13c Hawaiian Missionary stamp on folded letter


Smithsonian's National Postal Museum

Smithsonian's National Postal Museum

In 1851 the Kingdom of Hawaii authorized the printing of postage stamps to prepay the rates on outbound mail. Henry M. Whitney, Hawaii's first postmaster, printed the blue stamps on a hand-operated press in the Honolulu office of the government newspaper. Known as the "Missionaries" because of their use by Christian missionaries who wrote back to the United States, the first three issues featured the text "Hawaiian Postage" in two, five, and thirteen-cent values. In 1852, a revised thirteen-cent stamp featured "H.I. & U.S. Postage" to clarify that the stamp prepaid postage for Hawaii, the ship fee, and delivery in the United States. 197 examples of the Missionaries have been recorded to date.

As seen on this example, the crossed-bars cork killer ties the fourth Hawaiian issue on the only recorded Missionary example with this cancellation. The Honolulu circular datestamp indicates that this mail probably sailed with the ship Boston on April 30, 1853. In the United States, the post office added the San Francisco receiving mark plus "paid" and "8" to indicate that the 2-cent ship fee and 6-cent U.S. rate had been prepaid.

Cheryl R. Ganz, National Postal Museum
October 7, 2008

Museum ID: 1995.2098.3

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  • Title: 13c Hawaiian Missionary stamp on folded letter
  • Date Created: 1852
  • Physical Dimensions: 8 x 12.5 cm
  • Subject Keywords: Hawaiian Missionary
  • Medium: paper; ink; adhesive


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