This page last updated: 10 July 2000


Type references:

Postal marking descriptions usually are given by a type number used by a standard reference source. Type numbers may be descriptive (i.e., the number indicates size, style, shape or ornaments) or they may be a numerical sequence of some kind, usually chronological.

For Hawaiian markings, the type numbers used most often are those adopted by John K. Bash and William J. Davey and published as The Postal Markings of Hawaii, Part III to Meyer and Harris, starting at page 265. The Davey/Bash types typically are referred to simply as Meyer Harris or MH types. Many marks now known were unrecorded by Davey and Bash. Particularly in the area of cancels, service marks and auxiliary marks, the MH types are out of date and one object of this study is to gather enough information to present a more comprehensive listing and type reference for the cancels, service marks and auxiliary marks. The MH types for postmarks are tools already well incorporated into the lexicon of most Hawaiian postmark collectors and there is no great reason to change them.

Foreign postal markings are more problematic because the field is so vast. This study utilizes the type numbers in the major works describing San Francisco marks. Those works are referenced in the bibliography to the Foreign Postal Markings page. Beyond San Francisco, availability of standard reference types is haphazard so I resort to my own numbering in most cases.

Usage Periods:

Time frames given for a usage period are based upon the best information available to me at this time. Significant expansion of usage periods has occurred over time as new information is found on stamps or covers and future changes are expected. In the case of foreign postal markings, a usage period refers to the full usage period reported rather than to just the period when a mark is recorded on Hawaiian stamps or covers.

Rarity, Scarcity and Estimated Quantity Scale:

Hawaiian collectors are accustomed to a scale giving a value of 1 to the rarest markings and 10 to the commonest markings. For rare markings, the scale is broken into four sub-groups of rarity: 1RRRR for the rarest to 1R for rare marks, but not so rare as 1RRRR, 1RRR or 1RR. Obtaining a census of the rare and scarce marks is one object of this study. In all cases, the present assignment of a rarity or scarcity for any given mark is based on a best estimate.

The following quantities of known or estimated strikes attach to the respective rarity numbers:


  • 1RRRR is five or fewer

  • 1RRR is six to ten

  • 1RR is eleven to twenty

  • 1R is twenty-one to thirty


  • S 2 is thirty-one to seventy-five

  • S 3 is seventy-six to one hundred fifty

  • S 4 is one hundred fifty-one to two hundred fifty

Estimated Quantities

  • EQ 5 is two hundred fifty-one to five hundred

  • EQ 6 is five hundred to one thousand

  • EQ 7 is one thousand to two thousand

  • EQ 8 is two thousand to three thousand

  • EQ 9 is three thousand to five thousand

  • EQ 10 is over five thousand

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