This page last updated: 23 April 2021

::: AUXILIARY MARKS - Hawaii Forwarder Agent Marks :::

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86 - Jun 1 PS9 - UPSS 9 PacNav

The forwarding mark of the Pacific Navigation Company, seen on the above cover, is identified as AUXFWDR-PACNAV. It was applied about 17 June 1886 on this 5¢ blue envelope (PS-9; UPSS9; Scott U-4). The cover was mailed from the mission station at Ponape, Micronesia, and arrived at Honolulu on 17 June by the schooner Gen'l Siegel. It was then carried to San Francisco on the sailing ship Kate Davenport, leaving Honolulu on 19 June 1886. Two strikes of this mark are recorded. During the second half of the 19th century, the Micronesian mission stations depended on Hawaii for most of their supplies, mail and news.

A “forwarder” was a non-postal intermediary who sent a letter onward toward its destination, with or without the sender’s knowledge. The typical forwarder was a ship chandler or merchant located at a principal port – Honolulu or Lahaina. In Hawaii’s pre-postal era before late 1850, forwarders put letters on board a suitable outbound ship whose captain would deposit them with a post office at some foreign port. Creation of post offices at Honolulu and Lahaina gave forwarders an option to take letters entrusted to them to the post office, but some merchants continued to prefer handing letter bags to ship captains rather than use the government mail. Forwarding mail was done gratuitously as a service to customers and clients and some forwarders took advantage of the opportunity to promote their good will by applying a handstamp with their name and the advice that they had forwarded a letter.

The earliest marks were manuscripts by Von Pfister & Co. (1842) and C. Brewer & Co. (1844-1846) on mail transiting Hawaii en route from one place abroad to another place abroad. Rev. S. C. Damon inscribed a forwarder note on a whaling cover sent from Hawaii in 1845, the first use of a forwarder mark on mail originating in Hawaii. Waldo & Co. used the first handstamp forwarder mark in September 1845. Most forwarding agents were located in Honolulu, but some were in Lahaina. If anyone did forwarding agent duty elsewhere in the islands, they are not known from their mark.

The forwarding agent marks recorded from Hawaii are presented below in alphabetical order. Express marks are identified at Honolulu Express Company Marks. The list of forwarder marks comes to 38, but one tentative mark is in the group – an oval mark (#8 in the list) for Bush & Co., so only 37 confirmed marks exist. Included are the 30 forwarder marks used up to 1870 that are described and illustrated in Appendix III-C to Hawaii Foreign Mail to 1870. Two marks shown here (#s 35 and 36 in the list) were not known when Appendix III-C was prepared. Three express marks included in Appendix III-C are omitted here, because they are included in the express marks section of this site. Six forwarder marks included here (#s 11, 18, 19, 23, 24 and 28 in the list) were first used later than the period covered by App. III-C. A merchant mark used in the 1880s by the firm of G. W. McFarlane & Co. was reported by earlier writers to be a forwarder mark, but has since been identified as simply a merchant mark with no forwarding intent, so it is not listed here.

Prior compilations of forwarder marks are:

  • John K. Bash and William J. Davey listed 10 forwarder marks and two express marks in the Meyer and Harris, Hawaii, Its Stamps and Postal History, p. 293;

  • American Stampless Cover Catalogue, 4th edition, 1987, Vol. 2, p. 121-122), lists 11 forwarder marks.

  • Kenneth Rowe (Rowe, The Postal History And Markings of the Forwarding Agents, 1996, p. 122-123); Rowe lists 21 Hawaii forwarder marks but his listing for three of them is unconfirmed and doubtful: two of the firms, Mitchell & Co. and Mitchell & Hutchins, were agents for express companies that had their own marks; the third firm, Miller & Co., is unknown in the 1851 time frame given by Rowe;

  • Jim Shaffer created an unpublished list of 21 marks that is available to this writer.


A forwarding agent mark was something added to a cover by a person, business or non-postal government official who undertook to act on behalf of the sender (with or without the sender’s knowledge) to put a letter into the hands of someone else who would carry it toward its destination. Unlike an expressman who carried letters for a fee, the forwarder did not carry the letter from one point to another. Forwarder marks do not include directional instructions asking that a letter be forwarded. For example, on a folded letter addressed from New England to California, the sender wrote a note that asks "Please forward to B. F. Bolles & Co/Lahaina S. Islands." This notation gives us a glimpse of how mail was handled in the 1850s, but to be a forwarder mark, it must have been placed by the forwarding agent. The instruction, seen below, thus fails the test of a forwarder mark.

Bolles ms


Most forwarding marks are rare. Rowe is the only other compiler who attempts a rarity rating, giving ratings from 1 to 10 with 10 being rarest. However, his rarity analysis confuses value with rarity. Value is a function of both supply and demand. Rarity may generate value but a rarity rating should address only the supply side. The rarity factor used here is based strictly on supply so it often differs markedly from Rowe's analysis. For example, Rowe gives a rarity factor of 4 to the Brewer and Von Pfister manuscripts, the commonest rating he attaches to any Hawaii forwarder mark. However, only three examples are recorded of the Brewer mark and the Von Pfister mark is unique. A review of Rowe's rarity analysis at page 35 of his book reveals that he finds manuscript marks less attractive so he dropped the rarity factor to lower the value. Staying with a strict supply analysis, both of these marks deserve the highest rarity of 1RRRR according to the rarity system set out at Describing Postal Markings. As will be seen, only one example is recorded for many forwarder marks.

Usage Dates

Most early marks up to about 1855 are on folded letters with datelines making the assignment of a year date simple, so long as the writer recorded the correct date (not always true based on events described in the contents) and the researcher has access to the content. Envelopes began to appear from Hawaii starting in 1849. The use of folded letters continued, particularly on inbound letters from Europe, but by the mid-1850s they virtually disappear from mail outbound from Hawaii. With envelopes, the original content most often has been separated or lost, leaving us dependent on other means to fix a year date. Even when a cover bears postmarks the marks omit a year date, as was often the case in the early years. This problem is reduced in the mid-1870s. First, Honolulu introduced year dated postmarks on a general scale. In the late 1870s, San Francisco did the same. Still, there were some periods when neither office used year dated postmarks, and sometimes the year date is illegible.

Dating is complicated for a cover without contents, a dateline on a folded letter or a legible year dated postmark. However, the tools are available today to confine a cover to a specific trip of a specific vessel and thereby prove a year date. The process takes effort and some practice, but it works for all but a few covers. One goes about the task of confining a cover to a brief span of years by starting with an analysis of all postal markings or other transit information found on a cover. Wear to devices, introduction of new markers and changes in rates will confine a cover to certain years when it might have passed. Once the postal markings confine a cover to a short span of years, sailing data will usually confine a letter to a single year.

Until 1849, letters leaving Hawaii usually first entered the mail and received a postmark at a United States port in the East. Up to that point, the covers were all folded letters and normally they have a year date in the content. Beginning in 1849, and throughout the rest of the 19th century, San Francisco was the port through which almost all Hawaii mail passed. The progression and usage dates of San Francisco postmarks and rate marks from the opening of the San Francisco post office in 1849 are shown at San Francisco Postal Markings. It is important to realize that the San Francisco post office normally applied its dated postmark on the day when a letter left its office for the East, but marked letters for delivery in San Francisco on the day received. Thus, a San Francisco date on a Hawaii letter addressed for delivery in the East might have arrived in San Francisco three or even four weeks before the postmark date. As time wore on as time wore on departures from San Francisco grew more frequent and this problem is eliminated when departures for the east were daily, starting in 1861.

Hawaii established its post office at Honolulu in late 1850. Not all forwarder covers were sent through the Honolulu post office even after it opened, but most of them did. For covers that went through the Honolulu post office, its postal marking devices add further clues for confining a cover to a short span of years. The types and usage dates for Honolulu postmarks used will be found at Honolulu Postmarks. Honolulu normally dated its postmarks for the date when a ship was scheduled to leave port, but plan changes or adverse winds sometimes caused a postmark date to precede departure for as much as a week Until 1867, all shipping was strictly private and filling the hold with cargo was more important than being on time with the

When postal or other evidence confines the possible year to a short span, comparing dates used at both Honolulu and San Francisco with the sailing data will almost always confine a cover to a specific year. Marine intelligence reports in United States newspapers can be found on-line. See Chronicling America for United States newspapers, including some Hawaii papers. A Hawaii newspaper not included in the foregoing site, can be accessed at The Friend. For California newspapers, see California Digital Newspaper Collection. Australian newspapers are available at Trove. Appendix III-F of Hawaii Foreign Mail to 1870 collects in a single reference all of the data yielded by the marine intelligence reports.


Bolles & Co.

Benjamin F. Bolles entered business in Lahaina in 1848 and operated a ship chandlery and general merchandise store from 1848-1861. From 1851, he was associated closely with Gorham Gilman. In the early 1850s Bolles and Gilman were agents for Gregory's Express. Bolles moved to Honolulu in 1861.


Rarity 1RRRR
32mm x 24mm truncated box

Bolles & Co 60 - Nov 24 - detail

24 November 1860
(Courtesy of Gary Peters)

Forwarded by/
Lahaina, Maui

Usage: 24 Nov. 1860

One strike of this mark is recorded, on an outbound cover.

C. Brewer & Co.

Formed in 1844 with Honolulu roots back to 1817, C. Brewer & Co. was a powerhouse among mercantile firms in Honolulu and grew to be one of the "Big Five" firms in Hawaii. James Hunnewell, who founded the firm, first set up a ship's store in Honolulu in 1817. He returned to Boston but came back to Honolulu to establish business on a permanent basis in 1826. Henry Pierce joined the firm in 1828 and Hunnewell returned to Massachusetts in 1830. Pierce bought out Hunnewell in 1833 and set up partnership with Thomas D. Hinckley who died in 1834. Capt. Charles Brewer joined the firm in 1836 and Pierce & Brewer was formed. Pierce left the firm in 1844 and Brewer carried on the business under his own name. Hunnewell and Pierce independently maintained close trade relationships with Hawaii from their homes in Massachusetts. Pierce returned as American Minister to Hawaii from 1869-1877.


Rarity 1RRRR

Forwarded by C. Brewer & Co./
Honolulu. 4th of July 1844. [or variant]

Usage: 1844

Three strikes of this manuscript mark are recorded but no two are exactly alike. Dates noted are 4 July 1844, 5 July 1844 and 9 Dec. 1844, all on letters sent from abroad in transit through Hawaii to foreign ports.


C. Brewer & Co - ms Forwarded by - 44 - July 4 - to Howard

4 July 1844

On a letter from New England in transit to California via Valparaiso and Honolulu.


C. Brewer - ms Recd & Forwarded by detail 44 - Jul 5

5 July 1844

On a letter from New England in transit to California via Mazatlán and Honolulu
(Courtesy of Richard Malmgren)


C. Brewer & Co. - ms for'd. by - Advertiser lot 2091

9 December 1844

On a cover sent in transit from Mazatlan to Hong Kong via Honolulu.


Rarity 1RRRR
49mm x 30mm oval
red orange

C. Brewer & Co - oval - 46 - Mar 26

23 March 1846
(Courtesy of Gary Peters)

Forwarded by/

Usage: Mar. 1846 to Apr. 1846

Three strikes of this mark are recorded, all on outbound covers. The ASCC usage period includes information based on the manuscript marks.

Bush & Co.

Bush & Co. was formed by Alfred W. Bush and Charles P. Robinson in 1850 as a commission merchant and ship chandler firm. It was dissolved in October 1851 when Bush died. Bush first joined with James Makee and Jules Anthon while they were commission merchants and ship chandlers in Lahaina.


Rarity 1RRRR
36mm x 18mm truncated box

Bush & Co. Lahaina - 50 - Dec 2 Inward

2 December 1850
(Courtesy Gary Peters)


Usage: 1850

Two strikes of this mark are recorded on inward covers from abroad to Honolulu via Lahaina.


AUXFWDR-BUSH(fwd via Panama)
Rarity 1RRRR
50mm x 20mm truncated box

Bush & Co. Via Panama 50 - Mar 27 - Peters - detail – real

27 March 1850
(Courtesy Gary Peters)


Usage: 1850-1851

Two strikes of this mark are recorded, both on outbound covers. See Ishikawa Hawaii Sale, lot 47 for another strike. The "via Panama" reference meant it was sent to San Francisco where it was put into the United States mail to go to the East via Panama. App-III-C-7 mistakenly illustrates a “doctored” image of the strike shown here. In that image, “Lahaina” is replaced by a straight line.


Rarity 1RRRR
36mm x 18mm oval

Mark Is Unconfirmed

Uncertain description
Usage: 1850

Rowe reported an oval Bush & Co. mark, used in 1850. I cannot confirm its existence. Perhaps Rowe had inaccurate information about AUXFWDR-BUSH(fwd by), which he failed to list.

R. Coady & Co.

Richard Coady, a Honolulu ship chandler and commission merchant, was a Honolulu agent for the Regular Despatch Line ("RDL"). Coady and others started what was called the Regular Packet Line in 1852 to provide more regularity in shipping between Honolulu and San Francisco. This effort failed after a few weeks but was revived in January 1855 as the Regular Despatch Line. Coady and H. T. Fitch were agents on the Honolulu side and G. B. Post was agent on the San Francisco side.


Rarity 1RRRR
35mm circle

R. Coady 56 - Apr 12 to Leonard Per Fanny Major

11 April 1855

R. COADY & Co./
H. I.

Usage: 11 Apr. 1855

One strike of this mark is recorded. The mark appears with a G. B. Post SF forwarder mark and a straightline BARK "FANNY MAJOR" indicating the cover was carried by the RDL. Despite the absence of the word "forwarded" in the Coady & Co. mark, the combination of marks and usage suggests Coady & Co. acted as a forwarding agent for this letter, part of a well-known whaling correspondence.

S. C. Damon

Rev. Samuel Damon arrived in Honolulu in 1842 to become chaplain of the Bethel Church, a post he held for 42 years. In 1843, he began the monthly newspaper/magazine The Friend, that continued in publication into the 20th Century. Damon died at Honolulu in 1885.


Rarity 1RRRR

S. C. Damon ms 45 - May 25 – Malmgren

29 April 1845
(Courtesy Richard Malmgren)

S. C. Damon/

Usage: 29 Apr. 1845

One strike of this manuscript mark is recorded, on an outbound cover.

Dillingham & Co.

B. F. Dillingham was an officer on a ship that stopped in Honolulu in 1864. He went horseback riding, was thrown, broke his leg and was left behind to heal. Rather than return to sea, he went into business. After a few months of working for Henry Dimond as a hardware store clerk, Dillingham bought out Dimond and formed Dillingham & Co. In 1889, Dillingham began acting on his dream of linking Oahu’s north shore to Honolulu by railroad and started the Oahu Railway & Land Co. to build the railroad and acquire land rights to promote the agriculture that would provide business for the railroad.


Rarity 1RRRR
47mm x 29mm oval

Dillingham 83 - Mar 13 to Nova Scotia

13 March 1883

Forwarded By/
Dealers in Hardware./
Honolulu. H. I.

Usage: 13 Mar. 1883

One strike of this mark is recorded.

A. P. Everett

Abijah P. Everett arrived in Honolulu in 1846. He was a commission merchant in Honolulu from 1847 to 1853, when he also acted as a forwarding agent. Everett joined with W. B. Rice to form Rice & Co. in January 1853, but left that firm in January 1854, when Everett was appointed Honolulu agent for Adams & Co. Express. That association lasted until Adams failed in 1855. Everett and others formed Pacific Express Co. In 1857, he became agent for Freeman & Co. and held it until his departure from the islands in 1861.


Rarity 1RRRR
Rowe: 7
38.5mm x 28mm single lined oval

A. P. Everett - 52 - Aug 14

14 August 1852
(Courtesy Gary Peters)

Forwarded by/
A. P. Everett/
Honolulu, H. I.

Usage: 14 Aug. 1852

One strike of this mark is recorded, on an outbound cover to China. Davey mistakenly described the lettering as non-italicized, all capitalized.

H. T. Fitch

H. T. Fitch was another Honolulu agent for the Regular Despatch Line. He arrived in Hawaii in the 1840s from New London, where he ran a grocery story. In Honolulu, he became a commission merchant associated with Richard Coady and G. B. Post of San Francisco. These marks are seen with ship marks for the Schooner Restless (the blue strike) and the Bark Francis Palmer.


Rarity 1RRRR
41mm x 22mm octagon
red or blue

H. T. Fitch mark blue per Restless

28 October 1854

H. T. Fitch fwdr 55 - Dec 20 , to MA Walske

1 December 1855


Usage: 1854-1855

Five strikes are known of this mark, one in blue and four in red; all on outbound covers. One red mark was struck on 29 Nov. 1855 and the other three red marks were struck on 1 Dec. 1855. Davey mistakenly describes lower case letters where the mark has only upper case letters.

G. D. Gilman

Gorham Gilman had a long association with Hawaii. He arrived in 1841, set up in business at Honolulu and was in partnership with Bolles in Lahaina. In 1848, he went to California and returned to Lahaina in 1849 where he was a merchant. In 1862, he returned to Boston and was Hawaii’s consul there through the 1890s.


AUXFWDR-GILMAN(via S. Francisco)
Rarity 1RRRR
50mm x 19mm truncated box; the outer rectangle is the border of the handstamp plate

G. D. Gilman 52 - Oct 4 Scott 2 to Portland Walske

October 4, 185
(Courtesy of Matthew Bennett, Inc.)

by G. D. GILMAN/

Usage: 1852

One strike of this mark is recorded on an outbound cover. Davey incorrectly described all capitalized letters for "via" and failed to note the box is truncated.


Rarity 1RRRR
truncated box 36mm x 18mm

G. D. Gilman & Co. truncated box 55 - Nov 30

29 November 1855
(Courtesy of Gary Peters)


Usage: Nov. 1855

Two strikes of this mark are recorded, both on the backs of shipping invoices.


Rarity 1RRRR
single lined 51.5mm x 29mm oval; cross side ornaments

G. D. Gilman & Co. oval Lahaina 59 - Dec 6 - Golden

6 December 1859


Usage: Nov. – Dec. 1859

Two strikes of this mark are recorded, both on outbound covers. Both strikes are faint. Contrast has been adjusted on this illustration from the Golden Collection.

H. Hackfeld & Co.

Henry Hackfeld was born in Germany and opened shop in Honolulu in 1849. The firm name H. Hackfeld & Co. was adopted in 1853. This firm was supported by Bremen capital and became a substantial sugar agent and shipper. Hackfeld himself returned to Germany in 1863, but the firm continued under his name and developed into one to the largest companies in Hawaii.


Rarity 1RRRR
38mm x 16mm double lined oval
black or blue

H. Hackfeld oval 64 - Sep 21 detail

21 September 1864


Usage: 1863-1887

Twelve strikes of this mark are recorded, dated from 9 Jul. 1864 to 15 Mar. 1887; all are black, except the one 1887 strike is in blue ink. Davey inaccurately described the mark as a single lined oval.

Wm. G. Irwin & Co.

As a clerk in the post office in the 1860s, Wm. G. Irwin was responsible for designing the first perforated Hawaii stamps, the Bank Note Issues. He formed Wm. G. Irwin & Co. in the 1870s and became one of the principals in the Spreckels sugar interests in 1881. In the 1880s he was a prominent sugar planter, banker and sugar agent.


Rarity 1R
58mm x 36mm double lined oval

Wm. G. Irwin 94 - Aug 18 - Peters - back

18 August 1894
(Courtesy of Gary Peters)


Usage: 1881-1894

This mark is found on the backs of covers.


Rarity 1RRRR
58mm x 36mm double lined oval
red or purple

Wm. G. Irwin & Co. Limited red 98 - Dec 31 - back of Paquebot cover

31 December 1898


Usage: 1898-1900

Four strikes are recorded on outbound covers; three strikes are in red ink and one is in purple ink. The word “Limited” is smeary in all four strikes.

Makee Anthon & Co.

James Makee arrived in Lahaina in 1843 and set up business with Eli Jones under the name Jones & Makee. Jones left in 1847 and Makee formed a partnership with Julius Anthon who had joined Jones & Makee in 1846. The name changed quickly to Bush, Makee & Co. when Bush joined the firm in 1847. In 1848, Charles Brewer 2d (a nephew of Charles Brewer) joined the firm and in 1850, Bush left the firm. In 1849, the firm opened in Honolulu under the name Makee Anthon & Co. Makee later became one of the most prominent sugar planters on Maui.


Rarity 1RRRR
41mm x 24mm single lined oval

Makee Anthon & Co. - 50 - Jan 25 to Davis

30 December 1849


Usage: 1849-1850

Five strikes of this mark are recorded, all on outbound covers.

J. B. McClurg & Co.

James B. McClurg operated a merchandise store in Honolulu in 1846. Later that year, he combined with Alexander G. Abell (who was U. S. Consul at Honolulu from 1845 to 1846) and Henry Cheever under the name J. B. McClurg & Co.


Rarity 1RRRR

J_ B_ McClung & Co fwd mark

26 March 1846
(Courtesy Bancroft Library, University of California, Berkeley)

For'd by J. B. McClurg & Co., Honolulu
Usage: Oct. 1846

One example is noted on a cover sent from Boston to California via Honolulu. The cover, a letter written to Thomas O. Larkin of Monterey by John H. Everett, is in the Larkin correspondence at the Bancroft Library.

Melchers & Co.

Gustav C. Melchers and Gustav Reiners, both from Germany, formed Melchers & Co. in 1852. Melchers was doing business in Honolulu by himself at least by 1850. It appears Melchers returned to Germany in the mid-1850s. Reiners returned to Germany in 1861, leaving the business in the hands of F. A. Schaefer, who bought out the other partners in 1867.


Rarity 1RRRR
43mm x 33mm single lined oval

Melchers & Co. wrapper reverse - detail

30 August 1855

Forwarded by/
Melchers & Co./

Usage: 1855-1860

Two strikes of this mark are recorded, one on a newspaper wrapper sent to Bremen and one on domestic mail (c. 1860).

J. M. Oat, Jr. & Co.

Joseph Oat, Jr. arrived in Honolulu as a child of seven in 1855. During the 1870s, he was employed in the post office as a clerk. Later, he ran a stationery and newspaper store. In the days following the revolution of 1893, Oat was appointed Postmaster General to replace the ailing Walter Hill. Under Oat's tenure as PMG, the portrait stamps were overprinted and the issues of 1894 and 1899 were issued. He continued as Honolulu postmaster under the Territory of Hawaii.


Rarity 1RRRR
four lines without a border
pink or purple

J. M. Oat2

March 13, 1883

J. M. OAT, JR. & CO.

Usage: 1883-1884

Two strikes of this mark are recorded as backstamps on covers sent in transit through Hawaii.

Pacific Navigation Company

Pacific Navigation Company incorporated in 1883 and declared bankruptcy in 1887. During its short life, it operated sailing ships between Hawaii and various Pacific islands as well as conducting some inter-island trade. It entered the steamship business in 1886 with two inter-island steamers.


Rarity 1RRRR
25mm double lined circle

PacNav 86 - Jun 1 PS9 - UPSS 9

17 June 1886


Usage: May 1886 - Sep. 1886

Two strikes of this mark are recorded.

Peck & Co.

Sherman Peck was raising silkworms on Kauai with Charles Titcomb in the 1830s before moving to Maui in 1841 after drought and disease killed the silkworms. Peck became a ship chandler at Lahaina and later formed a relationship with C. Brewer & Co.


Rarity 1RRRR
50mm straightline
black and red

44 - Feb 9 Mowee Peck and Co, fwd mark 1200 Peck detail

9 February 1844

Peck & Co 44 - Apr 3

3 April 1844
(Courtesy of Gary Peters)

FORWD/                   Port of
     BY )PECK & CO. (Lahaina

Usage: 9 Feb. 1844 – 3 Apr. 1844

Two strikes of this mark are recorded. The two strikes are on covers from seamen attached to different whale ships leaving Lahaina to hunt in the Arctic. They left their letters with Peck & Co. to send when homeward bound whale ships began to leave for Cape Horn in the Fall. Interestingly, both letters ended up in the same mail bag on board the whale ship Nimrod that sailed from Lahaina on August 12, 1844 and arrived at New Bedford on January 5, 1845.

Porter & Ogden

Frederick J. Porter and Frederick Ogden arrived in Honolulu from San Francisco in July 1850 and set up a general mercantile and commission business they operated until August 1854.


Rarity 1RRRR
33mm x 18mm single lined oval

Porter & Ogden - Advertiser lot 2110

c. 1851-1852
(Courtesy Siegel Auction Galleries)

Forwarded by/
Porter & Ogden

Usage: 1851-1852

Two strikes of this mark are recorded. One strike was made on 11 Sep. 1851, the other could be either 1851 or 1852

Rice & Co.

W. B. Rice and A. P. Everett formed Rice & Co. in January, 1853, as a commission merchant and auction firm. Everett left the firm a year later but the firm continued under Rice.


Rarity 1RRRR

See image below

Forwarded by/
Rice & Co. Honolulu S. I.

Usage: June. 1853

One strike of this manuscript mark is recorded on a folded letter datelined 23 March 1853 sent in transit from Manila to San Francisco via Honolulu.

Rice & Co 53 - Mar 22 from Manila to SF

circa June, 1853

F. A. Schaeffer & Co.

Frederick August Schaefer was born in Bremen, Germany in 1836 and came to Hawaii in 1857, to work for Melchers & Co. in Honolulu. He became a partner in the firm in 1861 and bought out his partners in 1867, continuing the business as F. A. Schaefer & Co. on the same premises. His house in Nuuanu Valley was the former residence of R. C. Wyllie (foreign minister in the 1850s-1860s).


Rarity 1RRRR
51mm x 32mm double lined oval

F. A. Schaeffer 94 - Feb 19

19 February 1894
(Courtesy of Gary Peters)

Forwarded by/

Usage: Mar. 1892 – Feb. 1894

Three strikes are recorded for this mark, all on the reverse of outbound covers.

J. C. Spalding

Little is recorded about J. C. Spalding. An advertisement in 1858 listed him as a commission merchant and importer.


Rarity 1RRRR
36mm x 27mm single lined oval

J. C. Spaulding - 53 - Apr 5 - detail

5 April 1853
(Courtesy of Gary Peters)

Forwarded by/
J. C. Spalding

Usage: 5 Apr. 1853

One strike of this mark is recorded, on an outbound cover.

Thomas Spencer

Capt. Thomas Spencer operated a ship chandlery in Honolulu from 1851 until 1861 when he moved to Hilo. B. F. Bolles moved from Lahaina and occupied the site when Spencer vacated it.


Rarity 1RRRR
36mm x 26mm double lined oval

Thomas Spencer - 52 - Nov 2

2 November 1852

Forwarded by
Thomas Spencer

Usage: 2 Nov. 1852

One strike of this mark is recorded, on an outbound cover.


Rarity 1RRRR
41mm x 27mm octagon

Thomas Spencer - 56 - Mar 5 fwdg backstamp

5 March 1856
(Courtesy Gary Peters)


Usage: 1855-1857

Four strikes of this mark are recorded, all on outbound covers.

Starkey Janion & Co.

The firm Starkey Janion & Co. was formed in 1845 by James Starkey and Robert Janion. They were Englishmen by birth and England was unpopular with Hawaiians (because England occupied Hawaii for five months in 1843) and with Americans (who seethed over England's failure to settle the Oregon border dispute - finally settled in 1846). Starkey was in Honolulu before the British occupation and returned to England soon after. In England, he met Janion and they formed Starkey Janion & Co. in 1845. Janion moved to Honolulu that year to run the business. The Starkey Janion partnership dissolved in 1851 and Janion formed Janion, Green & Co. Janion returned to England in 1856 and found Theo. H. Davies to take his place. Davies arrived in 1857. Eventually, Davies took over and formed the giant Theo. H. Davies & Co.


Rarity 1RRR
40mm x 23mm single lined oval

Starkey Janion & Co. - 49 - Aug 10 to Oswego

10 August 1849

Forwarded by/
Starkey Janion & Co.
Honolulu, Oahu

Usage: 1848-1850

Eight strikes of this mark are recorded. Davey incorrectly describes all capitalized letters, non-italicized. Many describers misread the second name as Tanun.

U. S. Consul

These manuscript marks were applied at Lahaina by United States vice-consul Giles Waldo.

Rarity 1RRRR
red pen or black pen

See images below

Forwarded by ȗ.S. Consul/
Sandwich Islands

Usage: Mar. 1846 - April 1846

Three strikes matching this wording are recorded, but no two are exactly alike. The consul seems always to put a dash above the “ȗ” and to drop the “ȗ” to lower case.


US Consul 46 - Mar 11 to Dunbar & Co

11 March 1846
(Courtesy of Gary Peters)
On an outbound cover datelined at “Lahaina, Mowee.”


US Consul 46 - Apr 15

15 April 1846
In this mark, found on a cover datelined at “Mowee,” the “ȗ” is larger and there is a comma after “Consul.”


US Consul Forwarded 46 - May 1 detail Rumsey

1 May 1846
(Courtesy of Schuyler Rumsey Auction Gallery)

Rarity 1RRRR
red pen

See image below

Ford. by ȗ.S. Consul/Sandwich Islands
Usage: Aug. 1846

One strike matching this wording is recorded. The “ȗ” conforms to the description above.


US Consul Ford 46 - Apr 24 detail – Rumsey

24 April 1846
(Courtesy of Schuyler Rumsey Auction Gallery)

Von Pfister & Co.

John R. Von Pfister was in Hawaii at least by 1841 and moved to Lahaina in 1845, where he operated a mercantile store for ships. He was murdered in a California mining camp in 1848.


Rarity 1RRRR

See image below

Fwd. by Von Phister & Co./
Lahaina, Maui/
S. Islands

Usage: circa Apr. 1842

One example of this manuscript mark is recorded, illustrated below. It is the earliest recorded forwarder mark in Hawaii.

Von Pfister- 600 - OFF 42 - Apr 1

circa April 1842
On a letter datelined 1 April 1842 at Yerba Buena (later, San Francisco) in Alta California, Mexico (later, California) in transit to New England via Lahaina.

Waldo & Co.

Giles Waldo came to Hawaii in 1845 and was made the United States vice-consul at Lahaina. He operated a ship chandlery from 1845 to 1849, when he left for California. The covers bearing this strike indicate he was acting in his private commercial capacity when he applied it.


Rarity 1RRRR
36mm x 18mm truncated box
red or black

Waldo & Co. 47 - Apr 1 fwd

1 April 1847


Usage: 1845-1847

Three strikes of this mark are recorded, one in black struck on 11 May 1846, and two in red ink, 5 Sep. 1846 and 1 Apr. 1847.

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