Moquette, Used Examples of his Creations
by Richard Wheatley
Editors Note: This article is a reaction to the Moquette article in Netherlands Philately,
Vol. 31, No. 6 (July 2007)
J.P. Moquette was an enterprising and opportunistic young man. Shortly after his arrival on Java
late 1873he commenced to promote himself as a stamp dealer, whilst at the same time working at
the sugar plantation of his uncle.
Most of his creations are on postal stationery cards and envelopes of the Netherlands East Indies
and the ones illustrated here are currently in my collection.
The first item that I have seen has not actually been postally used, but it is significant to this story.
It is a 5+5 cent reply paid postal card folded at the right, which appeared in 1877, with on the reverse
of the reply paid half, a three line cachet:
I believe this to be his first attempt at applying a cachet and he has made a hash of it! He has put an I
instead of a J for his first initial and then he has used the German language for the third line!
The use of German may have been because he had been brought up in Goor in the eastern Dutch
province of Overijssel not far from the German border.
From this modest beginning he progressed; producing more elaborate cachets, an envelope and applying
overprints to postal stationery items. His efforts were never to defraud the postal administration,
more to make money out of ill informed collectors by providing fantasy overprints -
Geuzendam in his catalogue calls them swindles. In time he made contact with some of the European
stamp dealers who went a lot further than him in making a dishonest penny from collectors.
The island of Java relies heavily on agriculture, for the fertile soil, tropical sun and monsoon rain provide
ideal growing conditions. In 1873 the first Agricultural Congress was held in Soerakarta, followed
two years later by one in Djokjakarta. The third Congress was held in 1878 from 15 to 28 May at Soerabaija,
not so far away from where Moquette was then working at Ketegan. For this event he produced about
2,000 envelopes which were overprinted to the effect that postage was free in accordance with Government
Decree No. 37 dated 13 May 1876. The envelopes are known on white and yellow paper and the medallion
in the top right corner appears in eight different colors. The medallion features various farming implements
as well as the name of the Congress. Moquette gave these envelopes to the Secretariat of the Congress for
them to use. The only one that I have seen used is illustrated here:
Dispatch Soerabaja 27-6-1878, arrival Goor 10-8-1878
Dispatch Soerabaja 28-6-1878, arrival Vienna 12-8-1878
Dispatch Soerabaja 28-2-1878, arrival Dresden 10-4-1878
Fantasy surcharged card written 29 August 1879 by Moquette and sent to J.B Moens. As the surcharge
was not official the postal value of the card was still 12 1/2 cents, so the post office ignored the overprint,
for in effect it was overpaid.
With effect from 15 September 1879 reply paid postal cards could be sent between certain U.P.U. countries:
Belgium, Germany, France, Italy, Luxembourg, Netherlands and Colonies, Norway, Portugal, Romania,
Spain and Switzerland. The U.P.U. regulations passed at the Paris Congress stipulated that cards for use
between the U.P.U. member countries should be inscribed in French as well as the language of the country
of origin, French being the official language of the U.P.U.
As we have seen, Moquette was never slow in recognizing an opportunity and he promptly provided what
the post office did not provide - a suitable card for U.P.U. use. What he did was to obtain a supply of 5+5 cent
inland reply paid postal cards, he then uprated them to the U.P.U. foreign postal card rate by sticking a
current 21/2 cent King Willem stamp to both halves and then, overprinting both halves with a four line
inscription to meet the U.P.U. regulations:
(Union postale universelle.)
(Carte postale des Indes orientales neerlandaises.)
For many years these cards appeared in the postal stationery catalogues as an authorized issue. The N.E.I.
finally got around to issuing a 7 1/2+7 1/2 cent reply paid postal card in 1892.
This envelope has the cachet of Moquette on the reverse and the 10 cent stamp has two of his initials J M ,
yet again he is ahead of the game. Registered letter to Dresden with the German registration label applied on
T.P.O. 10. Dispatch Soerabaja 30-9-1882, arrival Dresden 18-11-1882.
In August 1879 a 7 1/2 cent brown postal stationery card was issued for use to member U.P.U. countries.
Shortly after then Moquette applied a black two line overprint reading 5 CENT to these cards; these were
for sale to collectors.
Dispatch Laboendeli 1-10-1890, arrival Bremen 4-11-1890. Intended to pay the double letter rate to Europe of 50 cents.