Sale 769 — The Honolulu Advertiser Collection
Sale Date — Tuesday, 7 November, 1995
Category — 1853 Kamehameha III Issue (Scott 5-6)
THE LARGEST RECORDED MULTIPLE OF THE 13-CENT KAMEHAMEHA III ISSUE AND ONE OF THREE, POSSIBLY FOUR, BLOCKS EXTANT
This and the block of eight in the following lot were cut from the same pane and were seen together in the Ferrars H. Tows collection sold by Carl E. Pelander in October 1948. After the Tows auction, the pieces were sold to Alfred H. Caspary (block of eight) and Admiral Frederic R. Harris. (block of twelve). When the Harris and Caspary collections were sold in 1954 and 1957, respectively, no one seized the opportunity to reunite the two. The larger block from the Harris sale went to Harold Leavitt, a California collector, and the small block from Caspary went to Josiah K. Lilly. After the Lilly collection was sold by our firm in 1967, the two blocks were finally reunited and acquired by Alfred J. Ostheimer III. Seen together again for the first time since the 1948 Tows sale, it is observed that someone, presumably Caspary, trimmed off a small part of the sheet margin of the smaller block.
Ex Tows, Adm. Harris, Leavitt, Ostheimer. Mentioned in Meyer-Harris (p. 131)
THIS BLOCK, TOGETHER WITH THE ADJOINING BLOCK OF TWELVE OFFERED IN THE PREVIOUS LOT, FORM THE ORIGINAL PANE OF TWENTY
The history of this block and its companion from the original pane is given in the previous lot description. In the Caspary sale, this block was described with "faint thinning in 2 small places," but there are no thins in this block, in or out of fluid.
Ex Tows, Caspary, Lilly, Ostheimer. Mentioned in Meyer-Harris (p. 131)
THE ONLY RECORDED COVER BEARING A PAIR OR ANY MULTIPLE OF THE 1853 5-CENT KAMEHAMEHA FIRST PRINTING
This cover comes from the Archer correspondence, which includes the unique Missionary/Kamehameha mixed franking offered as lot ## in this sale. The cover does not have a year-date, but was probably carried in 1856 on the Yankee, which cleared Honolulu on September 4 and arrived in San Francisco on September 21. The San Francisco datestamp does not show the day clearly, but it was probably postmarked on or about the first of the month when the next Panama sailing was set to depart. The small red pencil "32c" accurately reflects the necessary postage for a double-rate letter (2 x 5c Hawaiian = 10c, plus 2 x 10c U.S. = 20c, plus the 2c ship captain's fee), but the use of two 12c stamps involved a 2c overpayment.
By September 1856 the Honolulu post office was beginning to run short of 5c stamps, as a consequence of the April 1855 rate change, which increased the Hawaii-U.S. rate from 13c to 17c and created greater demand for 5c-plus-12c frankings. This pair is the only recorded multiple of the 5c First Printing (Scott 5) on cover.
Illustrated and discussed in Meyer-Harris (pp. 36-37). Ex Gibson, Harris, Ostheimer.
A REMARKABLE MIXED FRANKING, PRECISELY PREPAYING THE HAWAIIAN 5-CENT RATE, THE UNITED STATES 20-CENT DOUBLE RATE, AND THE 2-CENT SHIP CAPTAIN'S FEE
There is evidence on this cover indicating that when it left the post office at Hilo, there was additional Hawaiian postage affixed, which was removed at Honolulu, and, in its place, the two United States stamps were affixed. Beneath the 10c and 12c stamps are scuffs in the envelope, of the size and shape that would result if other stamps were peeled off. The scuffs were not there when the address was written (the letter "n" of "Munson" is affected), but were there before the U.S. stamps were affixed and then canceled at the San Francisco post office (the datestamps are impressed over the scuffs). The Honolulu "U.S. Postage Paid" marking confirms that the letter was fully prepaid at Hilo, probably with two 13c Kamehameha stamps, which, together with the 5c Kamehameha, would make up 31c of the necessary 32c postage (the other 1c paid in cash). The use of 10c and 12c values on the same cover is rare - in this case, the precise U.S. postage was 22c (2 x 10c postage plus 2c ship fee).
Ex Atherton, Honolulu Academy of Arts.
THE FINEST OF THE FIVE COVERS KNOWN TO US WITH A SINGLE 13-CENT KAMEHAMEHA III STAMP USED BY ITSELF PRIOR TO APRIL 1855, PAYING THE SHORT-LIVED RATE FOR WHICH IT WAS CREATED
Our records contain just five examples of the 13c Kamehameha III stamp used by itself - without any secondary franking - on covers dated prior to the United States April 1855 rate change. This rate change effectively increased the Hawaiian rate to the U.S. East Coast from 13c to 17c, thereby destroying the purpose for which this stamp was originally created. During the period from May 1853 until April 1855, the practice of affixing United States stamps to Hawaiian mail became more regular. Only two of the five solitary 13c covers have the stamp tied by any marking, and this is the finest of all five covers.
Though the Scott Catalogue values 13c mixed-franking covers more highly than this single franking, it is well-known among specialists that this usage is far rarer than any other. In fact, the Meyer-Harris book illustrates this cover on page 29 and states (p. 31): "Since the custom of adding United States stamps was begun very soon after the "Boston Engraved" issue came into use, covers with a 13c engraved and without any United States stamps are even rarer than `Missionary' covers."
Ex Adm. Harris, Haas. With 1962 P.F. certificate
A REMARKABLE MIXED-FRANKING LETTER, MAILED BY MARIA WHITNEY POGUE - THE FIRST MISSIONARY CHILD BORN IN HAWAII - TO HER SCHOOLMATE FROM MOUNT HOLYOKE, FIDELIA FISKE, WHO WAS WORKING AMONG THE NESTORIANS IN PERSIA
A complete background of the Pogue-Fiske correspondence is provided in the description to lot 7, the 13c Missionary cover to Persia. This letter, written in June 1854, adds another chapter to the fascinating story.
The rates that applied to the earlier Missionary cover were still in effect at the time this June 1854 letter was mailed - 5c Hawaiian, 6c U.S. postage and 2c ship captain's fee. However, by this time the Missionaries had been superseded by the Kamehameha III issue (though the two were issues were used concurrently), and the practice of affixing United States stamps on letters at the Honolulu post office had become more regular. Paste-overs, as they are termed, were one means of showing full prepayment of the U.S. rate. Perhaps a half-dozen covers are known franked in this manner.
An interesting feature of this letter is the manuscript note at the top of the address panel: "overland Contple 12 Octe 54", which, based on the route to Oroomiah described in Fidelia Fiske's biography, indicates "Overland via Constantinople (Turkey)." Where and by whom this route marking was applied is not known, but the letter was probably carried from Boston to Smyrna, then by water to Constantinople. Whether the land-journey commenced at Constantinople or, as described in Fiske's biography, from Trebizond in northeast Turkey, is uncertain.
The letter itself discusses missionary life and problems of health. Mrs. Pogue writes with remarkable candor, "The increase of foreigners increases fearfully the amount of sin committed & we are appalled to think & see what is going on around us - The ravages of small-pox last year - you probably have heard of it - will nigh sweep off the nation - nothing but the most strenuous efforts & the most strick tabus kept the disease out from any part of the Is. It is remarkable that the disease was introduced first probably by a sailor's intercourse with a prostitute at Honolulu & that that class of persons were the greatest sufferers. Wherever persons of bad character were found there we were sure to hear of the disease & most of the abandoned were carried off by it." Fidelia Fiske received this letter and, according to docketing in her hand, answered it on April 29, 1855.
From the group discovered in May 1938 in a sea chest in the basement of a library in Shelburne, Massachusetts (see also lots ## and ##). Sold through Spencer Anderson. Ex Haas
ONE OF THE FINEST OF THE FEW RECORDED EXAMPLES OF THIS MIXED FRANKING AND ESPECIALLY DESIRABLE WITH THE ALL OF THE STAMPS VISIBLE
In the period following the April 1855 rate change, which increased the Hawaii-U.S. rate from 13c to 17c, letters are found franked with 5c and 13c Kamehameha III stamps used together to prepay the new rate. It is believed that all of the surviving covers (six confirmed) with these 5c-plus-13c mixed frankings originated in Hilo; however, one cannot conclude that they were limited to Hilo, because there is the strong possibility that other outlying post offices forwarded letters to Honolulu with similar frankings, but the covers have not survived.
It is not known whether the Hawaiian stamps overpaid the rate by 1c or the 13c stamps were sold for 12c each. The latter seems more likely, given the financial prudence of the missionaries and the existence of official correspondence indicating that 13c stamps were sold for lower rates at times during this period. When the letters were received in Honolulu, they were usually franked with United States stamps. For collectors the more desirable arrangement of stamps is displayed on this cover, rather than the paste-overs.
A FINE AND EXTREMELY RARE FRANKING, COMBINING BOTH KAMEHAMEHA III ISSUES AFTER THE APRIL 1855 RATE CHANGE RENDERED OBSOLETE THE 13-CENT'S ORIGINAL PURPOSE
Following the United States rate change, effective April 1, 1855, the 13c Kamehameha III stamp could no longer prepay the full rate from Hawaii to the U.S. East Coast, which increased from 13c to 17c. In consequence the patrons of Hawaii's postal system began using 5c stamps plus 12c U.S. stamps, or 13c stamps plus 4c cash, or, in this case, 5c and 13c stamps together. Whether the last franking method involved overpayment, or the 13c stamps were sold for 12c each, has never been clearly established, though written official communications indicate that at times the 13c stamps were sold for reduced rates. Surviving covers with such combinations - at least six of which are recorded - all originate at Hilo, but other outlying offices might also have forwarded letters to Honolulu with similar frankings.
During the period dating from April 1855 it was already a regular practice to affix U.S. postage stamps to outbound letters on which the U.S. rate had been prepaid. This is a remarkable example of a fully-prepaid letter, on which no U.S. stamps were affixed. The red San Francisco datestamp with "Paid 12" confirms that the letter never carried U.S. stamps.
Ex Knapp, Tows, Krug, Rust, with 1959 P.F. certificate
ONE OF THREE KNOWN COVERS FROM HILO TO THIS ADDRESSEE, MAILED IN SEQUENCE WITH MIXED FRANKINGS, DEMONSTRATING THE IMPROVISED USE OF THE KAMEHAMEHA ISSUE AFTER THE APRIL 1855 RATE CHANGE
Based on the content of these letters, we know that the Hilo postmaster, B. Pitman, mailed three sequential letters to the same addressee, each containing installment bills of exchange for proceeds from the ship Ontario. This December 13, 1855, folded letter, the subsequent December 23 folded letter (the following lot), and an earlier December 7 letter (ex Rust and sold in our Sale 681, lot 591) comprise the three letters. In addition, Pitman also wrote from Hilo to Mrs. Sally Pitman in Boston on May 13, 1856.
The three December letters were forwarded from Hilo to Honolulu over a two-week period, but they remained at the Honolulu office until the Yankee was cleared for departure on January 3, 1856, arriving in San Francisco on January 17. On this and the earlier letter, each of the 13c Kamehameha III stamps was used (presumably with cash) to prepay the 17c rate. On the final letter (the following lot), the postmaster had a 5c Kamehameha III stamp and used the two together. We can be certain that the U.S. 12c stamps were affixed in Honolulu, because the last cover is a paste-over usage, and the red Honolulu datestamp just ties the 12c together with the Hawaiian stamps. Evidently the addressee, W. R. Post, had moved from Sag Harbor to Southampton, and the three letters were forwarded on the same day, February 18, postage due 3c each.
The correspondence was preserved and sold intact to one of the earliest American cover collectors, John F. Seybold. After the Seybold colection was dispersed, the covers went separate ways into the collections of Knapp (Dec. 13), West (Dec. 23) and Tows (Dec. 7). Two of the three have been reunited in the Advertiser collection.
Ex Seybold, Knapp, Middendorf.
THE THIRD AND LAST OF THE POSTMAASTER PITMAN COVERS TO SAG HARBOR, BEARING BOTH KAMEHAMEHA III ISSUES IN A MIXED FRANKING WITH THE UNITED STATES 12-CENT 1851 ISSUE
The background of this correspondence and the rates involved are given in the description for the previous lot. Of the three Pitman covers sent from Hilo in December 1855, only this cover has both the 5c and 13c Kamehameha III issues, which were affixed when the cover was forwarded from the Hilo post office to Honolulu. A later cover from Pitman to Mrs. Sally Pitman (May 1856) also has the 5c-plus-13c mixed franking with a 12c 1851 applied in Honolulu.
The fact that the 12c stamp on this cover is tied by the red Honolulu datestamp confirms beyond question that the U.S. stamp was affixed in Hawaii, not in San Francisco. It is known that the Hawaiian post offices were supplied with United States stamps.
The trio of Pitman covers was sold intact to John F. Seybold, one of the earliest American collectors of covers. When the Seybold collection was dispersed, the three covers went into the Knapp, Tows and West collections. This cover was William West's, and, after his collection was sold at auction, it went to Admiral Harris and eventually to Philip G. Rust.
Illustrated and discussed in Meyer-Harris (pp. 40-41). Ex Seybold, West, Harris, Rust.
A VERY CHOICE AND BEAUTIFUL SIDE-BY-SIDE MIXED FRANKING FROM HILO DURING THE PERIOD IN WHICH IMPROVISED USE OF THE 13-CENT KAMEHAMEHA STAMP TOOK MANY VARIED FORMS
Among the methods of prepayment available to patrons after the April 1855 rate change was the use of a single 13c Kamehameha III stamp plus 4c in cash. This variation and others seem to have originated from the Hilo post office, judging from the surviving covers, but it is also possible that other outlying post offices forwarded mail to Honolulu with similar frankings, examples of which have not survived. In any case, presuming that the U.S. stamp was not affixed until the letter was processed at Honolulu, the Hilo office must have had a way of indicating to the Honolulu office that letters such as this had been fully prepaid, despite the presence of only a 13c stamp. Perhaps the mail was bundled and tagged according to prepayment.
A pencil note on the letter inside states: "This wonderful cover was purchased from old John W. Scott at John St. N.Y." Illustrated and discussed in Meyer-Harris (pp. 33-34). Ex Emerson, Harris, Burrus, Ostheimer.