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::: REVENUE ISSUES - Fiscal Cancels on Scott No. 49 :::

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Use of the $1 Queen Emma stamp (Scott No. 49) for revenue purposes is well recognized. Evidence suggests pairs of the 50 King Lunalilo stamp (Scott No. 48) may have had similar use, but if so, no special cancel has been noted on those stamps. Perhaps they exist, tucked away in some corner of a collection. Fiscal cancels used on the $1 stamp had their origin in the duty imposed on opium in 1886.

Scott 49 small maltese cross
Scott 49 large maltese cross joined
Scott 49 large maltese cross not joined
Scott 49 Cleghorn
Scott 49 JMK

Small Maltese Cross in black

Large Maltese Cross with the arms joined at the center, in purple or black

Large Maltese Cross - the arms do not touch at the center, black or purple

Handstamped script signature of A. S. Cleghorn, in purple

Block initials J.M.K., purple


John M. Kapena and Archibald S. Cleghorn were Collectors General of Customs. Kapena served in that capacity from October 1, 1886 to April 30, 1887 and Cleghorn (husband of Princess Likelike) from May 1, 1887 to April 15, 1893.

In an effort to gain control over opium importation, in 1886 King Kalakaua approved legislation to license those entitled to import opium legally. The same legislation imposed a duty "on each container of opium at the rate of one dollar for each half pound of opium imported..." When the $1 revenue stamps needed to pay stamp duties started running low, a handy supply of surplus $1 postage stamps became the substitute. Legal imports of opium were suspended in 1888. During the brief period when postage stamps were being used to pay the opium duty, the stamps were canceled with one of the five devices illustrated above. Scott Catalogue heavily discounts prices on these cancels, but it should be the other way around. Indeed, collectors search a long time to find the Cleghorn signature or the Kapena initials. Only the large Maltese crosses can be picked up without a too prolonged hunt. Of these, the black cancel with arms joined is scarce.

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