ONE OF SIX RECORDED COVERS WITH MIXED FRANKING OF HAWAIIAN MISSIONARY AND UNITED STATES STAMPS -- THE ONLY COMBINATION INVOLVING THE 13-CENT "HAWAIIAN POSTAGE" STAMP. THIS IS THE LAST HAWAIIAN MISSIONARY COVER TO BE DISCOVERED -- IT WAS FOUND IN A STEAMER TRUNK OF PAPERS WITH THE 3-CENT 1851 STAMPS PASTED OVER THE 13-CENT MISSIONARY.
This cover is 3-II-COV-144 in our census of Hawaiian Missionary stamps at http://www.siegelauctions.com/dynamic/census/HI4/HI4.pdf and No. 10 (13c Scott 3) in the Gregory census. There are 29 Hawaiian Missionary covers recorded in our census, which we believe to be a complete list of genuine covers. One of the covers we list has a small fragment of a 13c stamp, leaving 28 collectible covers. Of these 28, four are permanently held by the National Postal Museum, and a fifth is in the Reichspost Museum, leaving 23 Hawaiian Missionary covers available to collectors. Of the 23 available, only six have combination frankings with United States stamps, including the famous 2c cover. Only the cover offered here has the 13c "Hawaiian Postage" issue used with United States stamps. It is also one of seven genuine 13c "Hawaiian Postage" covers (with complete stamps) available to collectors. Two additional 13c "Hawaiian Postage" covers are in the National Postal Museum, and the tenth recorded cover has most of the stamp torn away, thus making it a study item rather than a collectible example. The Gregory book lists an eleventh Scott 3 cover that requires further study.
This cover was carried from Honolulu to San Francisco on the brigantine Prince de Joinville, departing on March 23 and arriving on April 10, 1854. It was carried from San Francisco to Panama on the steamship John L. Stephens, departing on April 15. It probably made the April 17 sailing of the Illinois from Aspinwall, which arrived at New York on April 25.
The sender, George D. Gower, was born in Farmington, Maine, in 1826 and for a number of years operated a lumber business. He served as Customs Collector of Lahaina from 1851 to 1854. The enclosed letter from Gower to Thomas Croswell & Son in Farmington included a payment draft for $1,000. It also mentions the birth of a daughter -- Susan Charlotte was born in Lahaina on March 20, 1854, two days before this letter was written.
March 1854 is a relatively late use of the 13c "Hawaiian Postage" Missionary, but 13c is the correct composite rate, and the practice of affixing United States postage over Hawaiian postage is evidenced by several other covers from the same period. It is possible that Gower, as Customs Collector, had a supply of the three-year old Missionary stamps on hand. The short-lived practice of applying United States stamps (6c postage) over the 13c Hawaiian stamp was likely intended to avoid confusion over whether or not U.S. postage had been prepaid. The postmaster in Honolulu affixed the U.S. stamps to cover up the Hawaiian postage, and the letter was postmarked in San Francisco without applying a "Ship" or rate mark. The 2c ship fee was credited to San Francisco in the regular accounting. Fred Gregory records eight paste-over frankings with the 1853 Kamehameha III Issue and this one Missionary cover.
Census No. 3-II-COV-144. Ex Hackmey. With 1999 P.F. certificate.
EXTREMELY FINE. 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 ONE OF THE FIRST MISSIONARIES TO WORK AMONG THE NESTORIANS IN PERSIA.
The letter writer, Maria Kapule Whitney Pogue, was the daughter of Reverend and Mrs. Samuel Whitney and the first missionary child born in the Hawaiian Islands (born October 18, 1820). Her brother, Henry M. Whitney, was Hawaii's first postmaster and the printer of the Missionary stamps. Maria Whitney married John Fawcett Pogue in 1848, four years after his arrival with the Eleventh Company of missionaries. The Pogues moved from the island of Hawaii to Lahainaluna on Maui in 1851 and were stationed there until 1866.
In June 1854 Mrs. Pogue wrote this letter to Fidelia Fiske, her former roommate at Mount Holyoke and a missionary colleague. Miss Fiske travelled to Urmi (Oroomiah) in 1843 to join the missionaries, including her father, who were working among the Nestorians, a religious group whose ancient views of Christ were regarded by other Christians as heresy. Urmi is located on the plains east of Kurdistan in the northwest region of Persia. It was the site of a female seminary, of which Fidelia Fiske became the first principal.
The letter from Mrs. Pogue was addressed to the missionary house at 33 Pemberton Square, where arrangements were made for letters to be carried back and forth by missionaries travelling between the United States and foreign countries. After the journey from Hawaii to Boston, this letter was carried outside of the mails by vessel across the Atlantic and into the Mediterranean Sea. The journey is described in Faith Working By Love, a memoir of Fidelia Fiske's life by Rev. Daniel T. Fiske (published in 1868). The ocean voyage brought the missionaries and mail to the port city of Smyrna, Turkey. From there they travelled north across the Aegean Sea to Constantinople, and, after a stop, they continued on the waters of the Black Sea to Trebizond in northeast Turkey. At Trebizond the missionaries prepared for the arduous land journey to Urmi, a distance of approximately 400 miles. Caravans of twenty horses crossed the plains and mountain passes, covering about fifteen to twenty miles per day. About midway, the caravan rested at Erzroom, where other missionaries were situated. Then came the last leg of the trip, the dangerous trek across the Kurdish region, which required another two weeks and exposed the missionaries to attacks from hostile Kurds. Upon reaching Urmi, the villages of the plains could be seen from the surrounding mountains.
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 Urmi 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.
The postage rate that applied to this June 1854 letter was 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 issues were used concurrently). The short-lived practice of applying U.S. stamps (6c postage) over the 13c Hawaiian stamp was likely intended to avoid confusion over whether or not U.S. postage had been prepaid. The postmaster in Honolulu affixed the U.S. stamps to cover up the Hawaiian postage, and the letter was postmarked in San Francisco without applying a "Ship" or rate mark. The 2c ship fee was credited to San Francisco in the regular accounting. Fred Gregory records eight paste-over frankings with the 1853 Kamehameha III Issue and one Missionary cover (offered in lot 349).
This letter was part of a group discovered in May 1938 in a sea chest in the basement of a library in Shelburne, Massachusetts, which was sold to Spencer Anderson. Ex Haas, Honolulu Advertiser and Hackmey. With 1996 P.F. certificate.
VERY FINE. THIS IS AN EARLY USE OF THE HAWAIIAN 1853 5-CENT KAMEHAMEHA III ISSUE AND ONE OF TWO EXAMPLES OF A BISECTED 12-CENT 1851 STAMP USED FROM HAWAII. A WONDERFUL EXHIBITION ITEM.
This piece of mail arrived in San Francisco on August 2, just one day after the PMSS Co.'s Northerner left for Panama. Assuming it was held for the next PMSS Co. sailing, it would have been carried on the Winfield Scott on that vessel's maiden voyage for the company, departing San Francisco on August 16 and arriving at Panama City on August 30. Mail from the Winfield Scott was carried by the U.S. Mail Steamship Co.'s Illinois, departing Aspinwall on September 2 and arriving at New York on September 10.
When this arrived in San Francisco, the use of bisected 12c stamps for the 6c transcontinental rate was still permitted. According to research by James Allen, the first official U.S. Post Office Department notice prohibiting the use of bisectional stamps was published on the East Coast on September 12, 1853. It is interesting that the Honolulu post office applied the "Hawaiian Islands" datestamp, indicating that U.S. postage had not been prepaid, and that San Francisco also treated the letter as unpaid at a time when bisected stamps were accepted. The only examples of a 12c 1851 bisect used from Hawaii are this cover front and a small piece with two bisects put together.
Fred Gregory records an off-cover example of the 5c Kamehameha "Boston" Engraved issue with a postmark dated June 6 (1853) and this front with the July 3 datestamp as the earliest uses of the issue.
Illustrated and discussed in Gregory's Hawaii Foreign Mail to 1870, Volume I (pp. 301-302), where he states "..the cover [sic] is genuine and both stamps were on the cover when it was canceled at Honolulu." Ex Caspary, Rust, Pietsch, Kramer and Hackmey. With 1997 P.F. certificate.
A VERY FINE COVER WITH THE HAWAIIAN 1857 "5" ON 13-CENT KAMEHAMEHA III PROVISIONAL STAMP USED IN COMBINATION WITH THE 12-CENT 1851 ISSUE. ONE OF TEN SUCH COMBINATIONS RECORDED BY GREGORY.
The 5c provisional surcharge was necessary due to a shortage of 5c stamps just after the transition from Postmaster Whitney to Jackson. Most were made by Jackson's clerk, Alvah Clark, around the start of 1857. New supplies of the 5c stamp (Scott No. 8) were received at the end of June 1857.
Five of the eighteen 5c provisional covers recorded by Gregory (Hawaii Foreign Mail to 1870, Volume III, Appendix II-F) were carried on this trip of the Vaquero, which stopped at Honolulu on its way from Australia and carried two bags of mail when it cleared Honolulu on June 27, 1857. She returned to safe harbor with a broken mast and left again on June 29 with additional mail, arriving in San Francisco on July 16 (Gregory, Vol. II, pp. 54-55). The mail from the Vaquero, including this cover, was carried on the PMSS Co.'s John L. Stephens, departing San Francisco on July 20 and arriving at Panama City on August 3. It was then carried by the famous steamship Central America, departing from Aspinwall on August 3 and arriving at New York on August 12.
A biography of the addressee, Deacon Obahiah Mead, is provided in the genealogical work, One Life at a Time: A New World Family Narrative, 1630-1960, by R. Thomas Collins (a Google search will locate the information).
Ex Krug, Rust, Pietsch and Twigg-Smith. With 2007 P.F. certificate
FINE. A COLORFUL AND RARE FRANKING PAYING THE DOUBLE 10-CENT TRANSCONTINENTAL POSTAGE AND 2-CENT SHIP CAPTAIN'S FEE ON A COVER FROM HAWAII TO THE UNITED STATES. BELIEVED TO BE THE ONLY RECORDED USE OF THE 10-CENT TYPE I FROM HAWAII.
This cover was carried on the bark Fanny Major, departing Honolulu on April 8, 1857, and arriving at San Francisco on April 28. It was datestamped by the San Francisco post office on May 5, the day the PMSS Co. Golden Gate sailed for Panama, arriving on May 18. The next day the ship caught fire after a seaman opened a barrel of alcohol to preserve the body of a dead baby and carelessly left the flammable liquid (and baby) unattended. The 12c United States postage on covers from Hawaii was usually paid with a single 12c stamp. Very few covers are known with 1c 1851 and 10c 1855 Issue frankings, and this is reported to be the only one with the scarce 10c Type I.
Ex Honolulu Advertiser, Giamporcaro and Hackmey. With 1999 P.F. certificate.
EXTREMELY FINE. A RARE COVER WITH THE 10-CENT 1855 ISSUE PAYING THE TRIPLE RATE TO HAWAII.
Elisha N. Allen (1804-83) was U.S. Consul in Honolulu 1850-53. He was appointed Minister of Finance for King Kamehameha III 1854-56. In 1856 he sailed back to New England and married Mary H. Hobbs, daughter of Maine legislator, Frederick Hobbs. The couple returned to Honolulu, where from 1857 through 1877 Allen was Chief Justice of the Kingdom of Hawaii Supreme Court. The Allen's first-born son, Frederick, was born ten days after Prince Albert Edward Kauikeaouli Kaleiopapa, and the two children became playmates. In August 1864 Elisha Allen served as Chancellor for the coronation of King Kamehameha V under the new 1864 Constitution of the Kingdom of Hawaii. He was Minister Plenipotentiary from the Kingdom of Hawaii to the United States from 1856 until his death.
Ex Giamporcaro and Hackmey. With 1999 P.F. certificate