1838 Hawaiian bible & map highlight antique collection

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - A Hawaiian language bible printed in 1838 that is in pristine condition.

A map so old there are only three originals like it in the entire world.

And an adze likely used to till fields on the North Shore of Oahu 170 years ago.

Those are among the items in a collection once owned by missionary Edwin Locke, moved to New Hampshire upon his death in 1843, and now back in Hawaii for sale to the highest bidder.

Appraiser Brenda Reichel showed the collection to Hawaii News Now. She began with what may be the most impressive item, the bible printed on the press at the Mission Houses Printing House in Honolulu 174 years ago.

"There have been bibles like this that have sold at auction for $3,500. Someone has a bible here locally that they paid over $10,000 for theirs. Being that this is in such excellent condition for its age, it could be $20,000 as a price," Reichel said.

If the bible is the most impressive item, the map has got to be a close second.

It is a map of the Hawaiian Islands. It was drawn by a calligrapher in Lahaina in 1838. The map stretches more than four feet long and at least a couple across. Vibrant colors still delineate boundaries between neighboring regions on each island. Geographic features including Mauna Loa and Mauna Kea are clearly marked.

According to Reichel's research, there are only two other original maps like it in the entire world. One of the other maps is a museum in London. The second is in the Hawaii state archives. It is difficult to anticipate a how much a collector may bid for the map, but Reichel believes it may fetch between $20,000 and $50,000.

There are many more items in the collection including wooden calabash bowl, a miniature koa outrigger canoe about a foot and a half in length, and a traditional Hawaiian necklace made from human hair and what appears to be a whale's tooth.

Locke, a missionary who founded and taught at a manual labor school in Waialua, acquired the items while in Hawaii between his arrival in April, 1837 and his death in October, 1843. He is buried in a small cemetery behind Kawaiahao Church. Sometime after his death the items landed in a library in Locke's hometown of Fitzwilliam, New Hampshire. In the late 1970's a private collector purchased the items. Now that person is willing to sell them to the highest bidder.

Reichel is hoping someone will buy the collection and donate it to the Hawaiian Mission Houses Historic Site Archives. She said the owners is also willing to sell them to a private collector, but has a strong desire that person keep the collection in the islands.

"It's got to stay in Hawaii. It doesn't need to go anywhere else. It's come home," she said.

Reichel is owner operator of an Oahu jewelry store, Carats & Karats. Follow the link below to learn more about Reichel and her business.

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