This page last updated: 27 August 2009

::: Town Postmarks Summaries :::

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Town postmarks come and they go. They "come" by way of new discoveries. They "go" by way of delisting.

New discoveries still happen. The latest additions are Hana, Maui, type 282.013 (formerly listed as tentative) used in 1882, Kaupo, Maui, type 255.01, used in 1899, and Honolulu type 236.11 (IV), used in 1864. Readily accessible auction sites such as eBay influence people to clean drawers, closets and attics of old paper accumulations so more discoveries can be expected. Verification of new postmarks is a rigorous exercise.

When confirmed, new postmarks join the list of rarest postmarks. Attempts to count the number of strikes known among the rarest postmarks have yielded the census found at Census of Rare Town Postmarks. The census includes all of the postmarks for which thirty or fewer strikes are believed to exist. (See the full rarity scale at Describing Postal Markings)

Delisting happens for one of two reasons. First is to correct a mis-identification. Another reason is to implement a protocol change in how we catalogue postmarks. The change affected postmark type 235.01, a single lined circular postmark. Many single lined circle marks (type 235.01) were made from a device that began life as a double lined circle (type 253.01). Through wear or because of ink building up and clogging the small space between the lines, the double lines became single. Holualoa type 253.01/235.01 is one of several cases where the strikes migrated to single circles. The following images show the Holualoa postmarking device once created double circles. Later, the circles were single lined the result of ink clogging the space.

Holualoa type 253.01

Holualoa 253_01 15Nov97

November 15, 1897

Double lined outer circle

Holualoa type 253.01

Holualoa 253_01 11Dec99

December 11, 1899

Same device but the space between the outer circles has become clogged.

A generation of postmark collectors attempted to differentiate marks made from the same device. Strikes from the Holualoa postoffice were listed as 253.01 (double circles) or 235.01 (single circles). The resulting proliferation of postmark listings became confusing and marks often could not be categorized easily as one type or another. For example, the Holualoa strike of December 11, 1899, above, has a small portion at the top appearing to have a double outer line. Because type 253.01 was considered rare, a collector's impulse would have been to identify this strike as 253.01. A better practice would classify the two strikes with the same type reference and comment on changing appearances.

A collaboration of collectors lead by Ed Burns in 1988 delisted postmarks with a single outer circle where it was plain they were made after a device had become single-lined only because of ink clogging. Type 235.01 is retained only where examples of double lined marks are unreported. Please click here for a List of Deleted Town Postmarks.

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