Ever wonder what auction catalogues mean when they list a lot and state it is
"ex-Seybold" or "ex-Crocker" or "ex-Wilcox”? Are you curious about names stamped
on the backs of envelopes or stamps? We who collect Hawaiian stamps and postal
history today have a rich ancestry and these names are some of our forbearers.
Believe it or not, when the stamp
collecting craze rose to a fevered pitch in the closing years of the 19th Century,
publications such as Mekeel's did surveys to identify the most popular countries to
collect. Hawaii consistently topped the charts. When an aged Henry Whitney
visited Boston in 1901, he attracted wide publicity as the father of the
Missionary Stamps and everyone knew what it meant.
Henry Crocker, a renowned San
Francisco stamp collector at the turn of the century in 1901, was persuaded to
exhibit his world famous Hawaiian stamp collection at the London Exhibition in
1906. In the North Atlantic, the ship carrying Crocker and his exhibit received a
telegram telling Crocker San Francisco was destroyed by earthquake. In the end,
Crocker's equally famous Japan collection, his house and all his possessions were
destroyed that day by fire - except of course his Hawaii collection, which went on
to win honors all across Europe and eventually formed the core of Frank Atherton's
collection and, in turn, of the Advertiser Collection.
John Seybold, the pioneer cover
collector, made people think about leaving stamps on cover so their postal
markings and original uses could be seen. He stamped his name on the backs of
covers he owned.
Hawaii's popularity among collectors
attracted the world's most dedicated philatelists of the age. The contents pages
of The World's Greatest Stamp Collectors by Dr. Stanley M.
Bierman, M. D., Linn's Stamp News, Sidney, Ohio, 1990 (2 volumes),
identifies many famous collectors of the past. The names of Ferrary, Tapling,
George V, Duveen, Worthington, Wm. Crocker, Col. Green, Luff, Hind, Caspary,
Ackerman, Lilly, Burrus, Seybold, Gibson and Judge Emerson jump from Bierman's
tables of contents as recognized Hawaii collectors. One can easily add another
baker's dozen names of now departed collectors without scratching the surface:
Adm. Harris, Henry Crocker, Wally Beardsley, Charlie Pietsch, Luff, Frank Atherton,
Al Ostheimer, Wilcox, T. G. Thrum, West, Walter Giffard, Knapp, Brown and Ferrars
Tows either included significant Hawaii in their collections or focused almost
exclusively on Hawaii.
Despite having been a "dead country"
(a sort of collector term for a country no longer issuing stamps) for more than a
century, Hawaii remains a popular country to collect. When several large
collections went on sale in the 1990's there was wide spread attention. These
sales of the Advertiser, Pietsch, Aall and Plass collections showed Hawaii still
What is a philatelist and, more
specifically, a Hawaiian Philatelist? To my thinking, a philatelist includes
collectors, but also includes dealers in stamps and postal history, who may never
collect them, and students of stamps and postal history who may own no significant
collection. An example of the latter group were the Williams Brothers of London
who studied the Missionary issue and wrote extensively about them, but never owned
one. Col. Hogan dealt in Hawaiian stamps and postal history for decades and
produced numerous articles and one book about them, but never collected them. The
term "Hawaiian Philatelist" includes them. However, for purposes of this page, a
resident of Hawaii- even one who boasts ancestral roots in the native population
of Hawaii - who collects Palau, Tibet and Lichtenstein but not Hawaii, is not a
Hawaii Philatelist (yes, I am a snob). A Hawaiian Philatelist can reside anywhere,
but is someone who has given significant attention to Hawaiian stamps or postal
history either as a collector, dealer or student.
The aim of this page will be to
identify Hawaiian Philatelists past and present and give some attention to their
contribution to the hobby. Work on this page will continue once the main pages on
stamps and postal history are ready to rest for a time.