This page last updated: 5 February 2005

::: Inbound Letters and Micronesia Mail :::

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Typical inbound covers bear the equivalent postage of 5 paid with stamps of the originating country. These covers thus offer a variety of foreign postage stamp usages.

Inbound Letters Originating In The United States

SF 3Nov84 cover
This inbound letter was postmarked November 3, 1884 at San Francisco and received no additional marks in Hawaii but was delivered, according to manuscript notations, at Kapaa, Kauai, headquarters for the Kealia Plantation. Exactly when Honolulu began to mark letters with its postmark to indicate receipt or transit information is unclear but it must have been in late 1884 or early 1885 as I have an example of a Honolulu receiving postmark in March, 1885.

Inb US Hono 2Jun88
This letter originated at Oakland, California and was sent to Hilo, Hawaii via San Francisco (May 21) and Honolulu (May 30, 1888 backstamp), arriving for a Hilo postmark dated May 31, Hilo type 281.01. It was addressed to J. R. Hardy % Capt. Matson of the brig Lurline, but Hardy had returned to San Francisco so the letter retraced its steps via Honolulu (June 2) to San Francisco (June 9).

Inb Hono 16Mar94
Postmarked March 5, 1894 at Los Angeles, California and sent to Kohala, Hawaii via San Francisco (March 7) and Honolulu (March 16), this letter arrived at Kohala and was postmarked March 17 with Kohala type 282.011.

Inb Hono 13Nov94
Another letter to Rev. Bond at Kohala, this one originated at Worcester, Massachusetts, postmarked October 23, 1894, and was sent to Hawaii via San Francisco (no postmark) and Honolulu (November 13). Kohala stamped it November 17, 1894 with type 282.011.

Hono 19Jan97 senate
Hono 19Jan97 59 senate
Two covers sent the same date (a third cover is shown in Taxed Letters and Cards) from United States Senators. All three covers were mailed at Washington, D.C. on December 28, 1896, franked with the overprinted Hawaiian 5 Scott No. 59 stamp, postmarked in transit at San Francisco on January 2, 1897 and on receipt at Honolulu on January 14. One was also franked with a United States 2 stamp. Although underpaid or unpaid, only one of the three was taxed. For some background on these covers, see Burt, Randall E., "How Some Congressmen Voted on the Bill to Annex Hawaii", Postal History Journal, No. 99, p. 50-52, Oct., 1994. Randy explores the annexation connection but does not explain the philatelic issues.

Inb Hono 12Oct99 Papaaloa
Originating at Oakland, California and postmarked there on October 3, 1899, this cover was sent via San Francisco (October 3) and Honolulu (October 12) to Papaaloa, Hawaii and marked there on October 19 with the scarce Papaaloa type 253.01.

Second Class Mail From The United States

Inb US1c Hono 31Jan96
An inbound circular sent at the 1 per 2oz. rate applicable between Hawaii and the United States. This cover was postmarked on January 31, 1896 with the Honolulu type 274.01 normally reserved for registered mail.

A newspaper wrapper with the merchant mark of Williams, Dimond & Sons of San Francisco on the back, dated December 24, 1891. The newspaper rate between Hawaii and the United States was 1.

Other Countries

Inb Mexico
From Nuevo Leon, Mexico. to Kalae, Molokai via San Francisco and Honolulu in 1889 and franked with 10 centavos postage. The Honolulu backstamp is dated December 11, 1889. The right 5 centavo stamp has a serious lithograph skip at the bottom of the stamp design.

Inb Netherlands
From Scheveningen, the Netherlands, to Kalae, Molokai in 1890 and franked with 25 Dutch cents postage. The Honolulu backstamp is dated April 15, 1890.

Inb WAustralia Hono 23Jun99
From Kalgoorlie, Western Australia, to Honolulu in 1899, franked with 2 Western Australian pennies. The Honolulu postmark is dated June 23, 1899. Other transit marks on the back are from Western Australia but the cover must have traveled to Sydney to be carried by the contract steamer to Honolulu.

Hono 6Apr92 NZrplycd

An intact message and reply postal card from Wellington, New Zealand (March 8, 1892) to Kalae, Molokai via Auckland (March 12) and Honolulu (April 6). The message reveals a possible reason for all this correspondence to Miss Meyer. She was a stamp collector and everyone wanted to trade for Hawaiian stamps! This message asked her to buy some unused Hawaiian stamps and send them to the writer. The writer asked her to return the card intact but none of the markings prove it was returned. It is franked with 1p in postage.


Honolulu remained the major supply and communications link between mission stations in Micronesia and the rest of the world. The missionary boat Morning Star made annual visits to Micronesia and other vessels operated on an irregular basis in between the regular visits of the Morning Star.

Hono 6Apr87 39 Kusaie
The contents of this letter are dated October 24, 1886 at Kusaie and it is postmarked April 6, 1887 at Honolulu with postmark type 233.02 B.

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