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::: MISSIONARY STAMPS - Style 236.05 Comparisons :::

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Comparisons Of Genuine Strikes With Grinnell Strikes
Style 236.05: U.S. Postage Paid at bottom

This page will demonstrate the postmark of style 236.05 found on the Grinnells is unlike any genuine strike of that style. Three types of that style have been noted on stamps or covers (See Honolulu Foreign Mail Postmarks to 1886). This page will also show the Grinnell postmarks apparently were made from a metal device rather than from one of the old wooden devices ordered in May, 1851, by Postmaster Henry Whitney. Specifically, the appearance of the strikes on the Grinnells shows the device used to make them was machine tooled where the devices used for the genuine marks were hand cut. Also, one poorly inked Grinnell strike exposes lines characteristic of a metal device. Anyone seeking to establish these postmarks as genuine must explain how, notwithstanding the points shown here, the postmarks on the Grinnells were made from one of the wooden devices in the Honolulu Post Office in the early 1850's.

The Three Genuine Types and the Grinnell


236_05 (I) 25Feb52-300

Feb. 25, 1852

236_05 (I) 31Mar52-300

March 31, 1852

236_05 (I) 11May52-300

May 11, 1852

236_05 (I) 16Aug53 -300

August 16, 1853

236_05 (I) 9Nov54 -300

Nov. 9, 1854


236_05 (II) 3Nov55 300

Nov. 3, 1855

236_05 (II) 5Mar56-300

March 5, 1856


236_05 (III) 26Jul56-300

July 26, 1856

236_05 (III) 27Jun57-300

June 27, 1857

Grinnell No. 43, dated JAN/7

Grinnell No 43 236_05 - 300

From his correspondence ordering the postmarking devices in May, 1851, we know Postmaster Whitney ordered four devices to be made with U. S. Postage Paid at the bottom. We also know only three devices have been recorded on stamps or covers. These facts generate the following questions:

    Was Whitney's order fulfilled completely or did he receive only three devices of this style?
    If four were received, was the fourth device ever used?
    Was the fourth device lost and later used without authorization?
    Did a genuine fourth device produce the postmarks of this style we see on the Grinnells?

I doubt if answers to the first three questions will ever be found.

  • We know how many devices he ordered but we can only assume the answer to the first question is that his order was filled completely. No record by Whitney has come to light to tell us who made the devices or how many he actually received. We can be reasonably sure they were made somewhere in the Eastern part of the United States by one of the standard postmark makers of the day. They probably arrived in February, 1852. The earliest known use was February 20, 1852.

  • For answer to the second question, we can only say we have seen no usage. Many stampless covers and quite a few stamped covers survive from this time frame and only three distinct varieties of style 236.05 can be found among them. Trying to rule out absolutely the chance there are covers or stamps bearing a genuine use of a fourth style of 236.05 is an insurmountable hurdle, but no evidence of it is found in the many examples seen from this period.

  • As to the third question, we can say it is possible, but maybe it is improbable. Possibly the presumed fourth device made what is classed today as a forgery. If so, it would represent an unauthorized use of a genuine device. One could think the assumed fake illustrated below was made by the genuine fourth device. I don't believe the following image is the "lost" fourth device, but once we begin to speculate, nearly anything is possible. At least this forgery is strikingly close to the genuine postmarks.

236_05 FAKE

Presumed fake of style 236.05 "postmarking"
an 1888 reprint of the 5 Kamehameha III (Scott 10r)

So far as the fourth question goes, with confidence, we can say the postmarks on the Grinnells do not represent the missing fourth device. The Grinnell postmarks are just too different. The enlarged images below show many of these differences. Qualified people who have seen the Grinnells also comment on the brightness and "redness" of the color, missing any hint of the orange found in the genuine postmarks.

Attention focused immediately on these postmarks. B. W. H. Poole, a Los Angeles stamp dealer, saw the Grinnells in November, 1919. He took Col. Taylor of Pasadena to see them in the vault of the Los Angeles Trust Company and Col. Taylor brought along his Missionary stamps. Without carefully inspecting the stamps, Col. Taylor noted the bright red color of the postmarks and thought it was wrong. Poole speculated they were so bright because they had been kept away from light. Soon afterward, Poole notified John Klemann about the "virgin find" of Missionaries and Klemann hurried to Los Angeles. He agreed to buy them and by December 13, 1919, he was back in New York allowing his special client, Alfred Caspary, to select all he wanted. Monday morning, December 15, Caspary had Klemann on the phone to return the Grinnells. Among things convincing him they were clever forgeries were the postmarks, in particular style 236.05 where he noted the color, letter fonts and letter shapes were all wrong when compared with others in his collection.

Comparing the black and white images to the genuine postmarks, the general appearance of the Grinnells is uniformly clean, sharp and neat. The letters are too well formed for hand-carved letters in boxwood. The device appears to be machine tooled. Specific differences include:

  • Distance of "U. S. Postage Paid" from the outer circle
    In the Grinnells, the letters of "U. S. Postage Paid" are set closer to the outer circle than any of the known genuine types.
  • Font Size of "Postage Paid"
    In the Grinnells, the font size is remarkably smaller than the three genuine types. The letters in the Grinnells seem machine tooled, more evenly shaped and cleaner.

Grinnell 43




Grinnell No 43 236_05 600 SPostagePaid
236_05 (I) 11May52-300 SPostagePaid
236_05 (II) 5Mar56-300 SPostage Paid
236_05 (III) 27Jun57 SPostagePaid- 300

  • Details of the words Postage Paid also show there are no similarities of shape.

Grinnell 43 or 45




1st "P": none of the genuine types is close

Grinnell No 43 236_05 - 600 P
236_05 (I) 11May52-600 1st P
236_05 (II) 5Mar56-1200 P
236_05 (III) 27Jun57 1200 1st P

"o": all genuine types are a larger font and oval in shape

Grinnell No 43 236_05 - 600 little O
236_05 (I) 11May52-600 o
236_05 (II) 5Mar56-1200 o
236_05 (III) 27Jun57 1200 o

"s": all genuine types are a larger font and open inner spaces

Grinnell No 43 236_05 - 600 small S
236_05 (I) 11May52-600 s
236_05 (II) 5Mar56-1200 small s
236_05 (III) 27Jun57 1200 s

"t": no genuine type is close to the Grinnell

Grinnell No 43 236_05 - t - 600
236_05 (I) 11May52-600 t
236_05 (II) 5Mar56-1200 t
236_05 (III) 27Jun57 1200 t

1st "a": the left side of the Grinnell is too rounded

Grinnell No 43 236_05 - a - 600
236_05 (I) 11May52-600 a
236_05 (II) 5Mar56-1200 1st a
236_05 (III) 27Jun57 1200 1st a

"g": the Grinnell has too tight a curve on the bottom tail

Grinnell No 43 236_05 - g 600
236_05 (I) 11May52-600 g
236_05 (II) 5Mar56-1200 g-1
236_05 (III) 27Jun57 1200 g

"e": type III, the closest shape, is still quite different

Grinnell No 43 236_05 - e - 600
236_05 (I) 11May52-600 e
236_05 (II) 5Mar56-1200 e
236_05 (III) 27Jun57 1200 e

2nd "P": on the Grinnell the rounded top joins the leg nearer the base

Grinnell No 43 236_05 - 600 2nd P
236_05 (I) 11May52-600 2nd P
236_05 (II) 5Mar56-1200 2nd P
236_05 (III) 27Jun57 1200 2nd P

2nd "a": the inner space of the Grinnell is rounder

Grinnell No 43 236_05 - 600 2nd a
236_05 (I) 11May52-600 2nd a
236_05 (II) 5Mar56-1200 2nd a
236_05 (III) 27Jun57 1200 2nd a

"i": the dot above the "i" is much higher than in styles II and III; style I has no dot

Grinnell No 43 236_05 - 600 i
236_05 (I) 28Oct54 1200 i
236_05 (II) 5Mar56-1200 i
236_05 (III) 27Jun57 1200 i

"d": the inner space of the "d" is rounder in the Grinnell

Grinnell No 43 236_05 - 600 d
236_05 (I) 28Oct54 1200 d
236_05 (II) 5Mar56-1200 d
236_05 (III) 27Jun57 1200 d

  • Shape of "U. S." letters
    The letters are shaped differently in the Grinnells. Look particularly at the "S" with the balls at the ends - completely different from the fish hook ends in the real postmarks.

Grinnell 43




Grinnell No 43 236_05 7Jan 600 US Po
Grinnell No 43 236_05 - 600 large
236_05 (I) 25Feb52-1200 US Po
236_05 (I) 11May52-600 big S
236_05 (II) 5Mar56-600 US Po
236_05 (II) 5Mar56-1200 large S
236_05 (III) 27Jun57 USPos- 600
236_05 (III) 26Jul56-1200 large S

  • Letters in "HONOLULU"
    In particular, the first "O" is clearly seen to be wider and rounder in the Grinnell.

Grinnell 43 (top) and 41 (bottom)

Grinnell No 43 236_05 - 300 HONOLULU

Grinnell No 41 236_05 150 HONOLULU-2




236_05 (I) 25Feb52-600 Honolulu
236_05 (II) 3Nov55 600 HONOLULU
236_05 (III) 26Jul56-600 Honolulu

  • Details of the letters in "HONOLULU" show the Grinnell device produced sharper and cleaner letters.

Grinnell 41, 43 or 45




"H": none of the genuine styles have angled legs; none look so clean and sharp

Grinnell No 43 236_05 - 300 H
236_05 (I) 11May52-1200 H
236_05 (II) 3Nov55 1200 H
236_05 (III) 26Jul56 1200 H

First "O": none of the three genuine styles has the same inner oval of the Grinnell

Grinnell No 41 236_05 150 1st O
236_05 (I) 11May52-600 1st O
236_05 (II) 3Nov55 1200 1st O
236_05 (III) 26Jul56 1200 1st O

"N": type III of the genuine is close, but the angles are tighter than the Grinnell

Grinnell No 41 236_05 300 N
236_05 (I) 25Feb52 N
236_05 (II) 3Nov55 1200 N
236_05 (III) 26Jul56 1200 N

Second "O": style I of the genuine is close but lacks the full top of the Grinnell

Grinnell No 41 236_05 300 2nd O-1
236_05 (I) 25Feb52 600 2nd O
236_05 (II) 3Nov55 1200 2nd O
236_05 (III) 26Jul56 1200 2nd O

First "L": none of the genuine types have the same angled toe

Grinnell No 41 236_05 300 1st L
236_05 (I) 25Feb52 L
236_05 (II) 3Nov55 1200 1st L
236_05 (III) 26Jul56 1200 1st L

First "U": much narrower inner space in the Grinnell

Grinnell No 41 236_05 300 1st U
236_05 (I) 11May52-600 1st U-1
236_05 (II) 3Nov55 1200 1st U
236_05 (III) 26Jul56 1200 1st U

Last "L": none of the styles are shaped like the Grinnell and none have the thick cap

Grinnell No 41 236_05 300 2nd L
236_05 (I) 11May52-600 2nd L
236_05 (II) 3Nov55 1200 2nd L
236_05 (III) 26Jul56 1200 2nd L

Last "U": styles I and II have thick left stems as in the Grinnell but have much thinner right stems.

Grinnell No 41 236_05 300 2nd U
236_05 (I) 25Feb52 2nd U
236_05 (II) 3Nov55 1200 2nd U
236_05 (III) 26Jul56 1200 2nd U

  • Letters in the Date

Grinnell No 45 236_05 - 600 AR
236_05 (I) 31Mar52-1200 MAR

236_05 (I) 31Mar52-1200 R

Grinnell No. 45 reveals a double lined outer circle on the device used for marking the Grinnells. Note the double outer line and the outlining on the letters. Boxwood devices show none of these signs. Some genuine postmarks are also poorly inked. Examples of poorly inked letters are shown below alongside the images of Grinnell No. 45. The day and month type used in these devices were metal. An example of a poorly inked JUNE from a genuine 236.05 (III) strike shows characteristics similar to this poorly inked Grinnell strike. It would seem the Grinnell marks were applied with a metal device.

Grinnell No 45 236_05 - 300
Grinnell No 45 236_05 - 600 Paid
236_05 (II) 5Mar56-1200 d_star
236_05 (I) 11May52-600 date
236_05 (I) 31Mar52-600 Honolulu
236_05 (II) 5Mar56-1200 Rstar
236_05 (III) 26Jul56-600 US Postage Paid
236_05 (III) 27Jun57 JUNE 1200

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