The Hawaii Sesquicentennial stamp, issued August 13, 1928, commemorated the 150th anniversary of the discovery of the Hawaiian Islands by Captain James Cook in 1778. Postmaster General Harold S. New favored stamps honoring broad national interests rather than local topics, and so he resisted issuing the stamp. He finally agreed to an overprinted issue. Two stamps resulted, using the 2-cent red and 5-cent blue rotary press regular issues of 1926 as models, with an overprint reading 'Hawaii 1778-1928' in two lines.
These stamps caused some confusion. Some stamp catalogs originally listed them under 'Hawaii'. Since they were U.S. issues, some postal workers rejected their use, thinking that the overprints were actually pre-cancellations from the Territory of Hawaii.