More on estate sale of Emma Aima Nawahi, 1936.

Valued Relics Of Hawaiian Royalty Offered At Auction

Days of old Hawaii were brought to life yesterday morning when historical pieces of rare Hawaiian furniture, clothing, jewelry and ornaments belonging to the late Joseph K. Nawahi and the late Mrs. Emma A. Nawahi of Hilo were displayed and sold at auction at 1633 Nuuanu street. Valuable koa furniture, ancient leis made of feathers of extinct Island birds, tapas belonging to royalty and exquisite inlaid koa calabashes and cabinet articles were among the numerous varieties under the hammer.

On February 12, 1874, King Kalakaua presented a large jeweled gold medal with the Hawaiian coat-of-arms on it to Nawahi for outstanding service in Hawaii’s legislature. Yesterday the medal sold for $100. Nawahi is remembered by the Hawaiians for his interest and service in the government. On one occasion his political enemies had him marooned in Hilo in order to get certain legislature bills passed. This did not stop the courageous Hawaiian. He and several friends chartered a number of old whaling boats, tied sails to them and finally reached the island of Lanai. From there Nawahi and his men obtained passage to Ho-

(Continued on Page 7 Col. 3)

(Advertiser, 8/14/1936, p. 1)

The Honolulu Advertiser, 81st Year, Number 17,898, Page 1. August 14, 1936.

Hawaiian Treasures Sold At Auction

VALUABLE COLLECTION—Among the many rarities belonging to the late Joseph K. Nawahi and the  late Mrs. Emma A. Nawahi of Hilo, auctioned yesterday at 1633 Nuuanu street were (above) the rare kahilis, inslaid koa calabashes, royal medals, and feather leis made from the extinct oo and e-e birds. Below is a view of part of the large crowd who came to see and purchase one of the largest collections of authentic Hawaiian valuables. (Advertiser photos.)

Valued Relics of Hawaiian Royalty Offered At Auction

(Continued from Page 1)

noloulu in time to salvage the governmental wrongs for his people.


At the gathering yesterday were many old friends of the Nawahi family, dressed in characteristic holokus and wearing old Hawaiian feather leis on their hats. They recalled the days of Queen Liliuokalani as her picture was sold. The queen’s black plush lap-robe, which she used as she drove through the streets in her carriage, was purchased by one of the large crowd for $4.50.

The most valuable possessions of the Nawahi family were the authentic feather leis. A short lei of the yellow e-e feathers sold at $300. The combined black and yellow feathers of the extinct oo and e-e birds made up another lei, auctioned off at $100. A lei of pue feathers went at $50, another at $17; and a box of rare feathers, which could be used to mend a lei, sold at $16.


A calabash of koa, inlaid with mother-of-pearl, presented to the Nawahi family by one of the first Sunday schools in Hawaii, was also included among the collection. Other calabashes of highly polished koa wood, sold at $30, $15 and smaller ones in sets of eight sold for $3 apiece.

Rare koa furniture included plain, carved, and inlaid tables, which purchasers were able to obtain at bargain prices. Canes once used by members of the royal families, inlaid and ornamented with silver were auctioned at $2 and $3.

A painting of the Kilauea volcano done in oil by Tavernier in 1888 was not sold and passed at $50, to be held until today, along with a hibiscus painting, held at $2.50.


Highly embroidered Chinese spreads in red and gold, blue and gold were displayed and sold. A historical bed-spread of light blue Chinese silk embroidered in pastel shades with two cushion covers went at $10. Other Oriental pieces included a velvet piano scarf, black and gold embroidered runner, and a black and white silk scarf.

Crocheted and knitted out of black yarn was a large scarf held over for today. A Spanish shawl, cream-colored window drapes, scalloped and highly embroidered were other valuables belonging to the collection. Handmade pillow covers, which once lay upon the traditional four-poster bed, were sold.

The Nawahi family owned unique pieces of ancient jewelry, including carved ivory necklaces, carved kukui nut and cut kukui nut necklaces, jet, black and white painted beads, a Samoan shell lei, amber necklaces and numerous valuable medals presented to Nawahi by King Kalakaua.


Huge pieces of tapa, made to fit the ancient punee, were made of all colors, including coral, rose, rose-and-brown-violet and pink, orange and red with fine lines of white interwoven, deep salmon-red, rust and brown, blue and brown, and pure white.

In 1908 Nawahi wrote and published “Ka Buke Moolelo,” written entirely in Hawaiian, and illustrated with old pictures of Hawaii, telling of his own life and the times in which he lived. The book was sold along with several others owned by Nawahi.

Many smaller calabashes in graduated sizes, kahilis of extinct feathers, and lauhala mats were displayed. An old piccolo sold for 75 cents, laid in the original case in which it came. The old palawa, with yarn used as a substitute for the real hair which had deteriorated, was presented. Dishes and table service of silver with the Hawaiian crests engraved upon them, with which royalty had been served, were disposed of at auction yesterday.

(Advertiser, 8/14/1936, p. 7)

The Honolulu Advertiser, 81st Year, Number 17,898, Page 7. August 14, 1936.

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