Notes from the Past

Hawaii Under United States

My attention has been directed by C. G. Brown to the last three stamps issued in Hawaii in 1899, after the islands had been formally annexed to the United States in 1898.  Mr. Brown advances the suggestion that these stamps, therefore, would properly be termed issues of the United States.  The stamps are the 1¢ green, Coat of Arms, 2¢ rose, View of Honolulu, and 5¢ blue, Statue of Kamehameha I, Scott's Numbers 80, 81, and 82.

Looking into the subject I find that it has been covered in the past by earlier writers on Hawaii, notably C. F. Richards (A Check List of the Stamps of Hawaii, and More),  But the circumstances are sufficiently interesting in my opinion to warrant a retelling.

The 1¢ and 2¢ designs had previously been in use since 1894, the former in yellow, the latter in brown, the same 5¢ stamp, in lake, also formed part of the 1894 issue except that the word "Cents" was omitted from the design.  To have these three stamps conform to the color requirements of the Universal Postal Union, an order for a large printing of the stamps in green, rose, and blue, respectively, was sent to the American Bank Note Co., in New York.

The Hawaiian Islands were annexed to the United States, July 7, 1898, and formally transferred August 12.  The stamps in the new colors arrived in 1899 and went into use and remained on sale while Congress deliberated over the status of the former Republic, which was finally settled when the islands gained admission as a Territory of the United States, June 13, 1900.  Up until this date all Hawaiian postage stamps had been good for postal purposes, but they were now superseded by issues of the United States, and a deadline was set, January 14, 1901, under which all Hawaiian stamps in the hands of the public could be exchanged for those of the United States.  Subsequently these exchanged stamps were sent to
the Post Office Department, at Washington, where they were destroyed.

They are low priced stamps, used or unused, and no doubt in the collections of many of my readers.  I hope that as a result of these notes they will take on added interest.

- George B. Sloane
Sloane's Column
February 12, 1938
Posted December 22, 1999  

Index of 507 Notes from the Past

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