HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - The two letters are signed "You're affectionate cousin, Liliuokalani." They are dated October 18 and October 28, 1897. Bishop Museum historian De Soto Brown said there's no reason to doubt they came from the queen's hand.
"I'm just going to say my personal opinion from having looked at a lot of her writings over the years, that that is her handwriting," he said.
The letters are addressed to "Cousin William." She was writing to William Lee, a famous Boston bookseller and publisher. They refer to the editing of the manuscript for her book "Hawaii's Story by Hawaii's Queen."
"There were detractors of hers who said she was not capable of writing a text of that level of sophistication," Brown said. "If you read the text of her letters, it is also very clear that she was a very capable writer. She was a very well-spoken person."
Collectibles company Profiles in History is auctioning the letters on eBay. The bidding starts at $9,500. Neither Bishop Museum nor Washington Place can afford to bid. But they hope the winning bidder will donate the documents.
'It would be a welcome addition to our collection, or any collection in Hawaii. I'm hoping that it will come back," Washington Place Curator Corinne Chun Fujimoto said.
"While these are being offered on eBay at this price, it is not a sure thing that they will in fact be purchased at that price, or if they'll be purchased at all," Brown said.
Queen Liliuokalani was a prolific writer. The translation of the Hawaiian Creation chant was another of her famous works.
"Even at the time of her life, people were collecting and saving her writings," Brown said.