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Important Hawaii Proofs
By Heritage

In the upcoming September Long Beach auction, Heritage Currency will be offering a complete paper money proof design collection for both the Kingdom and the Republic of Hawaii.

This is the largest offering of Hawaii proofs since the 1990 auction of the ABNCo archives. Proofs are the only realistic way to collect notes from this exotic locale as issued notes are unpriced in the Standard Catalog of World Paper Money.

These proofs were originally housed in the same printer’s binder and thus they share many characteristics. They have been printed on India paper, cut down to the size of the design, and mounted on a 9 by 11 inch card stock-like, type-written dated binder page. In all but a couple of cases, the issued stub is present. The face and back proofs are mounted on the same binder page except in two instances. The binder page also has behind it an interleaved page that was manufactured at the Crane & Co. paper mill in Dalton, Massachusetts.

The face vignettes are for the most part ranching, commercial sailing, and railroading with the occasional Hawaii specific vignette. Each face proof has from two to four punch cancels as is normal for proof notes. The punch cancels are only through the India paper and not the card stock. Also, the faces have the denomination in both English and Hawaiian.

Each back proof carries the Hawaiian Coat of Arms which includes two men in feathered cloaks and helmets flanking the shield. They are said to be the twins Kameeiamoku and Kamanawa, who helped Kamehameha I unify the islands in 1810. The motto “Ua mau ke ea o ka aina i ka pono” (”The life of the land is perpetuated in righteousness”) is written on a sash under the scene. Two slightly different versions of the Coat of Arms are depicted depending if the note was printed during the monarchy or later during the republic era.

All in all, these are historical and important notes that exhibit some of the finest of the engraver’s art. Also, do not let the abundance of Hawaiian riches in this auction fool you in to believing that these notes are commonly available. These notes have been off the market for over a generation and it might be that long again before another opportunity arises.

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