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::: UPU PERIOD - Post Cards :::

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Wailuku Aloha Nui

Address and message sides of a post card postmarked February 23, 1899, sent by a sailor aboard USS Oregon en route from Callao to Manila. The scene is the town of Wailuku on Maui.

Local stationery stores in Hawaii began selling Post Cards in 1897. A card mailed from Honolulu to Germany franked with Scott No. 75 (the 2˘ brown Honolulu harbor scene) and postmarked at Honolulu on December 5, 1897, is the earliest post card I record from Hawaii. Post cards were privately produced and sold. A sender was required to buy a stamp and affix it to the card. Postal Cards, on the other hand, were produced for - and sold through - the post office with an imprinted denomination on the card. See Postal Cards.

In Hawaii, post cards could be mailed at the same rate as postal cards. However, in the United States post cards were charged letter rates until May, 1898. Under Universal Postal Union rules, post cards received from abroad were not taxed in the United States so post cards mailed from Hawaii were unaffected by the stricter United States rate.

Several types of post cards were published for the Hawaiian tourist trade in the short period before June 14, 1900. All post cards used from Hawaii during the Pre-Territorial period are scarce and highly prized. Unused examples are of limited interest to stamp collectors but fall into the sphere of deltiology - the study and collection of post cards.

First in time were "Aloha Nui" cards. No reference to the publisher is printed on the cards. Half tone photographs of various Hawaiian scenes are lithographed on the message side. Deltiologists refer to photograph post cards as "real photo" cards. On the early Aloha Nui cards (style 1), the words "Post-Card" head the address side. Later, the header was changed to read "Postal-Card" (style 2). I am unable to explain the reason for this change, but it appears to have been made in the latter part of 1898. The earlier Post-Card variety (style 1) seems scarcer. Scenes include the Bishop Museum, Iolani Palace, Honolulu wharf, Royal Hawaiian Hotel, Nuuanu Avenue in Honolulu, Wailuku town on Maui, Halemaumau Crater on Kilauea Volcano, Volcano House on Kilauea Volcano, Queen Emma's birthplace on Hawaii, Punohenni Falls at Hanalei on Kauai, Royal Palm Trees, Native luau and Native grass hut.

Bishop Museum

Address and picture sides of an Aloha Nui post card (variety 1) sent from Honolulu to San Francisco on December 15, 1897. The scene is the Bishop Museum in Honolulu.

Lihue Postal Card Aloha Nui with message

Address and picture sides of an Aloha Nui card (variety 2 with the Postal-Card imprint above the address), mailed from Lihue, Kauai on September 9, 1899 with a scene of Halemaumau Crater on Kilauea Volcano.

In the "neither fish nor foul" category is the use of the two cent postal cards, UX9 and UX9a, as the base for real photos lithographed on the back. No publisher is printed on the cards. I have seen two different scenes. The earliest, sent in April, 1898 to Germany, depicts the guano fields on Laysan Island (see UPU PERIOD - Letters Mailed Shipside or Aboard Ship) on the back of a UX9. The other card, sent to Los Angeles in November, 1899, shows four photographs: Waikiki Beach, Diamond Head, USS Philadelphia and Paniolos on the back of a UX9a. Both cards were mailed aboard ships en route to San Francisco and received Paquebot markings at San Francisco.

UX9a Honolulu scenes

Wall, Nichols & Co. introduced "Boys in Blue" "Souvenir" cards while United States Expeditionary Forces were in Honolulu during the Spanish American Civil War and aftermath. The message side contains half tone real photo images related to American soldiers in Honolulu. One dated October 23, 1898, is printed on pinkish paper and has a picture of troop ships in the harbor. Another is dated December 4, 1898, printed on bluish paper with a picture of soldiers at Iolani Palace (see Soldiers Mail). Other scenes are said to exist but I have seen only these two.

Boys in Blue troop ships

Boys in Blue post card showing troop ships in Honolulu Harbor

When the United States finally authorized the mailing of post cards at postal card rates in May, 1898, it required post cards to bear the words "Private Mailing Card" imprinted above the address. These cards often are seen mailed from Hawaii after it became a Territory on June 14, 1900. One pre-Territorial usage I record was mailed from Honolulu November 23, 1899 and shows a half tone photograph of Punch Bowl, taken from Mount Tantalus. No publisher name is printed on the card. Other pre-Territorial Private Mailing Card styles probably exist.

Private Mailing Card

Another style was printed by M. & Co., Nachf, Berlin, for Reise and Welf, Berlin. Imprinted above the address are the words "Union Postale Universelle/The Sandwich Islands/Imprimé. Printed matter." Half tone photographs of Princess Ruth's house and Honolulu flower sellers are on the back. This card was mailed from Honolulu on June 9, 1900.

Hawaii scene UPU card

Pacific Ocean tourists sometimes brought post cards with them from prior ports of call and mailed them from Hawaii. One example is a Samoa real photo card mailed from Honolulu December 8, 1899 to Germany as a registered card.

registered Samoa Post Card

Please E-mail me at: if you have examples of other post cards styles used in pre-Territorial Hawaii.

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