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and auxiliary marks, the MH types are out of date and one object of this study is to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.
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
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
- 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
- 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