EXTREMELY FINE. ONLY NINE EXAMPLES OF THE HONOLULU STRAIGHTLINE POSTMARK ARE RECORDED STRUCK IN BLUE. ARGUABLY THE FINEST EXAMPLE EXTANT OF THIS GREAT POSTAL HISTORY RARITY.
This cover was carried on the Governor Davis, which departed Honolulu December 12, 1850, and arrived in San Francisco on January 5, 1851. It was then carried on the PMSC Unicorn, which departed San Francisco January 15 and arrived in Panama on February 7. After crossing the isthmus, it was carried on the USMSC Ohio, which departed Chagres on February 10 and arrived in New York on February 24.
Fred Gregory records a total of 35 examples of this straightline marking. Of these, the first nine are struck in blue during a brief time period -- between November 2 and December 7, 1850. The cover offered here is one of two known used on December 7, which is the last date known for examples struck in blue. Although Postmaster Whitney sent some letters in packages to avoid the 2c per ship letter fee, this cover was charged 2c in San Francisco.
Gregory Census No. 9 (Fig. 10-4).
VERY FINE. ONE OF ONLY TWO RECORDED EXAMPLES OF THE HONOLULU STRAIGHTLINE HANDSTAMP USED ON A COVER TO A FOREIGN DESTINATION AND THE EARLIEST RECORDED PREPAID LETTER FROM HAWAII. WITHOUT QUESTION ONE OF THE MOST STRIKING AND SIGNIFICANT HAWAIIAN POSTAL HISTORY ARTIFACTS, PARTICULARLY AMONG THOSE WITHOUT ADHESIVE STAMPS.
This letter was carried from Honolulu on the British bark Duchess of Clarence, which departed on January 11, 1851, and arrived in San Francisco on February 7. It was then carried to Panama by the PMSC Oregon, which departed on February 16 and arrived on March 5. It crossed the isthmus to Chagres by mulepack and riverboat, and from there it was carried to Havana on the USMSC Falcon, which departed on March 12 and arrived on March 16. The letter travelled to New York on the USMSC Ohio, which departed Havana on March 17 and arrived on March 22. From there it was carried on the Cunarder Asia, which departed New York on March 26 and arrived in Liverpool on April 5.
The prepaid 74c rate was based (incorrectly) on the following: 10c Hawaiian postage, 40c U.S. transcontinental postage via Panama and 24c U.S.-G.B. treaty rate from New York to England. The correct rate was 10c Hawaiian plus 59c to England from the West Coast and the 2c ship fee, for a total of 71c. The other recorded use of the Honolulu straightline on a letter to a foreign destination is also addressed to England and is offered as lot 9 in this sale.
Gregory Census No. 12 (Fig. 14-4). Ex Golden.
VERY FINE. A BEAUTIFULLY STRUCK EXAMPLE OF THE HONOLULU STRAIGHTLINE POSTMARK. ONE OF THE OUTSTANDING POSTAL HISTORY RARITIES OF HAWAII.
This letter was carried on the Columbus, which departed Honolulu April 1, 1851, and arrived in San Francisco on April 20. It was then carried on the PMSC Oregon from San Francisco to Panama on May 1, 1851. After crossing the isthmus, it was carried on the USMSC Empire City, which departed Chagres May 24 and arrived in New York June 3.
In this letter, Thaddeus Pomeroy reports to his brother that he is unable to travel due to illness and leaks in the ship, writing: “I have been revelling the last six months in the idea of getting home to die comfortably at the old homestead this summer & if the Barque had not returned I should probably have succeeded, as the fates have denied me that privilege I must now be content to remain here some two or three months & then return to live...”
Gregory Census No. 23. Ex Honolulu Advertiser and Twigg-Smith.
VERY FINE. ONE OF ONLY TWO RECORDED EXAMPLES OF THE HONOLULU STRAIGHTLINE HANDSTAMP ON A COVER TO A FOREIGN DESTINATION. ESPECIALLY DESIRABLE WITH SUCH FASCINATING CONTENTS AND THE 25-CENT ERROR RATE. THIS IS ALSO THE LATEST RECORDED USE OF THE HONOLULU STRAIGHTLINE MARKING.
The letter, dated May 6, 1851, was held for the June 16 sailing of the schooner J. K. S. Mansfield, which arrived in San Francisco on July 14. It was then carried to Panama on the PMSC Northerner, which departed San Francisco on July 15 and arrived around August 1. It crossed the isthmus to Chagres, where it was carried on the USMSC Falcon to Havana (departed Aug. 11, arrived Aug. 16) and then on the Cherokee to New York (departed Aug. 17, arrived Aug. 21). At New York it was put on the Havre Line’s Humboldt, which left New York on Aug. 23 and arrived in Southampton on Sep. 4.
The rates on this letter reflect the transition (and confusion) before and after July 1, 1851. The “Paid 59” was applied in Honolulu and was based on the pre-July 1 rate components: 40c U.S. transcontinental postage and 19c for transatlantic postage (the 59c rate from the West Coast to England was in effect up to July 1). Once the letter reached San Francisco, the new July 1851 rates were in effect. San Francisco applied the “Paid” and “25” handstamps to reflect the new 6c prepaid transcontinental rate plus 19c transatlantic postage, but this was an error. The San Francisco postmaster was advised in August 1851 that the correct rate was 29c (see Chronicle 173). The sender paid the Honolulu post office 10c, which is not indicated on the letter.
The letter has interesting comments, such as “the young Princes from this island when they were in London, they have returned here finished fools, after having visited England, France and America. They are sons of the governor of Oahu, the King 'Kamehameha' the 3rd having no family.” The writer continues: “The French were here just before I came, and destroyed the Fort, Guns, Governor’s House &c., and which affair is not yet settled... I hardly think the French would resort to take the place as there are continually American Men of War calling here... There are immense quantities of people arriving here from Sydney, going on their way to California the great gold country.”
Gregory Census No. 35 (Fig. 14-4, page I-225). Ex Golden.
VERY FINE EXAMPLE OF THE HONOLULU STRAIGHTLINE ON A DOUBLE-RATE COVER PREPAID FOR THE NEW 6-CENT TRANSCONTINENTAL RATE AND POSTMARKED AT SAN FRANCISCO ON JULY 1, 1851, THE FIRST DAY OF THE 1851 RATES.
The 6c transcontinental rate was effective from July 1, 1851, to April 1, 1855. This cover was carried on the American bark Joseph Butler, which departed Honolulu June 4, 1851, and arrived in San Francisco on July 1. It was then carried on the PMSC Panama, which departed on July 1 (arrival date uncertain, about July 20). After crossing the isthmus, it was carried from Chagres on the USMSC Empire City, which departed July 25 and arrived in New York on August 6 after a stop in Kingston, Jamaica.
Ex Knapp and Kramer.