1 Cent, Hawaii, 1847

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Description (Brief)
One (1) cent coin
Hawaii, 1847
Obverse Image: Portrait of Kamehameha III, King of the Hawaiian Islands.
Obverse Text: KAMAHAMEHA III / KA MOI / 1847
Reverse Image: Wreath.
This one cent copper Keneta or “One Cent” featuring the profile of King Kamehameha III of the Hawaiian Islands (1813 – 1854) was first of only five coins issued for general circulation in the Kingdom of Hawaii. In the early nineteenth century, merchants relied on foreign coinage, but had frequent problems with currency shortages. In 1847, Kamehameha III commissioned 100,000 copper one cent coins. The country did not have the resources to mint the coinage themselves, so it was minted privately in the United States. Designed and engraved by Edward Hulseman, the obverse of the coin depicts an image of Kamehameha III with the words “Ka Moi” or “the King” while the reverse features a laurel wreath with the words “Aupuni Hawaii” or “Kingdom of Hawaii” along the edge and the words “Hapa Haneri” or “one penny” in the center. The coins were unpopular due to the poor casting of Kamehameha’s features and the misspelling of “Hapa Hanele.” While the coins were a disappointment to the Hawaiians, these coins remained a legal tender until 1884 and circulated even later. They were finally replaced by United States currency in 1900, two years after Hawaii became a U.S. territory.
date made
place made
United States: Hawaii
Physical Description
copper (overall material)
overall: .2 cm x 2.75 cm; 3/32 in x 1 3/32 in
ID Number
catalog number
accession number
collector/donor number
Credit Line
Chase Manhattan
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Work and Industry: National Numismatic Collection
Many Voices, One Nation
Many Voices, One Nation
Exhibition Location
National Museum of American History
Data Source
National Museum of American History


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