This page last updated: 20 December 2001


::: BOSTON LITHOGRAPH - Clark Essays :::

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1c orange-yellow-150

One Cent Orange-Yellow

2c brown-150

Two Cent Brown

3c blue-150

Three Cent Deep Blue


When Postmaster General Alvah Clark ordered a fresh supply of 5 stamps in November, 1860, he inquired about obtaining 1 and 2 stamps in sheets of twenty-five. In response, the Holland Printing establishment made a die and sent samples of a design. The samples were done up in several colors, lithographed on pale buff card or white card of medium thickness and imperforate. Instead of just 1 and 2 values, the samples were for values of 1, 2 and 3.

Clark rejected the essays in March, 1861. Apparently, he was dissatisfied because the word "Honolulu" rather than "Hawaii" appeared in the design. Another problem must have been the use of Kamehameha III's image as he had been dead for nearly seven years. Given the depressed Hawaiian economy, Clark probably also was pressured to limit expenses. He soon changed his mind partially and ordered 2 stamps but sent along design specifications to his liking. The 2 "Boston Lithograph" resulted. Holland's samples thus are classed as essays.

Colors used in producing the essays are difficult to describe. Using basic colors, we see Green, Carmine, Orange, Brown, Purple and Blue. Some colors are found in only two values. Beyond the basic colors, complications set in because of shades. The carmine shades range from a dark red to a light red. Brown comes in dark brown, red brown, brown and gray brown. Orange is really an orange-yellow and some examples are more yellow than orange. Green shades run from dark green to green to a deep bluish-green. The purple examples are a dull purple and some are a gray purple - purple examples can look quite similar to the light brown shade. Blue shades go from a gray blue (somewhat ultramarine) to blue to deep blue.

These essays are seen on the market from time to time. Care should be taken to avoid examples with condition problems - or at least to avoid paying top dollar for them. The essays are often seen stained, closely clipped, with thins, creased or having other problems. Clean examples with good margins exist, but are tougher to find. When clean examples are found, the cost ranges from around $750 to nearly $1,000 depending upon the type of color, size of the margins and freshness of color. Examples with faults or other serious problems can be found for much less money.

More examples:

1c green-150

One Cent Green

1c gray-purple-150

One Cent Gray-Purple

1c brown

One Cent Brown

2c red

Two Cent Carmine

3c brown-150

Three Cent Brown

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