US Stamps

First butterfly topical stamp issued by Hawaii in 1891

Mar 12, 2020, 1 PM
The Kingdom of Hawaii 1891 2¢ dull violet Queen Liliuokalani stamp (Scott 52) is the world’s first butterfly topical stamp.

Stamp Market Tips by Henry Gitner and Rick Miller

Hawaii issued stamps as a kingdom and later as a republic before becoming a United States territory in 1898.

These stamps are popular with many U.S. collectors as well as collectors of classic stamps. Although some Hawaiian stamps are prohibitively expensive, many are more affordable.

One of our favorite stamps is the 2¢ dull violet Queen Liliuokalani stamp (Scott 52) issued in 1891. The demand for this stamp is steady, and we have previously tipped it in Stamp Market Tips columns in the Dec. 11, 2006, and July 1, 2013, issues of Linn’s.

Some topical collectors want to net this stamp because it was first stamp issued anywhere in the world to picture a butterfly. In the portrait shown on the stamp, the queen is wearing a butterfly brooch in her hair.

The 2020 Scott Specialized Catalogue of United States Stamps and Covers values the stamp at $15 in unused original gum condition and at $25 in mint never-hinged condition.

Although this stamp is not difficult to find, the demand for it is constant, and it is a great buy at full Scott catalog value.

The stamp is very common in used condition, but even so it is a good buy at full Scott catalog value of $1.50.

Used examples were often canceled by a circular datestamp in violet ink that blends in with the color of the stamp, so be careful of lightly canceled examples that have been regummed and are offered as unused or mint.

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