Dress to the 9's: Tincan Mailman

By Grace Lee  
HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Transplanted from Kauai, the vintage Hawaiiana store Tincan
Mailman has moved to downtown Honolulu. Kathryn Drury Wagner, the executive editor for
Honolulu Magazine discovered the store for Dressed to the 9's. The store is filled with rare, old
books, hand painted guitars and one-of-a-kind ceramics.

They have been lovingly restored and saved by owner Chris Oswalt. One of The store opened in
1941 and was renown for its fine hand carved pieces. After the owner shut its doors in 1999, a cult
following developed for the pieces, according to Oswalt.

What drew Kathryn, were the Bakelite bangles. Far superior to the cheap intricate designs. With
cool names like butterscotch, pea green and applesauce, they are appealing to the girlie girl.
They're also fairly light to wear and perfect for those who may be allergic to metal.

Manager Raul Sanchez showed us the vintage aloha shirts for men. The oldest are from the 1940's.
Most are in near perfect condition. These are prints that you don't see in the stores today. Super
vibrant and unique, Sanchez said they look for the aloha shirts that may have been worn by a
tourist once, before being discarded when he returned home. They are mostly larger sizes.

Tincan Mailman is also a great source for ephemera which is pretty much any kind of old paper.
That includes old postcards, print ads, and pin-up girls. They come in all sizes and designs. They're
great to frame in order to add some flare to a home or office.

You can find the store at 1026 Nuuanu Avenue in downtown Honolulu.
Aloha Antiquing
Join Country Living on a visit to
Honolulu and the annual Hawaii
All-Collectors Show.
By Monica Michael Willis
What Is It Worth?
Vintage Hawaiian souvenir dolls
generally fetch between $75 and $300.
Although the Hawaii All-Collectors Show
offers one of the largest collections of
Hawaiiana under one roof, there are
plenty of fun non-island offerings,
including a round smiley-face carry-on,
embroidered tea towels, and a black
sequined swing coat for just $30!

If your dream getaway involves warm
weather, tropical beaches, and a few
days of exceptional antiquing -- no
passport required -- pencil in July 18 and
19 and make plans to visit Honolulu, site
of the 18th annual Hawaii All-Collectors
Show. The event, which features more
than 180 dealers offering everything
from mid-century koa furniture and
appliqué quilts to vintage resort wear
and tourist souvenirs from the 1950s and
'60s, pulses with aloha spirit as well as
out-of-the-ordinary Hawaiian antiques
and collectibles -- many of which don't
often make it to the mainland.

Ming's Jewelry, a prized collectible in
Hawaii, was sold exclusively at Ming's
Jewelry in Honolulu from the 1940s to
1999. Carved ivory pins, bracelets, and
necklaces number among the
most-sought-after pieces today (Jewelry
courtesy of Tin Can Mailman).

Pristine vintage Hawaiian ephemera was
for sale at the Tin Can Mailman booth.

By Coco Zickos - The Garden Island
Published: Saturday, April 4, 2009 7:32 PM HST

Walking into the Tin Can Mailman in
Wailua or Collectibles & Fine Junque in
Waimea can make one feel as if time has
been standing still. Antique, authentic
products, with a slice of history locked
away inside each item, fill every nook
and cranny.

As corporations continue to entice
customers with inexpensive, mass-
produced items from overseas that
people crave during hard economic
times, it is apparent that vintage
Hawaiiana and unique collectibles are
becoming a fading commodity.

“At this time in Hawai‘i, it’s really
important that people buy local to keep
the small businesses alive,” said
Christopher Oswalt of Tin Can Mailman.
“In Hawai‘i, especially Kaua‘i, a lot of
things are outsourced, and we’re not
really a self-sustaining island anymore.”

He hopes that more individuals will re-
consider shopping for unique products
at local businesses like his or
Collectibles & Fine Junque, rather than
purchasing merchandise at larger
stores, where profits are typically sent
to corporate headquarters instead of
filtering back into the community.

“Chances are, if you buy a piece of
jewelry here, you’re not going to find
another one like it,” said Raul Sanchez,
the “jack-of-all-trades” for Tin Can

Sanchez especially touts the store’s
Hawaiiana collection, which includes
rare, out-of-print books and hard to find
items that were created on the islands
long before airlines even had a chance
to make their presence.

“We try to emphasize the history of
Hawai‘i, the history of the people, the
monarchy, as well as the landscape
before it got so commercialized,” said
Oswalt. “The out-of-print books, vintage
postcards, it’s all a glimpse back into

To “help stay afloat,” Tin Can Mailman is
also tempting customers affected by the
recession into its store by presenting
an assortment of discounted products.

For more information on Tin Can
Mailman call 822-3009 or visit www.

• Coco Zickos, business writer, can be
reached at 245-3681 (ext. 251) or
Friday, October 23, 2009
Calling all Hawaiiana Collectors
by Kathryn Drury Wagner

Courtesy of Tin Can Mailman

Tin Can Mailman, a beloved collectibles and antiques store on Kauai, is pulling up stakes and
relocating to Oahu. The new store, slated to open November 6, will be at 1026 Nuuanu Ave., in the
space that previously held Bonnie’s Closet.

Tin Can Mailman specializes in vintage Hawaiiana paper, such as sheet music, ads from 1920s, ’30s
and ’40s, pineapple labels, postcards and movie posters. “I have a lot of clients on Oahu already,”
notes co-owner Christopher Oswalt.

I’m excited about the store’s large selection of vintage jewelry, including Bakelite and Ming’s, as
well as the tiki collectibles. If you’re interested in vintage aloha shirts from the 1940s to 1970s, you’
ll find them as well.

Prices at Tin Can Mailman run from as little as $10 to $2,500.  One note for previous fans of the
store: Oswalt says he plans to no longer carry old books in general, only books that deal with the
Pacific and Hawaii, particularly rare ones.

Store hours will be 10 to 6 p.m., Monday through Friday, and “will be a bit hit-and-miss the first few
weeks,” says Oswalt. He expects to have new inventory arrive every week.
From Star-Bulletin News:

Business Briefs
POSTED: 01:30 a.m. HST, Nov 03, 2009

Kauai art dealer to move to Oahu

Tin Can Mailman, a Hawaiiana arts dealer, is
moving to the Chinatown arts district in

The boutique, which has been on Kauai for
17 years, will occupy the former Bonnie's
Closet site at 1026 Nuuanu Ave. in time for
the next First Friday celebration.

Besides artifacts from the era of Cook to
the territorial period, Tin Can Mailman
offers furniture, decor, vintage souvenirs
and a library of new, used and rare books
on Hawaii and the Pacific islands.
City Wise
In Chinatown
Good news for vintage shoppers
Emily Hobelmann
Dec 23, 2009 | Bookmark and Share


Image: Emily Hobelmann

TIN CAN MAILMAN / A recent addition to Chinatown’s collection of locally owned small businesses
is Tin Can Mailman, a smallish shop on Nuuanu Avenue. The store, which houses a gold mine of
classic Hawaiiana, is a recent transplant from the sleepy town of Kapaa on Kauai. Part-owner
Christopher Oswalt ran the Kauai location for about nine years before making the big move to

About a month ago, the team brought the operation here, shedding what was once a focus on
used book offerings in order to concentrate on selling an impressive collection of jewelry, art,
vintage clothing, first-edition autographed or otherwise rare collectible books and a number of
other items. A big proponent of locally run businesses, Oswalt champions a sort of pay-it-forward

“All your little stores,” he says. “Everyone needs to be shopping them right now.”

Oswalt seems overjoyed to have relocated to Honolulu, and cites an appreciation for the shift he’
s seen in customer demographic from tourist-centric to mainly local residents.

As customers wander through the small space, many have the same awe-struck reactions about
the merchandise. One woman, a return shopper, enthusiastically points out some of her favorite
items in the back room. Two keen younger ladies asked eagerly about plateware, jewelry and even
potential employment, while an older gentleman marveled at the vintage book selection.

Oswalt hunts his merchandise down from a variety of locations–he says much of it comes from the
mainland, including most of his well-preserved Hawaiiana. Indeed, one of the store’s crown jewels
is the impressive collection of Hawaii-related ephemera including old ads, calendars, brochures,
stationary and sheet music. The shop keeper has obviously put some work into his way of

Giving gifts from local stores is like gifting twice–to the gift receiver and to the community itself.
And if you’re aiming for uniqueness and quality, Tin Can Mailman has options a’plenty.
Tin Can Mailman, 1026 Nuuanu Ave., Mon–Fri 11am–5pm, Sat 11am–4pm, closed Sun, [www.
tincanmailman.net], 524-3009
In Honolulu, Chinatown’s Revival

Christopher Oswalt, left, and Raul Sanchez at Tin Can Mailman.             Marco Garcia for The New York Times
Published: February 14, 2010

HONOLULU’S Chinatown is livelier than ever, thanks to the street cred that has come along with the neighborhood’s latest
reinvention as an arts hub and a gritty, up-and-coming place to shop and eat. A handful of older shops have closed their
doors in the last year, but a spate of cafes, boutiques and bakeries have sprung up in the last few months to take their place.

Close to the waterfront is Tin Can Mailman (1026 Nuuanu Avenue; 808-524-3009; tincanmailman.net), which Christopher
Oswalt opened in November when he relocated from Kauai to Oahu. The shop sells vintage Hawaiiana, including a many-
hued collection of midcentury Bakelite bracelets, delicate antique ivory jewelry and rare Hawaiian books and prints.

“They’re definitely trying to gear Chinatown to be like New York’s SoHo — the hipster and trendy vibe is growing,” Mr. Oswalt
said, referring both to locals and city developers. He was recently found selling kitschy postcards, a picture book called
“Hawaiian Mother Goose: The Nonsense Rhymes of Tutu Nene” ($20), and delicate prints of fish from a 1903 government
survey ($85).

(continue reading...)
Tin Can Mailman collectibles store at the Kinipopo
Village Shopping Center in Wailua. Photo by Coco
Zickos/The Garden Island

Raul Sanchez (left) and Christopher Oswalt,
moved Oswalt's store, Tin Can Mailman, from
Kauai to Honolulu.
Photo: Rae Huo

Editors' Pick
Vintage Hawaiiana store Tin Can
Mailman made Oahu collectors
smile when it relocated here from
Kauai last November. Run by
Christopher Oswalt and Raul
Sanchez, the new location on
Nuuanu Avenue has been carefully
composed as an homage to the
tightly packed general stores of
yesteryear. Tin Can Mailman is
known for the quality and
selection of its ephemera, such as
old menus, sheet music,
calendars, postcards and pinups.
You can also browse vintage
books about Hawaii and the
Pacific, shop for aloha shirts and
find the perfect 1950s lamp or
1960s cocktail shaker set. And don’
t miss the Lucite, Bakelite and
ivory jewelry.
1026 Nuuanu Ave., 524-3009,