Most Wanted Items
“Most Wanted” List
After the overthrow of the Hawaiian monarchy, much of the Palace contents were sold at public auction. As part of its mission to preserve, restore, and share the spirit the historic site, The Friends of Iolani Palace has endeavored to find, recover, and preserve original Palace and monarchy furnishings and treasures, many of which have been scattered throughout the world.
Treasures from the King’s Bedroom, Queen’s Bedroom and Music Room are in the process of being recovered. But after more than 40 years of searching, some of the largest pieces of furniture are still missing. If you think you may have original furniture, other items from the Palace collections, or have information about their whereabouts, please contact the Curator.
Historic photos are from the Hawaii State Archives.
Gothic Revival Hutch, seen in the Upper Hall - last known location the Haleiwa Hotel, demolished in 1952
Venus de Milo plaster cast - originally displayed in the King’s Library
Spelter statues: Spelter is a metal alloy made with zinc. It was a popular inexpensive substitute for bronze in the late nineteenth century. Cast spelter statues were often patinated or painted to emulate bronze. A figure from a Grand Hall wall niche has yet to be located. Smaller statues were scattered throughout the Palace, including those displayed on wall brackets in the King's Bedroom and Library.
Monarchy era photos of Palace rooms, people, and events provide valuable information about original Palace furnishings. The Palace curator's office references many such photos to identify original palace objects or items having a royal connection. If you have a photo that may help with this research, please contact the Curator.
Historic photos may help you identify or begin to ask questions about objects that you have or know about.
Furniture from the Davenport Order
225 pieces of furniture were ordered from A.H. Davenport Co. of Boston during construction of the new Palace. The four bedrooms on the second floor were each decorated with similar pieces of furniture, in different woods and upholstery fabrics. The King’s Bedroom was decorated in light blue with ebony and gilt furniture. The Queen’s Bedroom furniture was in red with furniture of mahogany and gilt. Furnishings for the other bedrooms were made of walnut (central bedroom) and cherry (front bedroom), having drapery and upholstery fabric in lemon yellow and olive green respectively.
The following items are on the "most wanted" list:
- Kalakaua's bedroom suite, which was gilded and made of ebonized wood
- Bedroom side chairs (9 missing)
- Bedroom square and round chairs (2 missing)
- Dressers (2 missing)
- Wardrobes (3 missing)
The Royal Chamberlain issued many invitations, menus, dance cards, place cards, and other works on paper for Palace events. Existing items in the collection show marks and patterns that can be used to identify additional items.
When Kalakaua became King, one of his first acts was to reestablish the Hawaiian military, including the Royal Guard and several other companies. Many military items, such as uniforms, hats, swords, patches, buttons, and other accessories from the Guard and other companies are still in private hands.