This page last updated: 19 May 2006

::: BOSTON ENGRAVED :::

Hawaii's second issue was produced by intaglio printing in Boston, thus the name "Boston Engraved." They are assigned Hawaii Nos. 5-9 in Scott Catalogue. Only two denominations were printed, 5 and 13. The 5 value paid the Hawaiian domestic foreign mail charge to handle a letter and deliver it to a ship bound for San Francisco. The 13 value paid both the Hawaiian 5 rate and the United States 6 rate from San Francisco to the Eastern States plus the 2 ship fee paid to the captain of the vessel carrying the mail to San Francisco. For more detail on the rates, see Foreign Mail.

For Reprints and Official Reproductions, click Here.
For a Forgery Study of the Boston Engraved Issue, click Here.

1853 ISSUE

Scott No. 5
Scott No. 6

Scott No. 5
Blue 5 on thick white paper.

Scott No. 6
Red 13 on thick white paper.


Scott Nos. 5 and 6, the first two stamps of this issue were released by the post office in 1853. They were printed on a thick paper, varying from thick to very thick. The printer used a plate layout of twenty subjects (4 x 5). This layout was used throughout all subsequent printings re-issues and official reproductions of these stamps.

SHADES OF THE 1853 ISSUE

Two shades are noted for the 5 stamp. Most often seen is the medium blue shade. A rare, "Prussian blue" shade exists, noted in the 1949 Gibbons Hawaii price list.

Medium blue

Prussian blue

Medium blue
Dark blue

For the 13 value, shades of medium red and deep red exist.

Medium red

Deep red

Medium red
Deep red

PLATING

Each subject on the plate has unique features, allowing any stamp of this Issue to be plated. Plating the 5 value is easier because the unique marks are more noticeable. The most dramatic plate mark occurs in position 2 of the 5 plate where a strong re-entry line is seen through the word "Honolulu" giving us the major "Line Through Honolulu" variety on each of the 5 stamps made from position 2.

Scott 5
Scott detail

Scott No. 5
Line Through Honolulu


Click Here for details on how to Plate the 5 Value.

Click Here for details on how to Plate the 13 Value.

DOUBLE ENTRY

A double entry has been detected on the 13 stamp in plate position three. It appears as a small dot to the right of the figure "8" in the right panel where the number "8" was re-entered.

Pos 3 detail
Pos 3 small detail

Scott No. 6
Double Entry

SLIPPED PRINT

A "slipped print" anomaly exists in Scott No. 6.

slipped print
slipped print detail

Scott No. 6
Slipped Print

LATER USES & PRINTINGS

During the rate period in effect from July 1, 1851 to April 1, 1855, a letter pre-paying Hawaiian and United States postage cost thirteen cents. Hawaii's 13 stamp paid that combined rate, as mentioned above. Hawaii's 5 stamp paid the Hawaiian postage on letters sent with United States postage collect.

United States postage on prepaid letters increased on April 1, 1855. Hawaiian postage remained the same. After the rate change a letter with United States and Hawaiian postage prepaid thus cost seventeen cents.

Although demand for Hawaii's 5 stamp continued, Hawaii's 13 stamp found itself with no rate to pay. Hawaii was thus left with a useless supply of 13 stamps. People with personal supplies of the 13 stamp used them to overpay the United States rate by a penny and either paid the Hawaiian postage in coin or with a 5 stamp. To avoid confusion in the United States, either the Honolulu or San Francisco Post Office often placed a United States 12 stamp over the Hawaiian stamps.

Despite becoming useless, mismanagement of the supply of Hawaiian 5 stamps and also of United States 12 stamps created new uses for the 13 stamp. Also, continuing demand for Hawaii's 5 value created need for additional printings.

  • In late 1856 Hawaii's supply of 5 stamps was exhausted and 13 stamps were pressed into service as 5 stamps to bridge the temporary shortage. Some 13 were surcharged with a manuscript "5".
  • To resupply Hawaii with 5 stamps, a fresh printing was ordered from Boston and it arrived in mid-1857. In 1861, another printing was ordered. Stamps of these two printings were done on very thin, translucent paper and the paper color for each differed from one another and from the 1853 printing.
  • Supplies of United States stamps were kept at the Honolulu Post Office and were also distributed to major outer island post offices. In early 1861, the supply of United States 12 stamps ran low so orders from the outer islands for the 12 stamp were filled with the Hawaiian 13 stamp along with instructions to sell them at twelve cents.

I. Use of 13 Stamps to pay Hawaii's 5 rate 1856-1857

Accounting rules assigned a zero value to stamps until they were placed in use, at which time the Postmaster General could assign any value to them. Normally, a stamp was assigned its face value but in the case of Hawaii's 13 stamp, the face value was useless after the United States rate change of 1855. When a shortage of 5 stamps occurred in late 1856, the 13 stamp was placed in use at five cents. By early 1857, someone conceived the idea of placing a manuscript "5" on the face of the 13 stamps to avoid confusion. However, it is suspected some were sold without a surcharge before the idea was born.

  • Mute 5 "Surcharge" on the 13 Stamps, Scott No. 6 - 1856:
    An example of Scott No. 6 used without surcharge on a collect letter in September, 1856, may represent a use of the 13 stamps for 5 before the idea to surcharge them was conceived. No covers showing a mute 5 surcharge are recorded.

Scott No. 6 Used As 5 Without Surcharge

Scott No. 6
Used as 5
Without Surcharge

The image to the left is an example used in September, 1856 and canceled with the Honolulu postmark type 236.11 (III) used for mail sent with United States postage unpaid. The date and postmark type suggest the stamp was treated as a 5 to pay only the Hawaiian 5 rate on foreign letters.

  • Manuscript 5 surcharged stamps, Scott No. 7:
    In January, 1857, Honolulu Postmaster Joseph Jackson decided to have a manuscript "5" written on the face of some 13 stamps and sold them for five cents. Jackson made a few surcharges but left most of the work to his clerk, future Postmaster General Alvah Clark. Many letters written by both Jackson and Clark are in the Hawaii State Archives collection. In dates and other references in the contents of those letters, Jackson and Clark frequently wrote the number "5". Clark's neater, tighter "5" is easily distinguishable from Jackson's scrawled, open "5". Only four examples are recorded of Jackson's handwritten "5" on Scott No. 7. In the literature, the Jackson scrawl is what has been called the Type II surcharge, with varying attempts to describe a surcharge most writers never saw. For a census of the nineteen covers bearing the 5 surcharge, see Scott No. 7 Covers.

Clark
Jackson

Scott No. 7
Clark Manuscript (Type I)

Scott No. 7
Jackson Manuscript (Type II)

II. New printings of the 5 stamp on Thin Paper

Responding to the continuing need for five cents stamps, Postmaster Jackson ordered a fresh supply made from the same plates used for the 1853 printing. When the stamps arrived they were printed on a thin chalky white paper. These stamps are designated Scott No. 8. By 1860, the five cents stamps again were running low and a fresh printing was ordered made from the same plate. These stamps were printed on a thin bluish paper and are designated Scott No. 9. Being from the same plate as Scott No. 5, stamps of Scott Nos. 8 and 9 show all of the plate characteristics of Scott No. 5, including the variety "Line Through Honolulu". Use of the 1861 printing began in September of that year, but covers with the 1857 printing are more common until mid-1862, suggesting there was a delay in distributing the newer stamps while the older ones were still in stock.


Scott No. 8

Scott No. 8

Scott No. 8a

Scott No. 8a


Double print A

Double 1

Double print B

Double 2

Double print A detail

Double 1 detail

Double print B detail

Double 2 detail

Scott No. 8b

Scott No. 8, issued in 1857, on thin, chalky white paper. The "line through Honolulu" variety is catalogued as Scott No. 8a. Two sheets of this stamp were double printed (Scott No. 8b). On one sheet (left image), the doubling is most noticeable on the left of the stamp. On the other sheet (right image) the doubling is seen throughout.


Scott No. 9

Scott No. 9

Scott No. 9, issued in 1861 on thin bluish paper. Other than the Line Through Honolulu variety, present on all stamps of the 5 value from plate position 2, there are no reported varieties of the 1861 printing.


Scott No. 9 dark

dark

Scott No. 9 medium

medium

Scott No. 9 light

light

Scott No. 9 is seen in three shades of dark, medium and light blue.

Scott No. 9a

Scott No. 9a

Scott No. 9a, line through Honolulu


reverse

Backs of Scott Nos. 8 and 9 showing transparency of paper

Scott Nos. 8 and 9 are printed on such thin paper it is nearly transparent.

III. Mute 12 Surcharge on the 13 stamp

In 1861, supplies of the United States 12 stamp were running low at the Honolulu Post Office and were exhausted at outlying post offices. The United States 12 stamps was used as a convenience to avoid confusion over whether the United States postage was prepaid and also simplified the quarterly account reconciliation with the San Francisco Post Office. Proof of the mute 12 surcharge on the 13 stamp is contained in correspondence between the Postmaster General and the Postmaster at Lahaina who ordered a supply of 200 United States 12 stamps from Honolulu. Instead of sending United States 12 stamps and risk exhausting the supply at Honolulu, the Postmaster General requisitioned more of the useless 13 stamps from the vault, put them into service at twelve cents and instructed the Lahaina Postmaster to sell them at twelve cents. Upon receiving the instruction to sell the 13 stamps for 12, the Lahaina Postmaster wrote a letter expressing his surprise. Whether other post offices used the mute 12 surcharge and whether they were used at the Honolulu Postoffice, is uncertain. One recorded cover showing this usage is recorded bearing a 5 (Scott No. 8) and a 13 (Scott No. 6) Hawaiian stamp with a United States 12 (Scott No. 36b) stamp. Three other covers from 1861-1863 possibly show the same usage but one of these covers received a negative opinion from Dr. Munk and the two other covers inspection because of potential problems. Covers with a 13 stamp and a United States 12 stamp, sometimes in combination with a Hawaiian 5 stamp, are known from July, 1855 to August, 1857. The surprise expressed by the Lahaina Postmaster in 1861 suggests those earlier combination covers represent overpayment of the twelve cent rate by people who had old 13 stamps in their desk drawer. An 1860 cover bears a 13 stamp with a United States 12 stamp but its genuiness has been questioned.

61 - Sep 7 mute surcharge to Chandler, Maine

Mute 12 Surcharge on 13 stamp: The cover to the left is one of four recorded examples showing the 1861 mute surcharge on the 13 stamp. This cover was prepaid 17 (five cents for the Hawaiian postage and twelve cents for United States postage) with Hawaii Scott No. 8 plus a 13 stamp sold at 12. A United States 12 stamp, Scott No. 36b, was pasted over these stamps at the Honolulu or San Francisco Post Office.

RE-ISSUES OF 1868

Re-issues of the Boston Engraved Issue were ordered by the Post Office to provide examples to the many stamp dealers and collectors who sought examples of obsolete Hawaiian stamps. The re-issues were not sold for use as postage, although technically, they were valid for postage. Used examples are all thought to be philatelic favors. These re-issues were ordered in 1868 from the same Boston printer who made the original issues and are listed as Hawaii No. 10 and 11 in Scott Catalogue. The original plates were used for the re-issues and they were printed on medium wove paper.

Some of the re-issues were invalidated by overprinting them with the word "Specimen". The overprint was applied in Honolulu by the Pacific Commercial Advertiser under contract with the post office. A quantity of No. 11 was overprinted with black ink in 1869. Another quantity was overprinted in 1874 using a different style, also with black ink and, at the same time, a quantity of No. 10 was overprinted with red ink using the 1874 style used on No. 11. Thus there are two styles of overprint on No. 11. As overprinted the stamps are assigned Hawaii Nos. 10s, 11sa and 11sb. Please see Reprints and Official Reproductions.

REPRINTS OF 1889

Reprints of the Boston Engraved Issue were made by the American Bank Note Company in New York in 1889. The original 5 and 13 dies were reworked to repair substantial damage and new plates were made. Again, as with the re-issue of 1868, the purpose for these 1889 reprints was to supply old style stamps to collectors. Because the reprints were made from new plates, they do not share the plate characteristics of the original issues. In 1892, a quantity of the reprints was overprinted in Honolulu with the word "Reprint" by the Robert Grieve Company under contract with the post office. The reprints without overprint are assigned Hawaii Nos. 10r and 11r and the overprinted kind are assigned Hawaii Nos. 10rs and 11rs in Scott Catalogue. There are no reported varieties either in the reprints or in the overprints. Please see Reprints and Official Reproductions.


BOSTON ENGRAVED EKU's:

Scott No. Value Issue Date EKU Notes
#5 5 March, 1853 June 6, 1853 Postmark on off cover stamp; the earliest dated cover is postmarked July 3, 1853.
#6 13 March, 1853 Sep. 10, 1853 Postmarked on cover.
#7 5 January, 1857 Jan. 21, 1857 Postmarked on cover.
#8 5 June, 1857 June 27, 1857 Postmarked on cover.
#9 5 1861 Sep. 9, 1861 Partial postmark with incomplete date on cover; carried to SF on the Comet, leaving Honolulu September 9 and postmarked at SF on September 30, 1861.

BOSTON ENGRAVED COVER CENSUS:

Scott No. Value Covers Time Span Notes
5 5 38 June 6, 1853 to October 27, 1860 The total includes two cover "fronts", but not cover "pieces". The EKU is on an off cover stamp (see table above). The earliest recorded use on cover is dated July 3, 1853. Four covers have received "no opinion" certificates from an expertising service. One controversial cover received an opinion stating it is forged but later received a certificate from the same expertising service stating it is genuine.
6 13 30 March, 1853 to November 7, 1863 Uses after mid-1855 appear to be paying either a 5 rate or a 12 rate as the 13 rate was eliminated at that time. Four covers included in the total received "no opinion" or "negative" certificates from an expertising service, or otherwise require further inspection.
7 5 on 13 19 January 21, 1857 to July 13, 1858 This stamp always appears in combination with U. S. stamps.
8 5 82 June 27, 1857 to April 18, 1863 The census assumes auction lot descriptions are accurate but a No. 9 could be mis-described as a No. 8 after mid-1861. Ten No. 8 covers listed were used after No. 9 was issued. In addition to the covers, one piece is recorded with Scott No. 8 and a US 12 Scott No. 17.
9 5 50 September 9, 1861 to May 23, 1867 See note regarding No. 8, above. The first usage date is uncertain, as explained in the EKU listing. One piece showing collect mail with a single Scott No. 9 is also recorded.

COVER CENSUS DETAIL:

Scott No. Notes
5 For a census and detail description of Scott No. 5 covers, see Early Treaty Period Scott No. 5

17 covers bear only the 5 Scott No. 5, of which three received certificates from an expertising service stating the service had "no opinion" on whether the stamp originated on the cover. Two cover "fronts" are included in the total, one of which received a "no opinion" certificate from an expertising service.

Combination covers of Scott No. 5 with another stamp are recorded as follows:

2 covers with a Hawaii 13 No. 6 and no US stamp;
4 covers with a Hawaii 13 No. 6 and a US 12 No. 17;
1 cover with a controversial double bisect US 12 No. 17 (diagonal halves of two bisected stamps fit together to appear as one); this same combination is also known on an undated cover piece;
1 cover with a US 3 No. 26;
9 covers with a US 12 Scott No. 17 (one of which has a pair of each); also, one cover piece exists with this combination;
1 cover with four of US 3 Scott No. 11;
1 cover with Hawaii 5 No. 5 on a US 10 postal envelope, Scott U18a;
1 cover with a US 12 No. 17 and 10 No. 15;
1 cover with a pair of US 1 No. 7 and a US 10 No. 15
6 For a census and detail description of Scott No. 6 covers, see Early Treaty Period Scott No. 6

6 covers bear only the 13 Scott No. 6.
Combination covers of Scott No. 6 with another stamp are recorded as follows:

1 cover with a 13c Missionary No. 3;
3 covers with a Hawaii 5 No. 5 and no US stamp; one cover received a "no opinion" certificate from an expertising service;
4 covers with a Hawaii 5 No. 5 and a US 12 No. 17;
1 cover with a Hawaii 5 No. 8 and a US 12 No. 36b;
2 covers with two Hawaii 5 No. 8, a 10 No. 35 and a US 12 No. 36b (Dr. Munk believed the 13 stamp on one of these covers was added by a collector );
7 covers with a pair of US 3 No. 11 pasted over the Hawaii Scott No. 6; one cover received a certificate from an expertising service stating the cover originated at San Francisco rather than Honolulu;
3 covers with a US 12 No. 17;
1 cover with a US 12 No. 36b (this cover may be missing a stamp);
1 cover with a US 5 No. 76 (this cover requires inspection);
1 cover with missing US stamps
7 For a census and detail description of Scott No. 7 covers, see Scott No. 7 Covers

0 covers bear only the manuscript 5 on 13 Scott No. 7, all recorded covers being combination covers, as follows:

11 covers with a US 12 No. 17;
1 cover with five of Hawaii Scott No. 7 and a US 12 No. 17, three US 10 No. 15 , a single US 10 No. 15 and one US 10 No. 14;
2 covers with a US 10 No. 14;
2 covers with a pair of US 1 No. 7 and a US 10 No. 15;
1 cover with a US 3 No. 11 and 10 No. 14, type II;
1 cover with a pair of US 1 No. 20 and a US 10 No. 14;
1 cover is missing a US stamp
8 17 covers bear only the 5 No. 8, two of which bear a pair and another of which bears four of Scott No. 8.

Combination covers of Scott No. 8 with another stamp are recorded as follows:

1 cover with a Hawaii 13 No. 6 and a US 12 No. 36b;
2 covers with two Hawaii 5 No. 8, a Hawaii 13 No. 6, a US 10 No. 35 and a US 12 No. 36b (Dr. Munk believed the 13 stamp on one of these covers was added by a collector );
2 covers with two Hawaii No. 8, a US 12 No. 17 and a 10 No. 33;
46 covers with a US 12 No. 17 (one of which also bears a US 3 stamp applied in the US to pay a forwarding fee);
3 covers with a Hawaii 5 No. 8a (position 2) and a US 12 No. 17;
3 covers with a US 12 No. 36;
2 covers with a US 12 No. 69;
1 cover with two US 1 No. 7 and a US 10 No. 15;
1 cover with four US 3 No. 26;
1 cover with two US 1 No. 24 and a 10 No. 35;
1 cover with a US 10 No. 35;
1 cover with a US 12 No. 36 and 10 No. 68
1 cover with missing US stamps
9 For a census of Scott No. 9 covers, see Scott No. 9 Covers

15 covers bear only the 5 No. 9, one of which bears a pair.

Combination covers of Scott No. 9 with another stamp are recorded as follows:

1 cover with a Hawaii 5 No. 9a and a US 12 No. 69;
1 cover with a Hawaii 2 No. 31 and a pair of No. 9;
1 cover with three US 1 No. 24;
2 covers with a US 12 No. 36b;
1 cover with a US 10 No. 68;
4 covers with a US 12 No. 69;
6 covers with a US 3 No. 65 and 2 No. 73;
1 cover with a US 3 No. 65 and a missing US stamp;
2 covers with two US 3 No. 65;
16 covers with a US 5 No. 76, one of which bears a pair of No. 9

BOSTON ENGRAVED BIBLIOGRAPHY

For a complete study of plate position marks, see "Hawaii, The Boston Engraved Issue" by Dr. Robert C. H. Lee at The American Philatelist, Vol. 66, No. 8 [627], p. 601-607, May, 1953 and No. 10 [629], p. 759-764, July, 1953. Dr. Lee illustrates each plate position for both the 5 and 13 values to show plate marks unique to each position. An invaluable reference for anyone attempting to plate this issue.

Bruce Cartwright. Jr., "The '5' Mss. Hawaii," Mekeel's Weekly Stamp News, Vol. XXXV, No. 30 [1594], p. 433-434, July 23, 1921; reprinted at Stamp Collectors' Fortnightly, Vol. XXVII, [691], p. 288-289, Sept. 3, 1921. Cartwright presents a study of the Jackson and Clark mss "5" based on letters in the Archives of Hawaii. On independent review of the letters, it is clear Cartwright confused the two by attributing the Clark "5" to Jackson and the Jackson "5" to Clark. With that clarification, the article is quite useful.



Copyright © 1999 - 2006 POST OFFICE IN PARADISE. All rights reserved.