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San Francisco Postmarks found on Hawaiian Mail. 1849-1867
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Posted: Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Presentation By: Rick Mingee

Download the PDF of the Presentation Click Here for the Adobe Acrobat file (pdf) 4.4 MB

San Francisco Postmarks
found on Hawaiian Mail
1849-1867



Ahhhhhhhhhhhhh! Overwhelming

Overwhelming Handstamp

Purpose
  • This presentation discusses various postal markings used in the San Francisco Post Office (SFPO) which are found on mail originating from Hawaii
    • Not every marking that existed at the SFPO at this time is discussed, only ones found on Hawaiian mail
  • Note the usage dates shown in this presentation are for the device period in San Francisco and not a range of dates applicable only to Hawaiian mail
    • Data is based on personal research from numerous auction archives, websites, books (yes, even Fred's book!), etc

Data Accuracy
  • "I still made mistakes. I don't know what they are or where they are, but they are there. Readers will see them and point them out and I will express regret and blush. I have identified the fiend who is to blame for these mistakes but he is clever and eludes me except when I stand before the mirror"
    • Fred Gregory, Hawaiian Foreign Mail to 1870 (Vol I)
  • Fred, I hear ya, and feel your pain!
    • This is an evolution process, you are seeing a snapshot in time
    • Your input, feedback and corrections will improve the accuracy and quality of the data, for which we all benefit
  • Data is constantly being reviewed and updated (usage spans, etc)
    • This presentation was as accurate as I could make it, as of October 2012

Goals of Presentation
  • What I hope you get out of this...
    • Ability to identify and/or narrow down the range of the cover year date - just by identifying the type/style of marking
    • Learn about the various different styles of markings in use at the SFPO over the timespan of this presentation
    • Learn a little about early SF history
  • What I hope you DO NOT get out of this...
    • Boredom
    • Daydreaming
    • Wishing for early happy hour
    • Strong desire to go find clubs, bats or spears!
  • The majority of the covers shown are NOT mine!
    • I personally own examples of many of these markings, just not with the Hawaii connection
    • References are provided for the picture source
    • No reference means cover is from my collection
  • Feel free to ask questions as we go along

Before Postmarks, a Little History
  • 1849 was a pivotal year for San Francisco (understatement!)
  • 49ers arrived in a town greatly lacking infrastructure
    • Tremendous amount of chaos and economic turmoil
    • Focus was on quick-riches ("get it and leave"), not city planning
  • First steamer for the West Cost left New York on October 6, 1848 for the long 5 month journey around Cape Horn to SF
    • Pacific Mail Steamship Company (PMSC) steamer California
    • It arrived in San Francisco on February 28, 1849
  • Even though news of the Gold Rush was out at the time the ship left, it had been ignored until December 1848 when President James Polk confirmed the discovery of gold in an address to Congress
    • After rounding the Horn but before the California made it to SF, GOLD FEVER had infected the world!

  • Onboard the California was special mail-agent for California, William Van Voorhies, sent to the West Coast to organize new PO system
    • It is hard to imagine what he must have observed in those early days attempting to set up the Post Office
      • A report from Van Voorhies in March 1849 can be found (free!) on Google Books (the report is at the end section)
      • California and New Mexico: Message from the President of the United States. President (1849-1850 : Taylor)
      • books.google.com/books?id=B7ndDN3FmNcC | (PDF)
  • Before March 1849 there were no POs anywhere in California
    • SF was the first PO and the first outbound mail left March 19, 1849
  • Van Voorhees appointed local merchant C.L. Ross to "open and distribute the mail until the arrival of the postmaster"
    • This merchant store served as the first SF post office
    • Ross served until April 1, when he was replaced by Col. John W. Geary who arrived on the Oregon (and used Ross' store for the distribution of mails from this arrival)
    • On April 17 Jacob B. Moore was appointed postmaster



Before Postmarks, a Little History



Before Postmarks, a Little History
The SFPO - 1850's
Hutchings' CA Magazine Jan 1858
San Francisco in the 1850's



San Francisco in 1846 (Mexican-America War)

San Francisco in 1846 (Mexican-America War)



SF in 1851 - Early Daguerreotype

SF in 1851 - Early Daguerreotype



SF Now - Just a Little Growth (and Landfill)

SF Now - Just a Little Growth (and Landfill)


San Francisco's First Postmark
Manuscript - March to June 1849
Usage dates (1849):
Mar 15,
Apr 9 & 17,
May 1,
Jun 20
  • San Francisco Post Office first postmark was a manuscript marking and was first used on March 15, 1849
    • Town, rate and date all in manuscript
  • Very few surviving covers found to date (8 thus far) - Only one originates in Hawaii
Letter was postmarked in manuscript on April 17, SFPO
  • Departed March 14 for San Francisco, arriving April 16, 1849
  • Letter was postmarked in manuscript on April 17, SFPO was without postmarking device at this time
  • Rating marks "Ship" and "42" indicate ship fee of 2 and 40 transcontinental postage, unpaid
  • Letter sent east on first voyage of steamer California from SF, departing May 1
  • Actually this is a receive marking, as all other manuscript covers show intended date of sailing from SF
  • Markings are unique, the only manuscript item discovered with this date and rate (and "Ship")

San Francisco's First Postmark Device
Straightline - June to August 1849
30 x 2.5 mm
Separate rate & date in
manuscript
Usage dates (1849):
Jun 20, Jul 2, Aug 1
  • San Francisco Post Office first handstamp device was the straightline marking and was first used on June 20, 1849, for only three sailing dates
    • Rate and date still in manuscript
  • More plentiful than manuscript covers, still few surviving covers found to date (29 found thus far) - Only one originates in Hawaii
May 17, 1849 letter from Joel Turrill, United States Consul at Honolulu
  • May 17, 1849 letter from Joel Turrill, United States Consul at Honolulu
  • Letter was postmarked in manuscript on June 20, CDS not yet in existence at SFPO
  • 40 rate rather than 42 (previous cover) indicates it was sent to SF and deposited in PO without being treated as a ship letter
  • Perhaps enclosed in letter packet to friend or agent in SF who posted as ordinary domestic letters at PO

San Francisco's First CDS
August 1849 to February 1850
CDS data: 33 mm diameter
Lower case "al" in "Cal." with period
5 mm gap between "S" of SAN and
"C" of Cal
Month/Day only, separate rate data
  • The first SFPO CDS debuted on August 1, 1849
    • Date was also the last use of the straightline marking
    • The only CDS used in 1849 (and continued into 1850)
  • Found with manuscript markings including rates, "Ship" and "Paid"
    • Also straightline device "PAID" and "Boxed Rates" of 2, 40 and 80
Lahaina Nov 1, 1849, dateline on whaling letter to Mass
  • Lahaina Nov 1, 1849, dateline on whaling letter to Mass., SF Nov 27 CDS, boxed "40" rate handstamp
  • 40 rate rather than 42 (similar to previous) likely deposited in PO without being treated as ship letter


Starkey, Janion & Co. fowarders red oval handstamp
  • Starkey, Janion & Co. fowarders red oval handstamp SF Oct. 1, 1849 CDS
  • Manuscript "Ship 42" rate (40c postage plus 2c ship fee)

First Integral Rate CDS
February 1850 to July 1851
CDS data: 33 mm diameter
Serif Font
Day/Month
Integral Rate - 40, 80, 12.5 and 2,
also "RECd" and blank
  • The first SFPO CDS which included an integral rate began service FEB 1850
    • CDS had 40, 80, 12.5 and 2 rates
    • Also blank (no rate) and "RECd" (rare) versions
First SFPO CDS 40

First SFPO CDS 80

First SFPO CDS 12.5
Sep 1850 letter from Honolulu
  • Sep 1850 letter from Honolulu, SF "Recd" postmark, matching fancy Ship 6 Clamshell
  • 6 cent incoming (to port of entry) ship rate

  • Blank version of the integral rate CDS
  • Most Hawaiian mail received this version of the CDS since 42 and 6 were not part of the device rates
Nov 1850 letter from Honolulu
Source: Steve Walske SF PH Exhibit
  • Nov 1850 letter from Honolulu, SF "Blank" CDS, blue straightline Honolulu Hawaiian Is postmark
  • Manuscript "42" rate (40c postage plus 2c ship fee)

Largest Diameter Integral Rate CDS
April 1850 to March 1852
CDS data: 35 mm diameter
Sans-Serif Font
Day/Month
Integral Rate - 40, 80, and 6
  • This CDS is a unique size (35 mm) and font style and is easily recognized
    • CDS had 40, 80 and 6 rates (6 for new rate period July 1 1851)
CDS 40

CDS 80
Folded letter datelined Wahoo October 25th 1850
  • Folded letter datelined Wahoo October 25th 1850, SF Dec 15 Integral-40 CDS
  • This CDS is NOT commonly found on Hawaiian mail

  • CDS was modified with a large "6" to replace the 40 & 80 rates
    • Used to denote the prepaid 6 cent rate which began July 1 1851
CDS 6 Honolulu June 4, 1851, prepaid 40c, postmarked in SF July 1
  • Honolulu June 4, 1851, prepaid 40c, postmarked in SF July 1, the day reduced rates went into effect
  • New 6c prepaid transcontinental rate

34 mm Diameter CDS with "Cal."
June 1850 to June 1854
CDS data: 34 mm diameter
Serif Font
Day/Month
"Cal." with period, at bottom
  • Similar to 1849 CDS, smaller gap between "S" and "C" - slightly larger diameter
    • 3.5 mm gap between "S" of SAN and "C" of Cal.
    • Lower case "al" in "Cal." with period at end (period is raised compared to 1849 CDS)
    • Typically used with separate rate handstamp
Handstamp Compared May 8, 1851 Honolulu and postmarked June 14 at SF
  • May 8, 1851 Honolulu and postmarked June 14 at SF where handstamp 40 was applied
  • This CDS is more commonly found on Hawaiian mail than others previously shown

34 mm Diameter CDS with "Cal."
July 1850 to June 1854
CDS data: 34 mm diameter
Serif Font
Day/Month
"Cal." with period, at bottom
  • Example with manuscript rate including ship fee
Feb 26, 1851 Honolulu, arriving in San Francisco on March 25 and postmarked April 1
  • Feb 26, 1851 Honolulu, arriving in San Francisco on March 25 and postmarked April 1 at SF
  • Manuscript "42" rate (40c postage plus 2c ship fee)

Integral "PAID 6" CDS
November 1851 to July 1853
CDS data: 33 mm diameter
Serif Font
Day/Month
"PAID 6" at bottom
  • Unique style CDS used during the pre-paid 6c transcontinental rate period
  • This eventually replaced the 35 mm sans-serif CDS with large numeral 6 at bottom
Sep 1851 cover from Hawaii, SF "PAID 6" CDS, postmarked on Nov 1
  • Sep 1851 cover from Hawaii, SF "PAID 6" CDS, postmarked on Nov 1
  • Only way to determine Hawaii origin is by the cover signature of R. C. Wyllie, Hawaii's Foreign Minister
  • This example also happens to be the earliest use of this CDS I have found

32.5 mm Diameter with "CAL" CDS
July 1851 to November 1854
CDS data: 32.5 mm diameter
Serif Font
Day/Month
"CAL" in all caps, without period
  • First CDS with all upper case letters for CAL
  • Similar types exist with and without a period after CAL, this section is for the NO-Period version
  • There are THREE versions identified to date
    • TWO are very similar styles
      • Tightly spaced SCO letters in "Francisco" with lettering around the circle aligned slightly different
    • One version with widely spaced SCO letters in "Francisco"
  • No-Period version was initial/earliest of this type of CDS
Comparison of Tight vs. Wide Spacing of SCO



  • "Kaui Hawaii S. Islands Feb. 20th, 1851"
  • Dateline on folded letter to Saratoga Springs N.Y.
  • San Francisco July 13 CDS and "10" handstamp for unpaid transcontinental rate
  • Carried privately to San Francisco where it entered the mails
San Francisco July 13 CDS and "10" handstamp for unpaid transcontinental rate

Tip of the day!
This italic font style 10 was only used from July to October 1851, if you see this font, you know the year
  • The tightly spaced SCO version, first month use of CDS



  • Honolulu *Hawaiian-Islands* Oct. 4 CDS, San Francisco Cal. 1 Nov. CDS
  • Red Lahaina forwarder's handstamp "FORWARDED Via S. FRANCISCO/By G. D. GILMAN./LAHAINA." in three lines
  • Marked in SF "12" due handstamp (10c U.S. rate plus 2c ship captain's fee)
    • Letter stamped for prepayment of Hawaiian postage only, U.S. postage unpaid
  • SINGLE 5c MISSIONARY STAMP - ONE OF TWO RECORDED MISSIONARY COVERS WITH HANDSTAMPED FORWARDER'S MARKING
  • Letter carried on the Mary A. Jones from Honolulu on October 5, 1852, and arrived in San Francisco on October 26.
One Of Two Recorded Missionary Covers With Handstamped Forwarder's Marking


  • Honolulu, U.S. Postage Paid, Sep 6, on cover to Mass. (1853)
  • San Francisco, Cal., Sep 30 CDS
  • Excellent strike of "rocking horse" Paid Ship 8 handstamp (6c prepaid transcontinental rate + 2c ship fee)
  • Manuscript "Dec 5th/53" receiver docketing
Honolulu, U.S. Postage Paid, Sep 6, on cover to Mass. (1853)
  • Honolulu Hawaiian-Islands Oct.3 CDS to Mass.
  • San Francisco CAL 1 Nov. CDS, matching "SHIP" and "12" due handstamps
  • 12c = 2c ship fee + 10c unpaid transcontinental rate

Honolulu Hawaiian-Islands Oct.3 CDS to Mass.

32 mm Diameter with "CAL" CDS
October 1852 to September 1857
CDS data: 32 mm diameter
Serif Font
Day/Month
"CAL" in all caps, with period
  • Similar to previous type but with a period after CAL
  • Also similar to previous, there are THREE versions identified to date
    • TWO are very similar styles
      • Tightly spaced SCO letters in "Francisco" with lettering around the circle aligned slightly different
      • Tightly spaced SCO version has a raised period
    • One version with widely spaced SCO letters in "Francisco"
      • Widely spaced SCO version has a lowered period
Comparison of Lowered vs. Raised Period of CAL. & Overlay



  • Honolulu Hawaiian-Islands Feb.10 CDS on folded cover to Williamstown Mass.
  • San Francisco Cal. 16 Mar. CDS, matching "SHIP" and "12" due handstamps
  • Docketing indicates this originated at Kohala on Jan. 29, 1855
  • 12c = 2c ship fee + 10c unpaid transcontinental rate
Honolulu Hawaiian-Islands Feb.10 CDS on folded cover to Williamstown Mass.
  • Honolulu, U.S. Postage Paid, Dec. 28 CDS
  • San Francisco, Cal., Feb 1 (1855) CDS
  • Prepaid 6c transcontinental rate, Hawaiian postage paid in cash
  • Carried by the General Pierce, left Honolulu Dec 29, arrived SF Jan 27



Honolulu, U.S. Postage Paid, Dec. 28 CDS
  • Clear examples of the two different locations of the period after "CAL"
  • Left side is the raised period, right side is the lowered period

CDS with small font "AL" in CAL.
March 1855 to June 1857
CDS data: 31.5 mm diameter
Serif Font
Day/Month
Small "AL" in CAL. with period,
at bottom
  • First CDS with different size fonts in San Francisco or CAL
  • There are no similar styles to this version so it is easily recognized
Honolulu U.S. Postage Paid Mar. 15 CDS on 1856 cover to Bedford, Mass.
  • Honolulu U.S. Postage Paid Mar. 15 CDS on 1856 cover to Bedford, Mass.
  • Straightline "Paid 12" and San Francisco April 21 CDS
  • 17c rate (5c Hawaiian postage and 12c = ship fee + US transcontinental rate) often paid with a 13c stamp and 4c in cash
  • The combination of the 5c and 13c represents a 1c overpayment
  • One of the few letters from the period completely pre-paid in Hawaii with no United States stamps affixed

CDS with small font "AL" in CAL
and "AN" in SAN

March 1855 to June 1857**
CDS data: 32 mm diameter
Serif Font
Day/Month
Small "AL" in CAL and "AN" in SAN,
along sides
Integral straight "FREE",
"26 PAID" and "12 PAID" (also
"PAID" with numeral removed)
  • First CDS with different size fonts in SAN and CAL
  • While the below designs look similar they are not quite the same - not solely a switch out of the rate
  • Versions include;
    • FREE
    • 12 PAID (Scarce)
    • 26 PAID (used to France, common)
    • and "26" removed with just "PAID" (no-rate) - observed to Great Britain and South America, rates were close to 26c but not equal
Handstamps


  • Honolulu*Hawaiian-Islands*Oct 18 (1856)
  • Addressed "To Office of Commissioner of Pension, Washington D.C. U.S."
  • Carried on the Fanny Major Oct. 21, arriving in SF on Nov. 18
  • SFPO, recognizing official status of addressee, waived postage due, applied San Francisco CAL Free 20 Nov CDS
  • ONLY RECORDED EXAMPLE OF 1853 5-CENT KAMEHAMEHA III ISSUE ON A COVER ON WHICH THE UNITED STATES POSTAGE WAS NEITHER CHARGED NOR PREPAID BY STAMPS
Honolulu *Hawaiian-Islands* Oct 18 (1856)


  • Honolulu U.S. Postage Paid March1857 CDS on cover to Maine
  • SF "12 PAID" April 1857 CDS
  • According to Gregory, only in use one month, and only 3 known covers from Hawaii with this CDS
    • I have never seen one in person
Honolulu U.S. Postage Paid March1857 CDS on cover to Maine
Source: Source: Hawaiian Foreign Mail to 1870 (Gregory)

Small Font CDS
Integral Arc Paid, Rate + Year

August 1857 to June 1860
CDS data: 33 mm diameter
Serif Font
Day/Month
Small font SAN FRANCISCO CAL
Integral arc "12 Paid", "15 Paid"
and "30 Paid" (lower case "aid")
  • Three versions with different rate values
    • 12c used for 10c prepaid transcontinental rate + 2c ship fee commonly found on Hawaiian mail
    • 15c and 30c used for single and double rates to France
  • A "Paid" (no-rate) similar version exists but not same device (shown later)
Hawaii, Honolulu, U.S. Postage Paid, May 7, 1859 to Mass
  • Typical use of this postmark
  • Hawaii, Honolulu, U.S. Postage Paid, May 7, 1859 to Mass
  • Sent aboard the ship Nelson arriving in San Francisco on June 3
  • Red San Francisco, Cal., 12 Paid, Jun 6, 1859 CDS


  • Honolulu U.S. Postage Paid Nov 16 to Maine
  • San Francisco Dec 12 1859 postmark with integral "12 Paid" rate
  • "Overland" handstamp indicates received too late to catch mail steamer departure from SF and sent by overland mail instead
Honolulu U.S. Postage Paid Nov 16 to Maine
30 Paid example (used for double rate to France)
30 Paid example (used for double rate to France)
Similar style with "Paid" only, no-rate, but slightly different letter spacing and "Paid" is wider - This is a different device

Similar style with "Paid" only, no-rate, but slightly different letter spacing and "Paid" is wider - This is a different device

33 mm Diameter CDS, with "Cal"
+ Year

July 1857 to September 1861
CDS data: 33 mm diameter
Serif Font
Day/Month/Year
"Cal" (lower case "al") with and
without period, at bottom
  • Similar to 1849 CDS, but font size is slightly smaller and includes year
    • Lower case "al" in "Cal"
    • Versions with and without period after Cal - Version below is with period
Day/Month/Year CDS
1849 CDS



This CDS






1849 CDS
Dec 1, 1857 letter dateline from Honolulu
  • Dec 1, 1857 letter dateline from Honolulu with "U.S. Ship St Marys" and postmarked Jan 5, 1858 at SF where handstamp 22 and SHIP was applied
  • Double unpaid 10c rate plus 2c ship fee for a total of 22c

  • CDS version without period after Cal
Honolulu U.S. Postage Paid Oct. 6 (1857) CDS
  • Honolulu U.S. Postage Paid Oct. 6 (1857) CDS, U.S. stamps cancelled by SF Cal Nov. 5, 1857 CDS
  • Rare example of 5c provisional surcharge (due to shortage of 5c stamps) in combination with US 1c 1851 and 10c 1855 issues to pay cross country rate + ship fee (only 3 covers recorded with this franking)
  • Cover carried on the bark Yankee, which departed Honolulu on Oct. 6, 1857, and arrived in San Francisco on Oct. 22

33 mm Diameter CDS, with "CAL"
+ Year

July 1857 to September 1861
CDS data: 33 mm diameter
Serif Font
Day/Month/Year
"CAL" in all caps,without
period, at bottom
  • There are no similar styles to this version so it is easily recognized
Honolulu * U.S. Postage Paid * June 27 (1857) CDS
  • Honolulu * U.S. Postage Paid * June 27 (1857) CDS on folded letter to RI, San Francisco CAL Jul. 20, 1857 CDS, manuscript "12" at top right
  • 5c provisional surcharge in combination with US 12c 1851 issue to pay cross country rate + ship fee
  • Carried by the Vaquero, which stopped at Honolulu on way from Australia, cleared Honolulu on June 27, 1857 - returned to safe harbor with broken mast and left again on June 29, arriving SF on July 16

CDS with Large 12 Integral Rate
September 1857 to June 1861
CDS data: 32.5 mm diameter
Sans-Serif Font
Day/Month/Year
"SAN FRANCISCO CAL" in all
caps, without period, top/side
Large 12 rate at bottom
  • On Hawaiian mail there are no similar styles to this version
  • However a similar looking CDS exists with 15 & 30 rates (used to France)
    • NOT same device with the rate changed out, as it is 31.5 mm (smaller) diameter
Hawaii, Honolulu, Hawaiian Islands, May 20, CDS on cover to Boston, Mass 15 example (used for single rate to France)

15 example (used for single rate to France)

Similar style but NOT the same CDS as integral 12 type - the above 15 (and 30) are 31.5 mm diameter
  • Hawaii, Honolulu, Hawaiian Islands, May 20, CDS on cover to Boston, Mass
  • San Francisco CAL, 12, Jun 11, 1861 integral rate CDS
  • 12c DUE (not PAID) - 10c cross country rate + 2c ship fee

Small Font CDS
Integral Arc Paid + Year - NO Rate

September 1857 - February 1864
CDS data: 33 mm diameter
Sans-Serif Font
Day/Month/Year
Small font SAN FRANCISCO CAL
around top half of circle
Integral arc "Paid" (lower case "aid")
without rate value at bottom
  • Discussed briefly a few pages earlier as a similar style to the arc 12 Paid (and 15 & 30)
    • But this is a different device
    • Letter spacing of "Paid" is wider
    • Slightly different letter spacing on SF CAL
Overlay of the two Paid versions (12 Paid vs Paid no rate), close but different spacing Overlay Of The Two Paid Versions
Cogwheel Cancel Without the DCDS
  • Honolulu U.S. Postage Paid Feb 17,1863
  • Cover to Iowa, franked with U.S. 12c (10c + 2c rate)
  • San Francisco Cal Paid Mar 6 1863
  • A VERY rare usage of a cogwheel cancel without the DCDS
    • DCDS & Cogwheels will be addressed in the next pages


__________________________________________
|

Enter the 26 mm Double Circle Date Stamp (DCDS)

This marking on its own can be (and is) a dedicated study!

__________________________________________



San Francisco DCDS
September 1861 to 1870's
CDS data: 26 mm diameter (outer
circle), 14 mm diameter inner circle
Day/Month/Year
No rate data
  • The DCDS debuted in September 1861 and was used into the 1870's
    • Style of the SF device was similar to those used throughout US in the 1860's
    • Other CDS devices existed in parallel so this was not the only type in use at this time
  • Initially a stand-alone device (non-duplex)
    • Often accompanied by separate markings
      • Cogwheel (Type 1 and 2)
      • 4-ring Target
      • 11-Bar circle/grid
      • Various rates & SHIP
  • Also used as a duplex device
    • 11-Bar circle/grid (starting NOV 1862)
    • 4-ring Target (starting NOV 1863)
    • Cogwheel (Type 3 only) (starting SEP 1863)
  • WCS Western Express - Jan 1975 article has a lot of information on versions, types and dates
    • "THE 26 mm DOUBLE CIRCLE POSTAL MARKING OF SAN FRANCISCO" by Clifford L. Friend
    • Revisiting this area for updates/accuracy is still on my TO DO list!

San Francisco DCDS
Documentation
Ashbrook data from 1943

Ashbrook data from 1943
Portion of Western Express article from 1975

Portion of Western Express article from 1975



San Francisco DCDS
September 1861 to 1870's
CDS data: 26 mm diameter (outer
circle), 14 mm diameter inner circle
Day/Month/Year
No rate data
  • First month of use of the SF DCDS (stand alone device)
  • Hawaii, Honolulu, U.S. Postage Paid, Sep 1 (1861) ribbon sealed legal size linen to N.Y. - official usage
  • San Francisco, Cal., Sep 30, 1861 DCDS
  • Manuscript at left appears to be "112" which would be eleven x 10c rate plus 2c ship fee
Hawaii, Honolulu, U.S. Postage Paid, Sep 1 (1861)


  • San Francisco, Nov 3, 1862, DCDS (device + Ship marking)
  • Arc "Ship 5" rate handstamp
  • Privately carried from Honolulu to SF aboard ship Young Hector departing Oct. 15 and arriving Nov. 1
  • Manuscript "J.O. Dominis, Recd. Nov. 3d, 1862" docketing; who was the secretary and chamberlain for King Kamehameha IV
  • Rate on inbound mail to SF had been dropped from 6 to 5 early in 1862
San Francisco, Nov 3, 1862, DCDS


  • San Francisco, Apr 19, 1863 DCDS, used as obliterator (device + Ship marking)
  • Straightline "SHIP.12" rate handstamp (unique style narrow font)
  • Honolulu, Hawaiian - Islands, Mar 28 CDS
  • Hawaiian postage prepaid by stamp, 10c rate + 2c ship fee for 12c rate
  • This SHIP.12 marking remained useful to indicate the new double 6c ship rate which would start a few months later in July
San Francisco, Apr 19, 1863 DCDS


  • Honolulu Hawaiian-Islands Jul. 25 (1863) CDS
  • San Francisco, Aug. 24, 1863 DCDS
  • "24" and "SHIP" handstamps - quadruple unpaid 6c ship-letter rate
    • Rate effective starting July 1, 1863
  • Carried on the Yankee, departing Honolulu Jul. 25, 1863, arriving SF Aug. 23
San Francisco, Aug. 24, 1863 DCDS


  • Carried on the Comet, clearing Honolulu on Jan. 21, 1864, arriving in San Francisco on Feb. 9
  • Collect mail to the port of SF during the period from Aug. 30, 1863, to Aug. 23, 1864 rated at the normal double domestic rate, or 6c (double 3c postage on unpaid ship letter)
  • "Due 6" straightline
"Due 6" straightline


  • Duplex 4 ring target
  • Honolulu U.S. Postage Paid May 11 CDS (ca 1865-66)
  • San Francisco Jun. 6 DCDS with duplex target
  • 1c overpayment of 5c Hawaiian postage
  • 1c overpayment of the combined 2c drop-letter rate and 2c ship fee for a prepaid letter addressed to the port of entry
San Francisco Jun. 6 DCDS with duplex target



San Francisco Cogwheel
In Conjunction with the DCDS
CDS data: 26 mm diameter (outer
circle), 14 mm diameter inner circle
Day/Month/Year
No rate data
  • The Basics - Reference Western Express Vol. 60 No. 4, December 2010 (Mingee)
  • Usage periods:
    • Type I: February 1862 thru December 1863.
    • Type II: December 1861 thru October 1864 (main period, sporadic usage 1879-1887)
      • Actually JAN 1862 now, as the DEC 1861 referenced item received a bad cert
    • Type III: November 1863 thru June 1868
      • Actually SEP 1863 now, found a newer item
From Western Express
article referenced above
Type I, II, III Cogwheel Details


  • Type I Cogwheel
  • FEB 3, 1862 SF DCDS, earliest date observed for Type 1 cancel
  • JAN 14 Honolulu US Potage Paid CDS
  • 12c U.S. postage pays 10c domestic rate (to Iowa) plus 2c ship fee
  • 5c Hawaiian postage paid by Hawaiian stamp
  • Late use of 12c 1857 issue, demonetized in the U.S. but still recognized as prepayment on Hawaiian mail passing through SF
FEB 3, 1862 SF DCDS


  • Type I Cogwheel
  • MAY 31, 1862, SF DCDS.
  • May 9 Honolulu US Potage Paid CDS
  • 12c U.S. postage (applied to reverse side of envelope, strip of four 3c 1861 issue) pays 10c domestic rate plus 2c ship fee
  • Hawaiian postage paid in cash in Honolulu
May 9 Honolulu US Potage Paid CDS - MAY 31, 1862, SF DCDS


  • Type II Cogwheel
  • Honolulu U.S. Postage Paid Jun. 18 (1864) CDS to Davenport Iowa
  • San Francisco, Jul. 11, 1864 DCDS
  • Manuscript "Missent & For'd", with Muscatine IOA Aug. 8, 1864 DCDS
  • Stamps & cogwheels additionally obliterated by Muscatine targets - a rare example of cancelled cogwheels!
  • Carried on the Onward, departed Honolulu June 18 and arrived in SF July 9
  • Prepaid double 3c rate plus 2c ship fee (5c + 3c stamps)
53_Honolulu-U-S-Postage-Paid-Jun-18-1864-CDS_t (10K)Honolulu U.S. Postage Paid Jun. 18, 1864 CDS - San Francisco, Jul. 11, 1864 DCDS Type II on 1861 Hawaiian Kamehameha

Type II on 1861 Hawaiian Kamehameha III Issue (used in
1862 or later, cancelled at SFPO)


  • Type III Cogwheel
  • Honolulu U.S. Postage Paid Oct. 6 CDS
  • OCT 25 SF DCDS, year is 1866 based on sailing dates
  • 5c U.S. postage pays 3c domestic rate plus 2c ship fee
  • 5c Hawaiian postage paid by Hawaiian stamp
  • Rare mixed franking with the Hawaii 5c 1866 Kamehameha and U.S. 2c & 3c 1861-63 issues
Honolulu U.S. Postage Paid Oct. 6, 1866 CDS - OCT 25 SF DCDS


  • Type III Cogwheel - Two AMAZING Cogwheel covers!
  • Honolulu U.S. Postage Paid May 19 CDS (1866)
  • San Francisco Cal Jul 11 DCDS
  • Carried on the Cambridge
  • Only known cover franked by a pair of the 5c "Inter Island" stamps
  • One stamp used to pay 5c Hawaiian postage and one to indicate payment of 3c + 2c US rate, 5c US stamp added in SF to indicate US postage paid (prepaid in Hawaii)
  • Honolulu U.S. Postage Paid Apr. 4 CDS (1866)
  • San Francisco Cal Apr 18 DCDS
  • Double rate letter
  • 5c + 5c Hawaiian postage
  • 3c + 3c + 2c = 8c US postage
Honolulu U.S. Postage Paid May 19 CDS 1866 - San Francisco Cal Jul 11 DCDS
Source: Steve Walske SF PH Exhibit
Honolulu U.S. Postage Paid Apr. 4 CDS 1866 - San Francisco Cal Apr 18 DCDS
Source: Steve Walske SF PH Exhibit



San Francisco Small CDS
1867 (Late) & On
CDS data: 26 mm diameter (outer
circle), 14 mm diameter inner circle
Day/Month/Year
No rate data
  • In late 1867 a new small single circle date stamp device emerged and became the dominant device style in the late 1860's and through the 1870's
  • This is the stopping point for this presentation, as the focus was on markings prior to this device being used by the SFPO
  • A "closing example" is provided, a fine double rate cover (contract steamship rate of 10c per half ounce, no ship fee)
  • Honolulu U.S. Postage Paid Jan. 20 CDS, San Francisco, Feb. 3 small CDS
  • "Hawaiian Steam Service" double-line oval handstamp
  • Carried on the Idaho, departing Honolulu on Jan. 20, 1868, arriving in SF Feb. 2
Honolulu U.S. Postage Paid Jan. 20 CDS, San Francisco, Feb. 3 small CDS



A Personal Favorite!
Ex Risvold
  • Japan Oct. 3 (1863) notation of origin "(per ship) Somass via Vancouver Island" to Ellington, CT
  • Ship likely delayed at an intermediate port, possibly Honolulu
  • Reverse "Forwarded from U.S. Consulate, Victoria, V.I., March 25 1864" to SF
  • SF, DCDS Mar 30, 1864 and "DUE 4" handstamp for local delivery
  • Remailed by Macondary & Co. to Connecticut with 3c stamp added and SF Mar 31, 1864 DCDS
  • Two more strikes of cogwheel obliterating the due handstamp, docketed as received in April, 1864
  • Both Type II and Type III cogwheels on same cover - used as stamp cancellation and also obliterator of DUE marking
  • Also with duplex barred circle device (would have expected duplex with type III cogwheel)
  • A crazy and almost unheard of combination of SF postal markings!!!
SF, DCDS Mar 30, 1864



SF Markings, Not Found on Hawaiian Mail
  • By the way, there ARE more SF postal markings used in this period which are not found on Hawaiian mail (or not yet found)
    • NO, you did not just view every marking which existed (but you saw most)!
  • I leave you with a few examples...
SF Postal Marking Example 1 SF Postal Marking Example 2

SF Postal Marking Example 3 SF Postal Marking Example 4 SF Postal Marking Example 5





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