in the same limited instance as the first three. The one consistent application of these four postmarks to foreign mail in the Convention Period was:

On letters addressed for delivery outside the United States after mid-1875. On these letters, one of the four postmarks shown below was struck as a backstamp in place of a foreign mail mark;

Stray uses of one of the four postmarks shown below might suggest patterns, but too few examples exist. These uses are:

a) Two newspaper wrappers are recorded in the census of covers sent in the Convention Period. Both were addressed to the United States in 1879 and one was struck with the MH#234.62 postmark instead of a foreign mail postmark; the other wrapper was sent without a Honolulu postmark. Discerning any pattern from these two wrappers is impossible;

b) One cover sent in 1870 to New South Wales was struck on the address side with MH# 243.03, instead of a foreign mail postmark. Before mid-1875 all other recorded covers sent for delivery outside the United States were marked with a foreign mail postmark. This lone exception seems to be a clerical choice;

c) One cover sent in 1873 addressed to the United States was struck on the address panel with a domestic mark and a foreign mark. This cover originated at Hilo on the Big Island and was postmarked on arrival at the Honolulu post office with MH# 243.03 and on departure for San Francisco with MH# 277.12. Normally letters were not postmarked at the Honolulu post office on arrival from an outer island. Being a departure from the normal routine, this examples seems to be clerical error.

Please note: the rarity factors listed below apply only for the use of these four postmarks on foreign mail in the Convention Period. Used on domestic mail, these marks are much more common. For a discussion of these marks on domestic mail, go to Honolulu Local and Inter-Island Mail Postmarks to 1886. Also, the number of strikes recorded for these postmarks on Convention Period foreign mail is expected to rise as more information is collected about the reverse side of known covers and as more covers are recorded.

HONOLULU
HAWAIIAN - ISLANDS

Honolulu 243_03 70 - Aug 26 to NSW Yamazaki detail

August 26, 1870

Honolulu 243_03 75 - Aug 23 backstamp

August 23, 1875

MH# 243.03, 35mm, black.

Usage in this Period on foreign mail: August 26, 1870 to November 6, 1877.

Rarity: 1RRR seven covers recorded on foreign mail in the Convention Period. Use on local or interisland mail is rated as scarcity 4 (see Honolulu Local and Inter-Island Mail Postmarks to 1886).

The postmark shows significant signs of wear, having been in use since 1859.

GEN'L POST OFFICE
HONOLULU. H.I.
(Rimless)

Honolulu 222_02 76 - Dec 4 to Winnipeg, 34 and 36 combo - back Hono 222_02 detail

December 4, 1876

MH# 222.02, 22mm, black.

Usage in this Period on foreign mail: December 4, 1876 to May 14, 1878.

Rarity: 1RRRR five covers recorded on foreign mail in the Convention Period. Use on local or interisland mail is rated as scarcity 3 (see Honolulu Local and Inter-Island Mail Postmarks to 1886).

POST OFFICE
HONOLULU. H.I.
(Diamond side ornaments, Rimless)

Honolulu 223_029 79 - Apr 9

April 9, 1879

MH# 223.029, 24mm, black.

Usage in this Period on foreign mail: June 19, 1878 to July 7, 1879.

Rarity: 1RRR six covers recorded on foreign mail in the Convention Period. Use on local or interisland mail is rated as scarcity 3 (see Honolulu Local and Inter-Island Mail Postmarks to 1886).

HONOLULU
H. I.

Honolulu 234_62 81 - May 9 backstamp

May 9, 1881

MH# 234.62, 26mm, black.

Usage in this Period on foreign mail: February 17, 1879 to July 4, 1881.

Rarity: 1R 23 covers recorded on foreign mail in the Convention Period. Use on local or interisland mail or on foreign mail in the UPU Period is estimated as 7 (see Honolulu Postmarks 1884 to 1900).

HONOLULU FOREIGN MAIL
POSTMARKS OF THE UPU PERIOD TO 1886

Excepting type 243.03, the ubiquitous postmark used for a record twenty years on both foreign and domestic mail, and also excepting the domestic mail postmark usage on foreign mail in the Convention Period just described, postmarks used on foreign mail were different devices than those used on domestic mail until 1884. Starting in January, 1884, the Honolulu Post Office began using the type 235.12 postmark on domestic mail, but used the device with black ink for domestic mail and red ink for foreign mail until July, 1884. The process of cleaning the marker must have been tedious and starting in July, 1884, the type 235.12 postmark was used in black ink for all mail. Use of type 235.12 was discontinued in August, 1886. From July, 1884, to the end of Hawaii's independent postal system, there is no distinction between the postmarks used on foreign and domestic mail, excepting a hybrid type, described below, for use on Australasian mail during a short time period.

HONOLULU/HAWAII

235_12 15Jan82-300

January 15, 1882
magenta

235_12 12Apr82-300

April 12, 1882
purple

MH# 235.12, 27mm, magenta, purple, red, black.
Note cross-stroke in the "N" is intact.
Usage: January 15, 1882 to August 15, 1886.
Scarcity 5
magenta: January, 1882
purple: February, 1882 - April, 1882
red-purple: May, 1882 - July 2, 1882
red: July, 1882 - June, 1884
black: July, 1884 - August, 1886

235_12 23May82-300

May 23, 1882
magenta

235_12 1Dec83-300

December 1, 1883
red

The cross-stroke in the "N" dropped out between May 8, 1882 and May 23, 1882. All strikes from May 23, 1882 show the "N" as two parallel lines without a cross-stroke. By December, 1883, the outer circle broke above the second "O" of "HONOLULU". During 1884, breaks in the outer line appear beneath "HAWAII", first to the right of the "W" but spreading leftward as the marker continued to wear.

235_12 1Apr84-300

April 1, 1884
red

235_12 14Aug86-300

August 14, 1886
black

Note some months have serifed letters and others are in non-serif type. Serifed type letters are noted in February, 1884, June, 1885, June, 1886 to August, 1886 and March, 1885. All other months noted so far are non-serifed.

HONOLULU/PAID ALL

235_33 12Jun86- 300 adjusted

June 12, 1886

UNLISTED HYBRID MH# 235.32 (tentative 235.33), 27mm, black.

The old type 235.32 postmark device was used to show "PAID ALL" on mail to Australasia between April 1, 1886, when the mail subsidy for the Australasian mail expired, and September 30, 1886, when the mail subsidy was renewed. However, the year was omitted from the date and the month and day were borrowed from type 235.12.
Rarity: 1RRRR; one strike is identified so far, dated June 12, 1886.

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