This page last updated: 26 December 2017

UX8 96 - Jan 8 to Java with Soerabaja and Batavia receipt cds

A 2 postal card postmarked at Honolulu on January 6, 1896 and sent to Java. It also bears a transit postmark at San Francisco dated January 18, another transit mark at Batavia dated February 27, and a receipt postmark at Soerabaja dated February 29. On the reverse is an oval handstamped merchant mark for the Hawaiian News Agency, Honolulu dated January 4, 1896. Routing of this postal card from Honolulu to Java is uncertain, but given the lengthy transit time, it likely traveled east from San Francisco by rail to New York City and thence to England by Transatlantic steamship and then overland across Europe to connect at the Mediterranean with the P&O steamships via Suez.

Well before Hawaii joined the Universal Postal Union, member countries were authorized to exchange postal cards mailed from one to the other. Once Hawaii joined the UPU on January 1, 1882 it was quick to adopt the concept of postal cards. Three values were ordered from the American Bank Note Company in New York City: a 1 to pay the local and inter-island postal card rate; a 2 for postal cards addressed to the United States, Canada, Mexico, Japan, Singapore, the UPU ports of China and the Philippines; and a 3 card for other UPU countries in Europe and elsewhere. The cards were printed from engraved steel dies. The Pacific Commercial Advertiser, Honolulu's leading newspaper, announced their availability on March 25, 1882. These cards are designated in the Scott Catalogue as UX1, UX2 and UX3.


indicia UX1 UX2 UX3 - 600 color on

For many years some collectors questioned the legitimacy of the 3 value, because the UPU international rate for postal cards sent to any other country in the UPU was fixed at 2. Whether Hawaii had authority to fix a 3 rate on postal cards mailed to Europe is unclear, but it did so. Justification seems to have rested in the currency equivalency established for Hawaii on its admission. In the UPU meeting of 1885, Hawaii's currency equivalency was undifferentiated from the other members. About this time, Hawaii adopted a universal 2 rate for postal cards to all UPU member countries. The 3 rate was announced in 1882, but if there was an announcement of the reduction to 2 it has escaped discovery. The earliest documented use of a 2 postal card to Europe is June 1, 1885. Please E-mail ( me with information on any 2 postal card addressed to a European destination prior to June 1, 1885.


Double cards for message and reply were introduced in 1883. These cards were lithographed by the American Bank Note Company and printed only in values of 1 and 2. A roulette separation was half-cut (in other words, it penetrated the paper about half-way) between the two envelopes (12 roulette half-cuts per 2mm) to make folding easier. UPU regulations required users to fold the cards before sending them, with the open end fastened. One card was designed for the sender's message. The other card bore the inscription "REPLY" and was intended for a reply message from the original addressee. A few still intact "round trip" message and reply cards exist and unfolded mint message and reply cards can be found. More often, the message cards or reply cards are found separated from their mate and intact unused examples are found folded. The message and reply cards are designated in Scott Catalogue as UY1 and UY2.

UY2 - unfolded



UY1 reply detail
UY2 reply detail

Detail of Reply inscription

Detail of Reply inscription


Lithographed re-issues of the message and reply cards were issued with new colors in 1889. Rather than a half-cut roulette between the two cards, the re-issues were made with a continuous half-cut fold line. The re-issues are designated Scott UY3 and 4.

Colors of UY1, UY2, UY3 and UY4 compared:

UY1 UY2 UY3 UY4 compared

Fold lines of UY1 (rouletted) and UY3 (fold cut) compared:

UY1 roulette
UY3 half-cut



Also in 1889, a lithographed re-issue was printed of the 1 regular postal card (Scott UX4). The same color was used but experienced collectors can see the 1 value is printed on a pinkish color paper instead of the pale buff color paper used for the 1882 engraved issue. Also the ink used for the re-issue is more vermilion than the earlier deep orange.

Color comparison of UX1 (left) and UX4 (right)

indicia UX1 UX4


Supplies of the 2 black postal card were nearing exhaustion and a re-order was placed. The postal cards received were lithographed rather than engraved (Scott UX2a). For many years the 2 lithographed card went unrecognized and collectors believed all 2 postal cards from the monarchy were engraved. The 2 lithographed card can be identified from its smooth feel, compared to the engraved card of 1882.


Overprinting of the three regular postal cards was done by the Press Publishing Company of Honolulu sometime around August, 1893. Black ink was used to overprint the 1 value and red ink was used for the 2 and 3 values (Scott UX5, UX6 and UX7). By this time, there was no recognized need for the 3 value except on a few Pacific island destination countries still outside the UPU. All 1 and 2 overprinted cards are from the lithographed printing.

indicia UX5 UX6 UX7

Double overprints are known on the 1 and 3 values but they are rare:

UX5- dble detail 1200-a-3

In this detail view of a UX5, two overprints can be seen, one slightly off set above and to the right of the other so the two overprints mostly overlap. The result is a particularly dark overprint. In the image, the second overprint is lighter where it is not overlapping the other overprint. The arrows pointing to the tops of the letters show places where the two overprints do not overlap.


Postal cards of new designs were lithographed for the Republic of Hawaii in 1894 with values of 1 and 2 (Scott UX8 and 9). The frame lines measured 131 x 72.5 mm.

indicia UX8 UX9


The same two cards were printed again in 1897 (Scott UX8a and UX9a), but the frame size was slightly larger (132.5 x 74 mm) and the new printing was in a slightly different shade.

UX8 UX8a length compared

The length differential between UX8 (top) and UX8a (bottom); also note the pinker color of UX8a.

UX9 UX9a length compared

The length differential between UX9 (top) and UX9a (bottom).

The 1897 re-issues were also slightly taller than the 1894 postal cards:

UX8 UX8a height compared
UX9 UX9a height compared

Minute marks on the UX8 and UX9a are also used to distinguish the 1893 cards from the 1897 re-issues.

UX8a E of PEPA
UX9 left scroll
UX9a left scroll

UX8 with mark beneath "E" of "PEPA" in the Pepa Poo Leta banner

UX8a shows no mark beneath the "E"

UX9 shows no scratch mark in the left scroll at the end of the Universal Postal Union banner

UX9a shows a dark diagonal scratch above the fold of the scroll at the left end of the Universal Postal Union banner


Scott No. Value/Color Issue Date EDU Notes
UX1 1 deep orange c. Mar. 20, 1882 Mar. 20, 1882 Hono. cds to Wailuku
UX2 2 black c. Mar. 20, 1882 April 12, 1882 Hono. to Indiana, USA
UX3 3 green c. Mar. 20, 1882 Apr. 7, 1882 Hono cds to Madeira
UY1m 1 violet, message Dec. 3, 1883 Dec. 15, 1883 Hono. to England
UY1r 1 violet, reply Dec. 3, 1883 Mar. 21, 1887 Hono. to Waialua
UY2m 2 dark blue, message Dec. 3, 1883 Dec. 16, 1883 Hono. to England
UY2r 2 dark blue, reply Dec. 3, 1883 Sep. 6, 1886 local
UX4 1 vermilion May 8, 1889 May 14, 1889  
UY3m 1 dull purple, message May 8, 1889 Oct. 11, 1890  
UY3r 1 dull purple, reply May 8, 1889 Oct. 17, 1890  
UX4m 2 light blue, message Oct. 24, 1889 Dec. 20, 1889 Hono. to NY
UY4r 2 light blue, reply Oct. 24, 1889 Nov. 7, 1891 Hono. to NY
UX2a 2 black Feb. 17, 1892 Feb. 22, 1892  
UX5 1 vermilion PG Aug. 28, 1893 Aug. 28, 1893 local
UX5a 1 vermilion PG, double o/pnt Aug. 28, 1893 Dec. 12, 1893 local
UX6 2 black PG Aug. 28, 1893 Sep. 6, 1893 Wailuku cto
UX7 3 green PG Aug. 28, 1893 Sep. 6, 1893 Wailuku cto
UX8 1 vermilion, 131 x 72.5 mm Apr. 24, 1894 Apr. 26, 1894 Hono. local usage.
UX9 2 green, 131 x 72.5 mm Apr. 24, 1894 Apr. 26, 1894 Hono. cto
UX8a 1 vermilion, 132.5 x 74 Apr. 28, 1897 May 6, 1897 local
UX9a 2 green, 132.5 x 74 Apr. 28, 1897 July 17, 1897 Hono. to NY


  • Krieger, George T., editor, The Postal Stationery of the Possessions and Administrative Areas of the United States, 3rd Edition, United Postal Stationery Society, 2009; up-to-date with complete listings and values; a key reference work and more accurate than the Schwalm edition (see below) listing of postal cards, envelopes, essays, proofs, and archival material, but not a replacement for the background material in the Schwalm edition. The Hawaii section of the Krieger edition was assisted by several current collectors and exhibitors of Hawaii postal stationery.

  • Schwalm, Albert J., editor, The Postal Stationery of Hawaii, Hawaii Postal Stationery Study Group, United Postal Stationery Society, Redlands, Ca., 1982 (errata [page laid in); correction noted by editor at Mitchell's Hawaiian Philatelist, Vol.5, No.1, p.2, 1983. Key reference treatise, but see corrections listed below.

  • Schwalm, Albert J., "Additions To The Postal Stationery Of Hawaii", Postal Stationery, Vol.26, No.4, [221], p.90-106, July-August, 1984. Corrects the 1982 UPSS edition based upon new evidence obtained from PMG orders; essential for anyone using the UPSS catalogue.

  • Schwalm, Albert J., "Corrections To The Postal Stationery Of Hawaii", Postal Stationery, Vol.28, No.2, [237], p.37-39, March-April, 1986. Additional corrections to the UPSS 1982 edition; essential for anyone using that catalogue.

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