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::: Honolulu Postmarks 1884 to 1900 :::

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235_12 84Jan13 black

Type 235.12

234_62 30Apr84 red

Type 234.62

The distinction between foreign mail postmarks and domestic mail postmarks disappeared around 1884-1885. For earlier Honolulu Postmarks, see Honolulu Foreign Mail Postmarks to 1886 and Honolulu Domestic Mail Postmarks to 1886. For postmarks used on registered mail, please go to Registered Foreign Letters or to Registered Marks listed under Service Marks.

Use of the same marking device for foreign and domestic mail began when two markers then in use, one for foreign mail and one for domestic mail, started being used for both types of mail. The two marking devices were types 235.12 and 234.62.

The type 235.12 device was being used in red ink on foreign mail. In January, 1884, the post office began using this marker in black ink for domestic mail. In July, 1884, the post office stopped using red ink with type 235.12 and struck it in black ink for both foreign and domestic mail. Type 235.12 is described in more length at Honolulu Foreign Mail Postmarks to 1886.

Type 234.62 was a transitional mark in the reverse direction. From January, 1879 to early 1884, type 234.62 was being used in black ink on domestic mail (excepting use as a backstamp on a limited type of foreign mail, as discussed at Honolulu Foreign Mail Postmarks to 1886). From about February, 1884, type 234.62 also became a regular postmark on both foreign and domestic mail. From February, 1884 to May, 1884, the mark was struck in red ink - thereby creating a postmark rarity because few red ink strikes exist. From May, 1884 onward, this device was struck in black ink for both foreign and domestic mail.

Subsequently introduced postmarks were used for both foreign and domestic mail. In August, 1885, the Honolulu post office received two nearly identical postmark devices. These two devices are lumped together in most studies as type 233.02. When PMG Whitney ordered the new marking devices in 1885, he specified they were to have year dates so they both are year dated. Postmarks used during the Convention Period from 1875 to the end of 1881 were all year dated but devices used in the first four years of the UPU Period (types 235.12 and 234.62) had no year date so the chore of using sailing tables and other information to figure the year a particular cover was sent continues to August, 1886, when the last of the former "no-year date devices" was retired.

The two type 233.02 devices received in August, 1885, were made by the Yale and Towne Manufacturing Co. of Stamford, Connecticut. Two more steel die postmark devices were ordered by Whitney from Klinkner & Co. of San Francisco in June, 1886. The two devices arrived in August, 1886 and produced postmark types 235.22 and 234.02. In 1889, the post office put into use two duplex ellipses devices and put a third ellipses device in use in January, 1899. I have been unable to identify the manufacturer of the ellipses duplex marks. Two of the ellipses devices continued in use for a few days after the Territory of Hawaii was established on June 14, 1900.

Where possible, the exact EKU (earliest known use) and LKU (latest known use) are given. Otherwise, the month in which the EKU and LKU fall are given. Please E-mail ( me if you can extend either date or give precise EKU or LKU dates.


Type 234.62

234_62 30Apr84 red

April 30, 1884

234_62 14Jul84

July 14, 1884

26mm circle; black, red, purple
Estimated: 7; in red ink 1RRR, in purple 1RRR, as a backstamp on foreign mail 1879-1881 1R
Domestic mail use: January, 1879 May 10, 1886
Foreign mail usage:

First period: as a backstamp - February 17, 1879 to July 4, 1881 (see Honolulu Foreign Mail Postmarks to 1886) Second period - February, 1884 - May 20, 1886
Red strikes are noted on foreign mail covers from February, 1884 to May, 1884. Purple strikes are recorded on foreign mail in June and July, 1884. Otherwise all strikes are in black ink.

Type 233.12

233_02 A 1Sep85

September 1, 1885

25mm circle; black
Usage: September 1, 1885 to April 3, 1886
Scarcity: 3
"H" of "HONOLULU" points directly at the "U"; period is closer to the "H" of "H. I." than to the "I" (2.5mm from the "H").

Type 233.02

233_02 B 30Sep85

September 30, 1885

233_02B 12Apr87

April 12, 1887

25mm circle; black
Type B usage: September 26, 1885 to December 19, 1887
Estimated 6
"H" of "HONOLULU" points to the space between "LU"; period is evenly spaced between "H. I." (3mm from the "H").

Type 235. 22

235_22 12Feb87

February 12, 1887

235_22 14Aug87

August 14, 1887

27mm circle; black, purple
Usage: August, 1886 to March, 1889
Estimated 6
Note the letters are tall and narrow and are well clear of the circle rim. Compare the wide mouth of the "U" in the preceding mark with the narrow mouth of this mark. A purple ink strike is noted on October 25, 1886. A strike on a telegraph receipt is noted with the date June 30, 1893.

Type 234.02

Honolulu 234_02 88 - Jan 8 EKU on UX2 detail

January 8, 1888

Honolulu 234_02 88 - May 4 to Newark, ex-Davey

May 4, 1888

234_02 7Apr89

April 7, 1889

26mm circle; black
Usage: January 8, 1888 to January, 1890
Estimated: 6
Note the letters of "HONOLULU" are closer to the circle than in the preceding type; the "H.I." is a little taller in this type; the device wore down as the April 7, 1889 image shows.


Type 231.72

231_72 26apr89

April 26, 1889

231_72 5Feb90

February 5, 1890

231_72 26Apr94

April 26, 1894

231_72 18Sep98

September 18, 1898

23mm circle; numeral "1" in ellipses
black, purple (varying shades)
Usage: March, 1889 to December 31, 1898; purple usage from October 3, 1896 to March 7, 1897
Estimated 10; for purple ink 5
Progressive wear along the left side of the circle soon became evident in marks from this device. The February 5, 1890 strike shown is nearly unaffected but a magnifying glass shows slight breakdown even that early. The breakdown is more evident in the April 26, 1894 strike illustrated and is obvious in the September 18, 1898 image.

Type 231.82

231_82 11Sep90

September 11, 1890

231_82 8Jul93

July 8, 1893

231_82 11Oct93

October 11, 1893

231_82 11Oct96

October 11, 1896

23mm circle; numeral "2" in ellipses
black, purple
Usage: April, 1889 to June 15, 1900; purple usage October 11, 1896 to April 4, 1897 - but with black noted February 14, 1897
Estimated 10; in purple ink 5
The long usage period of this device attests to its strength. However, one noticeable break occurred in the rim of the circle sometime in September, 1893. The July 8, 1893 strike shown has an intact circle at the bottom and the October 11, 1893 strike illustrates the break. Once the break happened, all subsequent marks with this device show the break, as seen in the October 11, 1896 image. The presence of the break makes distinguishing strikes of this postmark from type 231.72 strikes after September, 1893 quite easy even if the ellipses numeral missed the stamp. Strikes before September, 1893 can be distinguished from type 231.72 by the left side rim wear on type 231.72 described above.

Type 232.92

232_92 2Feb00

February 2, 1900

24mm circle, numeral "1" in ellipses with a solid border around the numeral
Usage: January 1, 1899 to June 28, 1900
Estimated: 10
There were no notable changes in this device during its relatively short usage period.


Starting about January, 1897, postmarks used for second class mail were different from those used on first class mail. However, the second class mail postmarks are also seen on some domestic first class mail, but the incidence is scarce. So far as the foreign mail is concerned, I have noted these marks only on second class mail.

All of the second class postmarks are undated. The first is the squared circle postmark produced in Canada and sent to Honolulu as a sample or gift. The proof for the Honolulu device shown in the Canadian set of squared circle postmarks has a date of February 9, 1894, but the use of this device as a postmark started in January, 1897, based on the dates figured for nearly unworn strikes. The other two second class mail devices produced single lined circle marks.

Type 226.52

226.52 20Apr97

Datelined April 20, 1897

25mm x 26mm; squared circle; black, purple
Usage: January, 1897 to June 23, 1900
Estimated: 10

Type 233.528

233.528 5Apr98

April 5, 1898

233.528 31Dec98

December 31, 1898

25mm; black, purple
Usage: January, 1897 to June 9, 1900
Estimated: 10
This device is larger and the letters are taller than strikes of the next type

Type 232.528

232.528 5Apr98

Date unknown

24mm; black
Usage: March, 1899 to July 12, 1899
Estimated: 6


Confusion exists over whether Davey type 282.21 is a postmark or an auxiliary mark. In this site it is listed on the Official Auxiliary Mark page as AUXOFF-PostOffice(U). Examples are found on cover without other postmarks suggesting it was occasionally used as a postmark on official looking mail.

Type 282.21

Post Office 23Jun00

June 23, 1900

33mm; purple
Usage: September, 1899-August 27, 1900
Estimated: 5

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