Discovery of Hawaii: 150th Anniversary
Two stamps were issued on August 13, 1928 to commemorate the discovery of the Hawaiian Islands by Captain James Cook in 1778, which he named the Sandwich Islands. When Cook arrived, the islands were already inhabited by descendents of Polynesians that had settled the islands over a thousand years prior to Cook’s landing.
A variety of different chiefs ruled Hawaii until 1810 when it was unified into a single kingdom by Kamehameha the Great after fifteen years of war between the tribes. Hawaii remained a monarchy until revolts and political upheavals, supported by the United States, ended the monarchy. The United States then annexed Hawaii and made it a United States territory.
The surprise attack on Pearl Harbor heralded the entry of the United States in World War II and it was a critical base of military operations in the Pacific throughout the war. Hawaii remained a territory until 1959 when, after a vote by Hawaii’s citizens, it became the 50th State.
The stamps issued to commemorate the sesquicentennial (150th) anniversary of Hawaii’s discovery are less than impressive, especially considering Hawaii’s rich history and geographic features. The use of a somewhat generic overprint was the result of a disagreement between Wallace Farrington, the Governor of Hawaii and Harry New, the Postmaster General. New felt that commemorative stamps should be focus on topics that were of interest nationwide and that the discovery of Hawaii was not of interest to most Americans. Farrington obviously felt differently. They compromised by issuing the two unremarkable overprints instead of a new design. These stamps had limited distribution and were only sold in Honolulu and to stamp collectors from the Philatelic Sales Agency in Washington D.C.
Buy a 1 Cent Hawaii 150th Anniversary stamp for your stamp collection!
Buy a 5 Cent Hawaii 150th Anniversary stamp for your stamp collection!