October 1st 2001 - 150th Anniversary of the First Postage Stamps of Hawai'i.
|| On August 4th 1851, King Kamehameha III issued a royal decree authorizing the issuance of the first postage stamps of Hawai'i. The "Missionaries" (as they are known) were printed on a small printing press at the offices of the weekly government newspaper "The Polynesian" in Honolulu. On October 1st 1851, the first 3 stamps were released by Postmaster Henry M. Whitney at the Honolulu Post Office and by Postmaster Svend Hoffmeyer at the Lahaina, Maui Post Office (located inside the Lahaina Customs House on Front Street). Lahaina was the capital of Hawai'i until 1846. The fourth stamp was issued in April 1852. A surviving cover can be dated to April 23 1852.
The stamp designs were made of stock fonts and ornaments assembled into a "cliche". The stamps were printed on pelure paper which is very thin and brittle. The vast majority of the Missionaries that survive to-day are imperfect in some way (pieces missing, tears, holes, thins etc.). Even so, they are some of the rarest stamps in the world and are much sought after. The fourth stamp was issued in 1852 and is the same as the third stamp, but has a different heading ("H.I. & U.S. Postage" instead of "Hawaiian Postage") and was issued to clear up some confusion as the 13c rate also included a portion of U.S. postage, not just Hawaiian postage.
The 2c Missionary paid for newspapers to the U.S.A.
The 5c Missionary was for Hawaiian postage.
The 13c Missionary paid for letters to the East Coast of the U.S.A (5c Hawaiian postage, 2c Ship fee and 6c for U.S. postage).
Inter-island postage remained free until 1859.
Four stamps were issued on October 1st 2001 to celebrate the Sesquicentennial (150th Anniversary) of the First Postage Stamps of Hawai'i.
The $1 stamp (above left) pays for extra charges, such as additional weight. It shows the very first stamp of Hawai'i - the 2c Missionary.
The $2 stamp (second from left) pays for extra charges, such as additional weight. It shows the 5c Missionary.
The $5 stamp (third from left) prepays the Overnight rate. It shows the 13c Missionary with "Hawaiian Postage" in the heading.
The $8 stamp (above right) prepays the Same Day rate. It shows the 13c Missionary, but with "H.I. & U.S. Postage" instead of "Hawaiian Postage" in the heading.
An $8 mini-sheet (which prepays the Same Day rate) was also issued. It shows the first Honolulu Post Office in 1851 (left) and has all 4 "Missionaries" on an $8 stamp (right) with simulated perfs. Above the stamp is the title of the newspaper "The Polynesian" where the stamps were printed. The bottom text reads:
"150th Anniversary of the First Hawai'i Postage Stamps. The "Missionaries" were printed at the offices of the weekly government newspaper "The Polynesian". The first 3 stamps were released by Postmaster Henry M. Whitney in Honolulu and Postmaster Svend Hoffmeyer in Lahaina, Maui on October 1st 1851."
The First Day Covers were postmarked in Honolulu (brown ink) and Lahaina (blue ink). The Lahaina First Day Ceremony was publicized in the "Maui News" newspaper of October 1st.
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Technical details of the stamps and mini-sheet:
Colors: $1, $2, $5 and $8 stamps - Multicolored
Size: 32mm x 48mm (stamps). 84mm x 70mm (mini-sheet).
Stamps sheet size: 30 (6 across, 5 down)
Perforation: 12. The mini-sheet has simulated perfs.
Stamps and Mini-sheet design: Enelani.
Layout & Pre-press: Enelani.
Printer: Hawai'i Security Printers, Honolulu, Hawai'i.
Printing Method: 4-color (Cyan, Magenta, Yellow and Black) printing process.
Sheet margin markings: HAWAI'I POST (top middle), "Traffic Light" showing 4 colors used in printing (lower left side), © 2001 Hawai'i Post (lower right side) & Hawai'i Security Printers, Honolulu, Hawai'i. (bottom middle)
Paper: GPA coated white stock with water-activated gum on the back.
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