Sale 769 — The Honolulu Advertiser Collection
Sale Date — Tuesday, 7 November, 1995
Category — 1859-65 Numeral Issue (Scott 13)
THE ONLY KNOWN COVER BEARING A NUMERAL ISSUE FROM PLATE 1-A, AS WELL AS THE UNIQUE EXAMPLE OF THE COMMA-AFTER-"CENTS" VARIETY ON COVER
This remarkable cover shows an extremely early use of the Numeral issue. There are no other covers known with 2c stamps of Plate 1-A, the first setting, and this example shows the characteristics we attribute to the First Printing - the Dark Blue shade and strong impression, and, in this Type X position, the Comma after "Cents" variety.
The cover is also interesting from a postal history perspective. With the introduction of inter-island postage rates and adhesive stamps, postmasters were instructed to "cross the Hawaiian stamps...in ink" pending the distribution of cancelling devices. This is one of the few "Kau" post office markings and the only one on cover. The Kau postmaster, Rev. W. C. Shipman, routed his mail through Hilo from January 1856 to September 1860, after which time the post office sent mails directly between Honolulu and Kau. On this cover, the Hilo office canceled the stamp a second time with its oval "Collector's Office" handstamp.
The addressee, Levi Haalela, was a prominent chief and member of the House of Nobles under Kamehameha III and IV. His wife was a granddaughter of Kamehameha I and owned large pieces of property, including a portion of the land where the Hawaii State Capitol now stands.
An historic and philatelically important cover. With 1976 P.F. certificate
EXTREMELY FINE AND THE LARGEST RECORDED BLOCK OF ANY NUMERAL ISSUED PRIOR TO 1863. WIDELY REGARDED AS THE MOST IMPORTANT ITEM OF THE NUMERAL ISSUE
This block was used by Henry J. Crocker and J. F. Westerberg as crucial evidence in support of their independent plating analyses, but each one came to a different conclusion. Crocker saw this block as the normal configuration of types arranged on the plate, occupying positions 5-6/7-8/9-10, the lower three rows of the pane (see Figure #). Westerberg concluded that the Staggered Block (lot #) reflected the normal plate configuration (albeit misaligned) and that the Crocker block was a straddle-pane multiple, with the lefthand column from Positions 6/8/10 of one pane and the righthand column from Positions 5/7/9 of another pane, both of which were impressed 4mm apart on the sheet (see Figure #).
Based on our research and analysis, we think that Crocker and Westerberg were both right and wrong in their conclusions. Crocker correctly identified this as a normal block, but misidentified the other four positions above. Westerberg was incorrect when he identified this as a straddle-pane block and the Staggered Block as a normal multiple, but he was probably correct in assigning positions to the types for one or more of the earliest printings from Plate 1-A and the later printings from Plates 3-A and 3-B.
Based on evidence we have observed, there were at least three Plate 1 configurations (Plates 1-A, 1-B and 1-C). Westerberg's Plate 1-A arrangement is probably correct if applied to the very first printing in Dark Blue, in which the Type X (Pos. 2) stamp has the Comma after "Cents" variety, and the Type III (Pos. 1) stamp is found with a papermaker's embossed crest, which should appear only on Position 1 (see lot #).
In two subsequent printings from Plate 1, the columns were transposed (see the following lot). This block reflects the configuration of the plate that we call Plate 1-C, which we have positioned after the plate represented by the Staggered Block, in which the columns were more than 14mm apart, and the Type IX (Pos. 10) has the dropped period after "Cents" (see description for lot #, Figure #). This dropped period was corrected when Plate 1-C was configured, and the gutter between columns was reduced to 4mm.
Using our Plate 1-A, 1-B and 1-C arrangement, the pieces of evidence fit into place, and the difference in shades, impressions and paper of the many stamps that Westerberg groups together under Plate 1-A is reasonably explained. There were probably three printings from Plate 1, possibly alternating with at least one 1c Plate 2-A printing.
This remarkable survivor is the larger of the two known blocks of any Numeral prior to the 1863 1c from Plate 4-A; the other being the Staggered Block in the following lot. It was sold to Henry J. Crocker and illustrated in his book, Hawaiian Numerals. It was purchased privately from the Crocker estate by Frank C. Atherton and donated to the Honolulu Academy of Arts, whose collection was acquired by the Advertiser. Thus, this block is offered at auction for the first time
THE REMARKABLE AND STRIKING "STAGGERED BLOCK", PROVING, AS WE BELIEVE, THAT PLATE 1 WAS RECONFIGURED FROM ONE PRINTING TO ANOTHER
As a crucial piece of evidence in Westerberg's plating analysis, this block was judged by him to be a normally-configured multiple with an abnormal misalignment of the two columns. In this respect we believe that Westerberg erred. The two columns are very different in color and impression - the lefthand stamps being lightly inked, while the righthand stamps are fully inked. Furthermore, it is virtually impossible for two columns of type locked into a press bed to slip out of alignment by 8mm.
In our opinion, this block and its long-since-separated fifth adjoining stamp prove that Plate 1-A (as arranged by Westerberg) was used for the first printing in Dark Blue, then reconfigured with the two columns transposed from their positions - creating, in essence, a new plate (1-B). This block, the Crocker block of six (previous lot) and a number of other stamps with similar shades and on the same semi-opaque paper (with minimal show-thru image on back) probably come from early printings from the plates we call 1-B and 1-C.
We can distinguish between the plates used for this Staggered Block and the Crocker block, because of a variety found in one and not the other. A fifth stamp was removed from the Staggered Block after the Worthington collection was dispersed (see Figure #). The stamp is Type IX from below the lefthand vertical pair (Position 10). This stamp was separated from the block and appears in the Tows sale (lot 379), the Caspary sale (lot 92), and the Lilly sale (lot 152). It is a variety not mentioned by Westerberg, showing the period after "Cents" dropped (see Figure #). This variety, which does not conform to Westerberg's plating, is evidence that there was another plate. Because of the difference in gutter width between this and the Staggered Block, and the fact that Type IX (bottom right stamp) does not show the dropped period in this block, as it does in the fifth stamp from the Staggered Block, we can safely say that there were at least two additional plates (1-B and 1-C).
Ex Worthington, Tows, Harris, Middendorf, Ostheimer.
ONE OF THE FINEST OF THE FEW KNOWN 1859 2-CENT BLUE NUMERALS USED ON COVER
There are fewer than ten recorded covers with the 1859 2c Blue Numeral, including copies canceled by manuscript but not tied. Only two or three show the Numeral canceled by the Honolulu circular datestamp.
This cover was the source of the Westerberg title-page illustration. Ex Twigg-Smith
AN EXTREMELY FINE AND RARE COVER BEARING THE 1859 2-CENT BLUE NUMERAL TIED ON ARRIVAL AT HONOLULU
The notation on this cover and the cover in the following lot indicate that mail was carried with cargo. The ship's captain accepted both and brought the letters to the post office on arrival in Honolulu, where the stamp was canceled. This inter-island mail was carried free prior to August 1, 1859.
Ex Emerson, Caspary, Middendorf, Twigg-Smith.
A VERY FINE AND EXTREMELY RARE USE OF THE 1859 2-CENT BLUE NUMERAL ON A COVER SENT WITH PRODUCE FROM KAILUA
Ex Emerson, Middendorf, Twigg-Smith