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Moquette, Used Examples of his Creations
by Richard Wheatley

Editor’s 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:

This envelope is made from yellow paper and has a red medallion. The Soerabaja circular date stamp of 8 -1- 1878
is repeated o the reverse. It is addressed to a Mr Liss at the Sugar Factory Ketegan and I wonder if he was the uncle
to whom Moquette went to work for in 1873. There has never been a post office at Ketegan, which is probably
just as well, for goodness knows what would have happened to the Moquette fantasy creations! You can also
probably see an oval embossed cachet at the lower left which reads “JP MOQUETTE, KETEGAN SOERABAYA, JAVA”.
Late in 1878 a Government Decree withdrew the free franking privilege.

Dispatch Soerabaja 27-6-1878, arrival Goor 10-8-1878

Undaunted by his first attempt at making a cachet incorporating his name, a two line version appears on a
12 1/2 cent postal stationery card addressed to his father in Goor, Holland in 1878. The message says that
all is well and is signed by him as “Jan”. This card has been used during the short 121/2 cent post card rate
period to Holland, which lasted from 1 May 1877 until 31 March 1879.

Probably the most audacious piece of advertising that Moquette produced was his advertising square.
This was neatly placed around the King Willem III diadem on the 5 cent and 12 1/2 cent N.E.I. postal
stationery cards, plus the 10 cent envelope. On the example below he has “tied” the additional
stamps to the card with his personal two line handstamp, mainly to prevent theft. These stamps make
up the prevailing 12 1/2 cent rate to Europe. This particular card is addressed to Sigmund Friedl, a stamp
dealer in Vienna who also stepped over the line and produced philatelic forgeries.

Dispatch Soerabaja 28-6-1878, arrival Vienna 12-8-1878

The next item is addressed to Moens, the well known philatelic publisher and dealer in Brussels, Belgium.
His name is also tainted, but mainly by handling rather than producing forgeries. This card has the embossed
Moquette oval cachet. Under a strong light you can see where the additional stamps have been removed
from the top left corner, a pity he did not “tie” them with one of his cachets!

Dispatch Soerabaja 13-2-1879, arrival Bruxelles 21 Mars 1879

It could be that Moquette was a bit of an artist, for in applying his advertising square he has tried to match
the color to that of the postal stationery item. On the 5 cent violet cards the color of his advert is pale violet,
on the drab 121/2 cent card it is grey and on the 10 cent orange brown envelope (below) it is almost a perfect match!

Dispatch Soerabaja 28-2-1878, arrival Dresden 10-4-1878
Additional franking for foreign registration and German registration label applied on T.P.O.

On the reverse there is his now familiar two line cachet and, impressed on the five red wax seals there are
his initials in script within a frame JPM
When the U.P.U. foreign postal card rate was reduced to 7 1/2 cents on 1 April 1879 the 12 1/2 cent card
was redundant, so the postal authorities recalled the unsold 12 1/2 cent cards and they were revalued by
overprinting them with a large numeral “5”. This card was then re-issued to the post offices to be used up
for the inland post card rate of 5 cents.

At this stage Moquette saw his opportunity and he provided a two line overprint in blue green reading “5 cent”.
If these fantasy overprinted cards were then used inland, Moquette would have “lost” 7 1/2 cents each time,
but instead he sent them to Europe for sale there as a new surcharge variety. The Belgium dealer JB Moens
was one of those to handle these cards and he sold some of them in 1883 to the wealthy collector Phillippe
de Ferrari. It was not long before the swindle was exposed and Moens was lucky to escape being jailed.

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.

Dispatch Soerabaja 8-5-1880, arrival Tours 15 Juin 1880. Moquette has written this card in English
requesting certain French postal cards.

To prevent the theft of unused stamps from company offices, the practice of perforating them with
initials of the company commenced about 1870. In the Netherlands this started on 31 March 1875,
but it was not officially sanctioned in N.E.I. until 1901.

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 Soerakarta 1-8-1885, arrival Bern 12-9-1885

The postal authorities allowed this oddity to pass through the post for the “5 CENT” overprint had no
validity and so in effect the 7 1/2 cent card fully paid the rate to Switzerland. The 2 1/2 cent stamp was
superfluous. The card was sent by a recognized stamp collector, a certain HPM van Altena, who at that
time was an officer in the Indies Army.

When postal stationery cards were issued in 1874 they became very popular, for due to an administrative
oversight, they were sold at face value there being no surcharge for the card itself. The same mistake
was not repeated when the postal stationery envelopes were first issued in 1878, for they were sold with
a 1/2 cent premium. This premium, plus rate changes and overstocking led to the 25 cent envelope being
surcharged “15” in 1888. Moquette recognized this as another opportunity and he applied his own
surcharge in black reading “15 cent “

Dispatch Laboendeli 1-10-1890, arrival Bremen 4-11-1890. Intended to pay the double letter rate to Europe of 50 cents.