Aloha! The 1847 Hawaiian Cent

Posted on August 21, 2012 by

The 1847 Hawaiian Keneta (One Cent) was commissioned by King Kamehameha III, ruler of the Hawaiian Islands, under a newly established monetary system. The Keneta was to be the equivalent of the United States Large Cent; it was, in fact, minted privately in America. The designer and engraver was Edward Hulseman, who is perhaps better known for his 1837 Half Cent token. An obvious error on Hulseman’s part was to misspell the denomination as “Hapa Haneri” instead of “Hapa Hanele”. Although the coin was a disappointment to the Hawaiians, the Keneta remained legal tender until 1884 and circulated even later. According to Breen, Wayte Raymond used to travel to Belmont, Massachusetts in the 1950’s to purchase Uncirculated examples from the descendants of the original minters!

In the May 20, 1953 issue of The Numismatic Scrapbook, Melvin Came offered Hawaiian Cents “from the hoard I discovered” at $3.50 for VF or better examples and $5.00 for Sharp Uncs!

The most common Mint State grade appears to be MS-63, followed by MS-62, then MS-64. Gems are very rare.

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Comments (1)


  1. Don Nigro says:

    That’s quite a nice and rare Hawaiian cent you’ve pictured there!
    It doesn’t look like the MS65 sold by Heritage some years back (is it?) and certainly isn’t my MS64 I commented to them about. What
    grade and grading service encapsulation is it? Does the owner
    of it or anyone else you know have the other variety of the Plain 4, fifteen berries (8 left – 7 right) in MS for sale? That’s the one I need
    to complete my set. Meanwhile do enjoy seeing high grade examples of the rarest variety too. Thanks to you. Don Nigro

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