Hawaii - Travel/Philately/Numismatics/Memorabilia Profile

Hawaii was an independent kingdom till 1893 when the monarchy was overthrown. It became an independent republic in 1894 and that status continued until it was annexed by the United States as a territory in 1898. It became a state in 1959. Hawaii consisting of eight main islands and hundreds of uninhabited islands has a total land area of around 11,000 square miles and a population of around 1.36M and is located around 2300 miles South-West of San Francisco.

Philatelic Profile:

Hawaii started issuing stamps in 1851 and the stamps continued to be issued and used till the turn of the century. The stamps were replaced by US stamps on June 14, 1900. The first stamps of Hawaii were a set of four stamps issued between 1851 and 1852 in simple numerals design. The set (Scott #1 to #4) are nicked names “Missionaries” as they were almost always found on correspondence from missionaries in Hawaii to their homeland in the US. Each stamp in the set is extremely rare. They are very rarely seen at auction and are found partially damaged and/or repaired. Catalog values are upwards of $30K. Only one copy of the unused 2c blue (Scott #1) is known to exist. An on cover copy of the stamp is also unique. The set was replaced in 1853 by a set of two stamps depicting King Kamehameha III. That set (Scott #5 to #6) is also very valuable cataloging in the $2K range for Unused and a little higher for Used. Several varieties, overprints, and reissues dominated the Hawaiian stamp issue scene during the period till 1859. Genuine copied of the 5c on 13c dark red surcharge overprint fetch in the $7k range for mint while the other issues catalog well into the 100s.

The rest of the stamps of Hawaii are also highly collectible. Below is a summary:

  1. A set of five stamps released between 1864 and 1886: The set (Scott #30 to #34) catalogs for around $360 Unused and around one-fourth that for Used. The designs show Princess Victoria Kamamalu, King Kamehameha IV, King Kamehameha V, and Mataio Kekuanaoa (father of King Kamehameha IV). On cover varieties of the high values and on cover versions with other US issues are very rare and usually fetch well into the 1000s.
  2. A set of eight stamps released between 1883 and 1886: The set (Scott #42 to #49) catalogs for around $700 Unused and around $450 for Used. The designs show King David Kalakaua, Prince William Pitt Leleiohoku, Queen Kapiolani, Statue of King Kamehameha I, King William Lunalilo, and Queen Emma Kaleleonalani. On cover versions of the high values fetch a huge premium.
  3. A set of six stamps released in 1894: The set (Scott #74 to #79) catalogs for around $45 Mint and a little less for Used. The designs show Coat of Arms, View of Honolulu, Statue of Kamehameha I, Stars and Palms, S.S. Arawa, and President Sanford Ballard Dole (First Territorial Governor of Hawaii and the President of the provisional government formed in 1894).

Numismatic Profile:

The first coins of Hawaii were Copper Cents denominated in Hapa Haneri (100 Hapa Haneri = 1 Akahi Dala, 100 Cents = 1 Dollar or Dala) issued in 1847. A few varieties exist and the combined mintage is 100,000. UNC copies of the first issue fetch in the $1k range. A few other coins in Copper, Silver, and Nickel were issued during the period till 1883 in denominations up to a dollar. Pattern and Proof varieties exist and they generally have very low mintage (in the 10s) and correspondingly have high catalog value.


Collectible Memorabilia:

Turtle Trinket Boxes, Hula Salt and Pepper Shakers, Souvenir Collector Spoons, vintage cultural photographs, tiki masks, etc form the popular memorabilia from the area.

Last Updated: 12/2015. 

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