This Statue is on an 1883 Hawaii Stamp

This statue of Kamehameha I is on the Big Island in North Kohala, where the king was from. 

I’m in Hawaii standing with the Kamehameha I statue and, or course, it has a great story. This statue is on U.S. and Hawaiian stamps. Kamehameha I conquered Hawaii, and declared himself the first king of Hawaii. He died in 1819. He was a young chief when Captain Cook visited Hawaii in 1778.

This statue was designed by an American living in Florence, cast in Paris and shipped from Bremen Germany. Commissioned to mark the 100 th anniversary of Cook’s discovery of Hawaii, or the first Europeans to visit Hawaii. I suppose the Hawaiians actually discovered Hawaii, but I digress. The statue was shipped to Honolulu from Germany. On route the ship and statue sank in the Falkland Islands.

The Statue is shown on Hawaiian Kingdom stamps and 1937 U.S. Hawaii stamp

Luckily Hawaii insured the statue. Hawaii commissioned a copy using the $12,000 insurance proceeds. The replacement statue was cast and shipped to Hawaii. This one didn’t sink. It was installed in 1883, just four years too late for the anniversary party. It’s commemorated on a 1883 Hawaiian stamp. The replacement statue was placed in front of the King Kamehameha V’s Royal Place and it’s still there.

After the ship sunk, an enterprising Falkland Island fishermen recovered the first statue and sold it to an English sea captain. That captain took the statue to Hawaii and sold it for $ 875, a bargain compared to the $12K cost to cast.

Hawaii decided to place this ‘first statue’ in North Kohala, on the big island of Hawaii. King Kamehameha I lived in North Kohala.

The $875 dollar statue was a little worse for wear from time underwater and the recovery. In Hawaii it was painted brown to preserve the brass. About 20 years ago it was repainted in bright colors in my photo. The replacement statue in Honolulu is gilded in gold.

Captain Cook, who named Hawaii the Sandwich Islands to honor his benefactor the Forth Earl of Sandwich. Cook left Hawaii and sailed to Alaska where he mapped the coast all the way to the Bering Sea. These trips are commemorated on U.S. stamps issued in 1978.

1978 Stamp Commemorating Capt. Cook’s visit to Alaska & Hawaii

Cook returned to Hawaii where the locals killed him in 1779 after a complicated conflict. The town on the big island where Cook was killed is now named for him. That’s an honor I hope to never enjoy.

It’s said the 4 th Earl of Sandwich invented the sandwich. During a long night of gambling, he was hungry, and asked for meat between two pieces of bread to keep playing cards. I imagine he was winning and wouldn’t leave the table. Apparently, the name stuck and we enjoy sandwiches today. While the Sandwich Islands is now Hawaii, the Earl isn’t forgotten. We still have the sandwich.

I love stamps. The stories are great and stamps make learning fun.

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