This page last updated: 19 May 2006

::: BOSTON ENGRAVED ISSUE - Reprints and Official Reproductions :::

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To fulfill orders from stamp collectors who wanted examples of the early issues, the Post Office ordered a fresh supply from the printer in 1868. The original plates were still in the hands of the printer in Boston who simply ran off the new order. The new order was received in Honolulu in 1868. The Re-Issues are assigned Hawaii Nos. 10 and 11 by the Scott Catalogue. These re-issues show the identical plate characteristics of the original stamps, although often the plate marks are weaker. However, the color is different. The 5 value is a "flatter" blue, lacking the intensity of color in any of the original printings and the 13 value is a dull red. They were printed on paper of medium thickness, much thicker than Scott Nos. 8 and 9 and much thinner than Scott Nos. 5 and 6.

Scott No. 10

Scott 10

Scott No. 11

Scott 11

When they were received, the 5 stamp was valid to pay the 5 rate on foreign mail. There was no 13 rate, but the 13 stamp was valid for postage if anyone wanted to use it. Thus, these new stamps were obsolete but valid for postage and fit the classic definition of a re-issue.


The plates used to print the Boston Engraved Issue and the Re-Issues were laid out with twenty subjects arranged four across and five down.

Click Here to view the sheet layout.


Scott No. 11sb

First, or "old" style black "SPECIMEN" overprint on 13c dull red re-issue, Scott No. 11sb

To avoid confusion, the Post Office ordered the 13 value overprinted in 1869 with the word "SPECIMEN" in black ink by the Pacific Commercial Advertiser Company. This overprint style is assigned Scott No. 11sb in the Scott Catalogue.

The 1869 style overprint was made from a form of ten subjects (2 x 5). The printer was required to place the sheet in the press to overprint two of the stamp columns and then shift the sheet in order to overprint the other two columns. The lower right position in the form lacked a period, so each sheet of the old style overprints acquired two stamps without a period after "SPECIMEN" at positions 18 and 20.

One sheet slipped and was mis-printed during the overprint so one column appears normal and the other column is diagonal. The existence of the mis-print proves the form used was of ten subjects rather than twenty.

Scott No. 11sb mis-print

Mis-printed diagonal overprint of Scott No. 11sb. Note the bottom center stamp is position 18 and lacks a period after the word "SPECIMEN."


Finally, the Post Office ordered the remainders of the re-issues overprinted in 1874, again by the Pacific Commercial Advertiser. This time, the printer made up a form of twenty overprint subjects and used a different style of overprint. The 5 value was overprinted in red ink and the 13 value in black ink. The 1874 style overprints are assigned Hawaii Nos. 10s and 11sa by the Scott Catalogue.

Scott 1874 red SPECIMEN

1874 red "SPECIMEN" overprint on 5 re-issue. The image is of a stamp from plate position 2, showing the Line Through Honolulu variety common to all 5 stamps made from the original plate.

1874 black

1874 black "SPECIMEN" overprint on 13 re-issue

One sheet, or perhaps only a half sheet, of No. 11 was overprinted twice, once with the old style and once with the new. The new style overprint was made from a form of 20 subjects to match the sheet layout. Other than the double overprint mentioned above, there are no reported varieties of the new style overprint.

Scott 1874 double overprint

Double overprint on 13 re-issue. One overprint is the 1869 style and the other is the 1874 style. Perhaps only one half of the sheet received the 1869 style overprint. Fewer than five examples are recorded.


Again to fulfill orders from stamp collectors, the Post Office ordered a new supply in 1889. The original plates and the original die of the 5 value was found in Honolulu and sent to the American Bank Note Company in New York. The plates were too defaced to use but the 5 die could be repaired. Once repaired, the 5 die was used to make a new 13 die and new plates were made, copying the original layout of twenty stamps. These official reproductions are assigned Hawaii Nos. 10r and 11r by the Scott Catalogue.

Scott No. 10r

Scott 10r

Scott No. 11r

Scott 11r

Identifying 1889 Reproductions apart from stamps printed on the original plates is easy enough. Noticeable color differences and numerous small design differences set the 1889 Reproductions apart. A common way to tell the 5 1889 Reproduction is by the absence of a dot in the upper right value box.

Dark blue R5

Upper right value box of Scott No. 5, showing the dot to the left of the 5

Scott 10r R5

Upper right value box of Scott No. 10r showing the absence of a dot

For 13 1889 Reproductions, an easy distinction is found in the lower left value box. Stamps printed from the original plate have a sort of "tail" on the right side at the center of the "3" and reproductions have no "tail."

Pos 13 - LL13

Lower left value box of Scott No. 6, showing the "tail" on the right side of the "3"

Scott 11r-LL13

Lower left value box of Scott No. 11r showing the absence of a "tail"

Click Here to view specimen blocks of 8 with American Bank Note Specimen Overprints.


Worried about the propriety of reproducing stamps of the old style, the Post Office ordered the remainders overprinted in 1892 by the Robert Grieve Company in Honolulu. The word "REPRINT" in black ink was used for both values. There are no recorded varieties of this overprint. The overprinted reproductions are assigned Hawaii Nos. 10rs and 11rs by the Scott Catalogue.

Overprint of 1892 on the 5c 1889 reproduction

Overprint of 1892 on the 5 1889 reproduction

Scott 1892 REPRINT

Overprint of 1892 on the 13 1889 reproduction.

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