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::: PROVISIONAL GOVERNMENT - Printing and Printing States :::

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A single overprint frame of fifty subjects was made up with printer's type. The full layout of the overprint frame can be seen in the proof sheet from the first printing. Two such proof sheets are recorded. The one recorded proof sheet from the fourth printing has since been separated, but it was photographed prior to separation.

Earlier students of this issue believed there were two frames, but Wallace Beardsley's painstaking study of this issue proved there was but one frame. His conclusion is based on two defects, a flawed "1" of "1893" in position 5 and a smaller period in position 18. These defects are found on every sheet of overprinted stamps throughout all four printings.


Flawed "1" of "1893" in position 5:

Proof 1st pntg detail 5 1 600

Small period of position 18, on left, compared to a normal period on right:

Proof 1st pntg detail 18 600
Proof 1st pntg detail 19 600

small period, position 18

normal period


Over 74,000 impressions are believed to have been made with the overprint frame during the course of the four printings. As the printing progressed, other type flaws ocurred. A few of them were repaired, but most became constant from the time they happened.


The "G" of "GOVT." in position 1 is normal at first. The top stroke of the "G" broke later in the first printing as the 50 value was being overprinted. This defect remained constant, although the appearance changed as the broken piece of type shifted.

Proof 1st detail 1 G 600
Scott 72 1 G 600
Scott 65 1 G 600

normal "G"

broken "G" from 50

later appearance of "G"


The period in position 6 is present at first. The period began to wander off place during the first printing while the 12 black was being overprinted and then fell out before the $1 was overprinted but apparently after the 15 was completed. The period was replaced prior to the second printing.

Proof 1st detail period 6 600
Scott 70 wandper 600

normal period, position 6

wandering period
Note the period falls under the right side of the first vertical shaft of the "n" of "Provisional" in the wandering period but normally falls under the left side of the same vertical shaft.

Scott 66 misgper

missing period


The "G" of position 19 is normal. Later in the first printing while the 12 red lilac was being overprinted it developed a nick in the bottom left corner.

Proof 1st pntg detail 19 G 600
Scott 69 pos 19 - 600
Scott 66 19 G 600

normal "G"

nicked "G"

nicked "G"


In the bottom row, the alignment of the words "Provisional" and "Govt." in positions 47-49 is normal. In the following image from the first printing proof sheet, positions 47-49 are the three middle positions of the bottom row. In this image, the word "Provisional" is in its proper place.

Proof 1st bottom block

Compare the foregoing image to the following image from the fourth printing proof sheet. In the third and fourth printings, the word "Provisional" is shifted to the right in positions 47-49.

Proof 4th pntg

Note the position of the "G" in relation to the "o" of "Provisional." The shift is slightly greater in the third printing than in the fourth.


Position 48, the first "i" of "Provisional" is normal in the first printing. The "i" was damaged before the second printing started and was not repaired, so the gouged "i" became a constant flaw, as seen in this proof of the fourth printing.

First Printing with detail

First Printing with detail

State IIb 48
State III 48

Second printing

Third Printing

Fourth printing with detail

Fourth printing with detail

Note the word "Provisional" is in its normal place during the first and second printings. Position 48 gives us proof of the stamps included in the third and fourth printings.


For ease of discussion, students of this issue refer to the different variations of the overprint frame as States:

State Ia, first printing: Includes Scott Nos. 55, 57, 59 (Die 1), 60 (bluish green), 61, 67 and 68

The original state of the frame with the two constant flaws in positions 5 and 18, but none of the progressive flaws.

State Ib: Includes only Scott 69

Scott 69 pos 19 - 600

The first progressive flaw appeared in Scott 69 when a piece fell out of the bottom of the "G" in position 19, creating a nick. This flaw remained constant.

State Ic: Includes Scott Nos. 62 and 70

Scott 68 period and Scott 70 wandper

Note the period is closer to the center of the "n" in the right image, taken from a State Ic sheet of the 15, than in the left image, taken proof sheet.

Another progressive flaw appeared at about the same time during the printing of the 12 black: the wandering period in position 6. This flaw developed into the missing period and was later restored.

State Id: Includes Scott Nos. 66, 71, 72 and 73

Scott 66 misgper

The period of position 6 dropped out, but the "G" of position 1 is still unbroken.

State Ie: Includes Scott Nos. 53, 54, 56, 58, 64, 65 and 72

Scott 72 1 G 600

Note the "G" seems almost occluded, taken from a State Ie block of the 50. In the following image of Scott 65, the break in the top stroke of the "G" is clear.

Scott 65 1 G 600

The top stroke of the "G" in position 1 broke during the printing of the 50 value and remained constant, although shifting of the broken piece created a variety of appearances.

State IIa, second printing: Includes only 75 sheets of Scott No. 53

Scott 53 msg

The period is replaced in position 6, but in position 48, the first "i" of "Provisional" is damaged, the "9" is shoved upward and the "3" is missing. Only 75 sheets of the 1 Princess Kamamalu stamp are said to have been printed before the missing "3" was noted and replaced.

State IIb: Includes Scott Nos. 53 (purple and mauve), 54, 56, 58, 60 (bluish green and yellowish green), 63, 67 and 70

Scott 53 pos48i 1200

The damage to the first "i" of "Provisional" in position 48 created the appearance of a gouge in the vertical shaft. This change became a constant flaw; the "3" was replaced and the "9" was restored to its proper position. A few sheets of the 1 Victoria Kamamalu stamp were included in this state, along with the other stamps of the second printing.

State III, third printing: Includes only Scott No. 66

State III 48

In positions 46-49, the word "Provisional" is shifted to the right

State IV, fourth printing: Includes Scott Nos. 55, 57, 58, 59 (Die 1 and Die 2), 61, 62, 64, 65, 68, 71 (claret and burgundy), 72 and 73

State IV 48

In positions 46-49, the word "Provisional" is still shifted to the right, but the shift is less extreme. As the fourth printing progressed, wear broke down the type in many positions.

Study 2: Quantities

Study 3: Loose Type Flaws

Study 4: Printer's Errors - Inverts and Doubles

Study 5: Forgery Study

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