Over A Century of Philatelic Activity

On October 1, 1851, Hawaii’s first three stamps, all printed by letterpress at the Government Printing Office in Honolulu, were announced for sale. A fourth stamp was printed to state clearly the 13₵ value to pay both Hawaiian and United States postage through to any East Coast destination. These four stamps are known as the Missionary Issue. Early missionaries to the Pacific Islands were the first consistent users of the little piece of paper used to pay for the transit of their correspondence to friends and family members who lived on the East Coast of the Mainland. Mail between the islands and towns was handled free of charge until 1859.

In 1910, New England Stamp Company Representative Warren H. Colson arrived in Honolulu and his visit acted as a catalyst to start the Hawaiian Philatelic Society. On the evening of Thursday, April 13, 1911, at the residence of Mr. John Gribble and in the company of Mr. Charles Hustace, Jr.; Mr. William Wolters; Mr. Klemme; Mr. F.W. Wood and Mr. Bruce Cartwright, Jr.; the Hawaiian Philatelic Society was born. Interestingly, the question of a lady’s branch was discussed. Nothing was resolved, and it was unanimously tabled “until our organization is more perfect”, as related by Mr. Colson to Robert E. Van Dyke.

Membership grew (and women were eventually welcomed into the Society), and regular scheduled meetings were held at the University Club where members could have “the privilege of buying cigars and drinks at the buffet”, per Mr. Colson. in May 1913 the Society’s first philatelic show was held. Although the show was limited to Hawaiian stamps it appears to have been very successful despite controversy over a bill of $3.00 cartage for saw horses. On November 11, 1914 the Society applied for, and was granted, APS Membership.

Throughout the 1960’s, ‘70’s and well into the ‘80’s the Society sponsored philatelic exhibitions known as HAPEX. Presently, the Society has 200+ plus members in Hawaii, the mainland and internationally. Executive Board meetings are held the first Monday of every month and General Membership meetings are held on the second Monday of the month. Included in the meeting is a member’s only auction of 90-100 lots submitted by members for sale. Every May and December, an all Hawaiian auction is conducted. In addition to the monthly Bulletin, the Society also publishes, for its members, a twice-yearly journal, Po’Oleka O Hawaii. This journal provides information regarding Hawaiian stamps and postal history

The Society has an expertization committee which is available to anyone needing authentication of Hawaiian stamps. Members have a reduced fee for this service.