This page last updated: 18 May 2005

Hono 212 13Nov69

Honolulu postmarks begin with the straightline postmark put into use at the Polynesian Office in November, 1850, after mail was being handled under the Treaty arrangement but before there was a Post Office. When the Honolulu Post Office opened on December 21, 1850, the straightline postmark was used by the post office until June, 1851. The next postmarks were circular date stamps first used at Honolulu in February, 1852 (one source starts the date at December, 1851, but no evidence supporting that date has been uncovered), so a gap of about six months existed in 1851-1852, when Honolulu had no postmark. Thereafter, postmarks were used continuously at the Honolulu Post Office.

Postage rates first were applied to Hawaiian domestic mail starting in August, 1859. Until then, there were no domestic postmarks. After the domestic rate went into effect and until about 1884-1886, the postmarks used on foreign mail were often, but not always, different than those used for domestic mail.

To retain the distinction between foreign mail and domestic mail postmarks during the time frame while they were being used separately at Honolulu, this study breaks Honolulu postmarks into three groups:

Honolulu Post Office and Postmasters

Honolulu Foreign Mail Postmarks to 1886

Honolulu Local and Inter-Island Mail Postmarks to 1886

Honolulu Postmarks, 1884 to 1900

For Registered Marks used at the Honolulu Post Office, please see Registered Letters.

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