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::: Census of Rare Town Postmarks :::

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Keaau 255_01 99 - Aug 4

Keaau 255.01

Kaupo 255_01 99 - Aug 17

Kaupo 2255.01

Kaunakakai 238.02

Kaunakakai 238.02

How Rare Are They, Really?

Davey and Bash (see references at Describing Postal Markings) listed all "rare" handstamped town postmarks as 1 on a scale of 1-10. Burns divided "rare" town postmarks into 1RRRR, 1RRR, 1RR and 1R, with 1RRRR being rarest. Collectors have since favored Burns's division of rare postmarks into four descending groups. Rarity lists must be used with caution to avoid assuming a high degree of accuracy. In March, 1989, Burns himself wrote saying he was confident the count of seven marks for Kaluaaha 238.02 was accurate (two more have been discovered since he wrote). He went on: "I have very little confidence as to the quantitative accuracy of many other rarity designations."

One purpose of this site is to improve the "quantitative accuracy" of the "rare" (category 1RRRR – 1R) and "scarce" (category 2 - 4) postmarks. So far, this effort has succeeded in uncovering new postmarks and improving the count of existing rare postmarks. As expected, some postmarks previously ranked in the rarest (1RRRR) category have moved downward and were replaced with newly discovered postmarks. If you have any of the "rare" or "scarce" postmarks, please attach an image to an e-mail and send it to (scott312@earthlink.net) and complete the questionnaire at Town Postmarks Census Study.

Neither Davey and Bash nor Burns attempted to assess the rarity of manuscript postmarks using the numerical scale. For the benefit of collectors who are interested only in handstamped postmarks, the manuscript marks should be listed separately. The list of manuscript postmarks follows the list of handstamped postmarks below.

HANDSTAMPED POSTMARKS

The following census represents the current confirmed count or estimated number of marks for each of the rare handstamped postmarks. A (-) following a listing means it is believed to fall within the range but the exact count is uncertain. Sixty-seven postmarks are included in the rare category. Six marks are listed in maroon color, indicating the postmark listing is TENTATIVE, pending further confirmation.

  • Twenty-six postmarks are listed as 1RRRR, meaning no more than five marks of each are confirmed. All of the six tentative marks are assigned a 1RRRR rating (and one strike is attributed arbitrarily to each) so only twenty 1RRRR postmarks have been proven to my satisfaction. The latest additions to the 1RRRR group are the newly listed Kaupo 253.01, Honolulu 236.11 (IV), Lihue 253.01 (II) and Waimea (Kauai) 255.9a1. Also, Waipio 282.016, Hauula 272.02 and Pukoo 282.013 have been proven so their tentative labels have been removed. Four postmarks previously rated 1R are moved up to 1RRRR either because the listing is still tentative or because a confirmed count justifies the move. Those marks are: Naalehu 255.01; Kahului 281.02; Waiohinu 214; Hana 282.013; and Mana 255.9a1.
  • Nineteen postmarks are in the 1RRR category, meaning six to ten marks are confirmed.
  • Eight postmarks are rated 1RR, meaning eleven to twenty marks are confirmed or estimated.
  • Fourteen postmarks are rated 1R, meaning twenty to thirty marks are confirmed or estimated.

1RRRR (1-5 strikes)

Island of Hawaii

Keaau 255.9a1 (3 strikes) Laupahoehoe 860 (3 strikes) Naalehu 255.01 (2 strikes) Waiohinu 214 (4 strikes) Waipio 282.016 (2 strikes)

Island of Maui

Hana 282.013 (2 strikes) Huelo 205 (2 strikes) Kahului 281.02 (1 strike) Kaupo 255.01 (1 strike)
Ulupalakua 281.011 (3 strikes) Ulupalakua 254.02 (1 strike) Waihee 237.527 (5 strikes)

Island of Oahu

Hauula 272.02 (2 strikes) Honolulu 212 (3 strikes) Honolulu 236.11 (IV) (1 strike) Kaneohe 282.01 (4 strikes) Waiahole 281.023 (2 strikes)      

Island of Kauai

Lihue 253.01 (II) (2 strikes) Mana 255.9a1 (5 strikes) Waimea 255.9a1 (2 strikes)                        

Island of Molokai

Kamalo 282.046 (1 strike) Kaunakakai 238.02 (3 strikes) Kaunakakai 235.01 (1 strike) Pukoo 282.013 (4 strikes) Pukoo 282.016 (1 strike)

Island of Lanai

Keomuku 253.01 (1 strike)

1RRR (6-10 strikes)

Island of Hawaii

Hilea 282.016 (7 strikes) Hilea 253.01 (7 strikes) Honomu 259.01 (8 strikes)
Napoopoo 282.01 (9 strikes) Paauhau 253.01 (8 strikes) Volcano House 281.01 (9 strikes)

Island of Maui

Haiku 238.02 (8 strikes) Hana 253.02 (6 strikes) Kaupo 281.01 (10 strikes) Lahaina 282.012 (9 strikes)
Makena 281.011 (6 strikes) Peahi 235.02 (7 strikes) Waiakoa 255.01 (7 strikes) Wailuku 215 (8 strikes)

Island of Oahu

Kaneohe 282.011 (7 strikes) Wahiawa 255.01 (6 strikes) Waikane 255.9a1 (10 strikes)            

Island of Kauai

Koloa 253.9a1 (7 strikes)

Island of Molokai

Kaluaaha 238.02 (9 strikes)

Island of Lanai

none

1RR (11-20 strikes)

Island of Hawaii

Hilo 255.01 (14 strikes) Hookena 282.01 (16 strikes) Paauilo 203 (-) Waiohinu 238.02 (15 strikes)      

Island of Maui

Makawao 243.22 (16 strikes)

Island of Oahu

Ewa 281.013 (-) Honolulu 236.11 (III) (20 strikes) Peninsula 255.9a1 (20 strikes)                      

Island of Kauai

none

Islands of Molokai and Lanai

none

1R (20-30 strikes)

Island of Hawaii

Hoopuloa 255.01 (-) Paauilo 202 (27 strikes) Paauilo 259.01 (-) Volcano House 204 (-) Volcano House 213 (-)

Island of Maui

Hamoa 281.01 (II) (-) Hana 281.012 (-) Kahului 282.013 (-) Kahului 281.013 (II) (-) Keanae 255.9a1 (-) Lahaina 303 (-)

Island of Oahu

Honolulu 245.02 (22 strikes) Punaluu 255.9a1 (28 strikes)            

Island of Kauai

Hanalei 238.02 (22 strikes)

Islands of Molokai and Lanai

none

TENTATIVE

Marks listed tentatively are listed with reservation in category 1RRRR, pending further information. Some marks previously listed as tentative have been confirmed.

Kahului, Maui type 281.02: Burns listed it as a new mark in 1988.
Ulupalakua, Maui type 254.02: Burns listed it as a new mark in 1988.
Kamalo, Molokai type 282.046: Burns listed it as a new mark in 1972.
Kaunakakai, Molokai type 235.01: Burns listed it as a new mark in 1988.
Pukoo, Molokai type 282.016: Burns listed it as a new mark in 1980.
Keomuku, Lanai type 253.01: Burns listed it as a new mark in 1988.

DOWNGRADED

The following town postmarks formerly considered "rare" were downgraded to "scarce":

Hilo 211 [downgraded to 2 by Burns, 1989]
Holualoa 253.01 [downgraded to 2 by Burns, 1988]
Kalapana 253.01 [downgraded to 2 by Burns, 1988]
Kawaihae 244.02 [downgraded to 2 by Scott 31]
Olaa Plantation 259.01 [downgraded to 2 by Scott 31]
Pohoiki 281.01 [downgraded to 2 by Burns, 1989]
Puehuehu 282.016 [downgraded to 3 by Scott 31]
Haiku 282.013 [downgraded to 3 by Scott 31]
Honolulu 201 [downgraded to 2 by Scott 31 based on 33 recorded marks]
Hanalei 282.013 [downgraded to 2 by Burns, 1989]
Pukoo 281.9a1 [downgraded to 2 by Burns, 1989]

MANUSCRIPT POSTMARKS

Hilo 801 ms on 31 Kay

Hilo, type 801

Hilo 802 ms Hilo Post Office 27

Hilo, type 802

Kaawa 803

Kaaawa, type 803

By my count, 49 distinct manuscript postmarks have been identified. In the nearly four decades since I began studying Hawaii postmarks the number of manuscript postmarks has grown by about 50%. This growth is due both to discovery of new marks and a desire to distinguish different styles (see the 800 series at Davey/Bash Identification System Illustrated for a description of the different manuscript mark types). All manuscript marks are “rare;” three are in category 1RRR and the rest are 1RRRR. The listing offered here is tentative for a couple of reasons. First, identification of marks sometimes is difficult because poor penmanship results in misidentification or uncertainty. Also, the more recent effort to create separate types for each variation in wording means the number of marks that belong to each type is uncertain. In time, mistakes and uncertainties hopefully will be reduced.

1RRRR (1-5 marks)

Island of Hawaii

Hilea 801 (2 marks) Hilo 802 (2 marks) Hilo 801 (II) (1 mark) Honokaa 801 (1 mark) Honokaa 801a (2 marks) Kalapana/Puna (1 mark)
Kapoho 801 (2 marks) Ka’u 801 (1 mark) Kaupakuea 801 (1 mark) Kawaihae 802 (1 mark) Keaau 801 (1 mark) Keaia 801 (2 marks)
Keaia 802 (1 mark) Keauhou 802 (1 mark) Kohala 802 (2 marks) Kohala 803 (1 mark) Laupahoehoe 802 (1 mark) Laupahoehoe 803 (1 mark)
Mahukona 804 (1 mark) Mountain View 803 (2 marks) Olaa (803) (4 marks) Paauhau 803 (1 mark) Paauilo 803 (1 mark) Punaluu 801 (1 mark)
Waimea 803 (3 marks) Waiohinu 802 (2 marks) Waipio 801 (2 marks)

Island of Maui

Haiku 801 (5 marks) Hamakuapoko 810 (1 mark) Hana 801 (2 marks) Hana 802 (1 mark) Kaupo 801 (2 marks) Keanae 801 (4 marks)
Keanae 802 (2 marks) Kula 805 (1 mark) Lahaina 809 (1 mark) Paia 801 (3 marks) Ulupalakua 801 (1 mark)

Island of Oahu

Kaaawa 803 (5 marks) Waialua 800 (1 mark)                        

Island of Kauai

Eleele 804 (1 mark) Kaiwa o Napali (1 mark) Koloa 800 (1 mark) Mana 807 (2 marks)                      

Islands of Molokai and Lanai

Kaunakakai 803 (2 marks) Lanai City 803 (2 marks) Lanai City 804 (1 mark)                  

1RRR (6-10 marks)

Island of Hawaii

Wiamea 804 (7 marks) Waipio 802 (8 marks)                  

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