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::: AUXILIARY MARKS - Hawaii Express Company Marks :::

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Gregory oval cover Adv 2101

Advertiser Sale, lot 2101
(Courtesy Siegel Auction Galleries)

Datelined at Hilo on October 24, 1851, by the captain of the whaling ship Illinois. The letter was handled by Gregory's Express via Honolulu and bears the AUXEXP-GREGORY(oval) marking. The manuscript "Paid/25" in the upper right indicates the fee paid to the express company. Although there is no San Francisco marking, it is thought this cover was sent via San Francisco and the Panama route, as was normal for the time. The Illinois returned to the whaling grounds so the ship indicates the source of the letter, not the vessel carrying it. (Advertiser Sale, lot 2101; Courtesy Siegel Auction Galleries)

Five express companies operated in Hawaii [some argue A. P. Everett was a sixth, but as an expressman he worked for others; he was a forwarder when he applied his own handstamp see Forwarder Agent Marks]. Four expresses were local offices of larger express companies headquartered in the United States. Only Pacific Express Co. (1855-1857) was headquartered in Honolulu. The other four were: Gregory's Express (1850-1853); Adams & Co. (1854-1855); Freeman & Co. (1857-1861); and Wells, Fargo & Co. (1853-1869; 1883-1889; 1894-1895). Of these companies, only Gregory's Express and Wells, Fargo & Co. (first and second periods only) are known to have used handstamps. See, in particular, Burt, Randall, "The Private Expresses of Hawaii," Western Express, October, 1988 to April, 1989 and "Wells Fargo in Hawaii," Western Express, July, 1989 to April, 1990, for histories and anecdotes of the express companies.

Six express marks are listed here. Davey, Rowe and the ASCC counted only two. Shaffer noted three. Number 5 in my list could contain two distinct marks but the omission of the date probably was inadvertent. So the count is either six or seven as you prefer. Marks placed by a sender to indicate an intention to utilize an express service are interesting but to be considered an express mark, the mark must have been placed by the express company agent. Thus, the following manuscript indications are not true express marks:

Per Gregory's Express ms
Per Gregory's Express ms Adv

circa 1851

Gregory's Express

Gregory's Express opened for business in December, 1850 and closed its doors around March, 1853. Local merchants were appointed agents for Gregory's Express. They were, in time sequence: Mitchell & Hutchins (1850-1851), Mitchell & Co. (1851-1852), I. R. Mitchell (1852) and Fred L. Hanks (1852-1853) for Honolulu and Bolles & Co. (1852-1853) for Lahaina.

1.

AUXEXP-GREGORY(oval)
Rarity 1RRRR
Rowe: 10
oval 44mm x 24mm oval
red

Gregory oval

circa October 24, 1851
Advertiser Sale, lot 2101
(Courtesy Siegel Auction Galleries)

Davey 654
Rowe
ASCC
Shaffer 8-7

GREGORY'S/
HONOLULU/
EXPRESS

Usage: 1851-1853
Rowe: 1851-1852
ASCC: 1851-1852
Three strikes of this mark are recorded.


Wells, Fargo & Co.

Wells, Fargo & Co. opened its Honolulu express office by 1854. The first period closed in August, 1869. Local merchants were appointed to act as agents. In time sequence they were: Lewis & Co. (1854), Mitchell & Fales (1854), R. Coady & Co. (1855-1858), F. L. Hanks (1859-1860), A. J. Cartwright (1860), E. P. Adams (1860-1861), A. J. Cartwright (1861-1862), W. K. Snodgrass (1862-1863) and A. J. Cartwright (1863-1869). Wells, Fargo & Co. opened for business again on August 3, 1883. This second period lasted to August 2, 1889. In this period, its agents were: W. G. Ashley (1883), J. E. Wiseman & W. G. Ashley (1883-1884), W. G. Ashley (1884), S. M. Carter (1884) and G. W. McFarlane (1884-1889). Wells, Fargo & Co. marks are referenced to Leutzinger, John F., The Handstamps of Wells, Fargo & Co. (2d edition, 1993) in addition to other references used above.

2.

AUXEXP-WELLS(German script)
Rarity 1RRRR
oval 39mm x 23mm
black

WF EXPRESS German Express

circa 1860
Advertiser Sale, lot 3436
Courtesy Siegel Auction Galleries

Luetzinger 3-1
ASCC
Unlisted by Davey, Rowe or Shaffer

WELLS, FARGO & CO/
Express/
HONOLULU

Usage: July 16, 1860
ASCC: 185_-___
The word "Express" is in old German script.
One cover with this strike has been dated as July 16, 1860. Two strikes are recorded.

3.

AUXEXP-WELLS(paid)
Rarity 1RRRR
oval 41mm x 24mm
red, purple

WF EXPRESS PAID

August 10, 1883
Advertiser Sale, lot 3437
Courtesy Siegel Auction Galleries

Luetzinger 16-33
Shaffer 8-20 Unlisted by Davey, Rowe or ASCC

WELLS, FARGO & C0'S./
EXPRESS/
PAID/

fancy scroll ornament/
HONOLULU, H. I.
The word "PAID" is in plain block letters. This is the only Wells, Fargo Honolulu mark with the word "PAID."
Usage: August 10, 1883
Two strikes are recorded

4.

AUXFORGNEXP-WellsFargo(date only)
straightline
unserifed letters
purple

Exp WF 15Mar84 straight date

March 15, 1884

Luetzinger 7-__ Unlisted by Davey, Rowe, ASCC or Shaffer

STRAIGHTLINE DATE (month in three letters/day/year)
Usage: 1884-1885
Noted on outgoing mail. This mark perhaps was was applied at the Honolulu office of Wells, Fargo rather than in its San Francisco office. If so, it would belong with the Honolulu Wells, Fargo marks. It should be listed with other Supplemental Marks in Part 7 of Leutzinger's categories.

5.

AUXEXP-WELLS(shaded express dated)
Rarity 1RRRR
Rowe: 8
oval 40mm x 24mm
purple, red

WF EXPRESS 21Dec85

December 21, 1885
Advertiser Sale, lot 3441
Courtesy Siegel Auction Galleries

WF EXPRESS blank date red

Advertiser Sale, lot 3442
Courtesy Siegel Auction Galleries

Luetzinger 16-2
Davey 662 Rowe
Shaffer 8-19 Unlisted by ASCC

WELLS, FARGO & CO'S./
EXPRESS/

date/
fancy scroll ornament/
HONOLULU, H. I.
The word "Express" is in shaded serif letters.
Usage: August 10, 1883-____, 1887
Davey: 1886-1887
Rowe: 1886-1887
A variation is noted without a date.

6.

AUXEXP-WELLS(shaded express undated)
Rarity 1RRRR
oval 40mm x 24mm
purple

WF EXPRESS

Luetzinger 10-16
Unlisted by Davey, Rowe, ASCC or Shaffer

WELLS, FARGO & CO'S/
two concave lines
EXPRESS/
two convex lines/
HONOLULU, H. I.
Branch type side ornaments
Usage: 1889
Three strikes are recorded, one of which is on a cover with a date stamp in July, 1889.
Actually Luetzinger fails to record this mark as used at Honolulu but notes its use from various towns in California, Montana and Idaho.

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