Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Philatelic April Fool's Joke

The Neutral Moresnet website relates a philatelic prank that took place in April 1867 by Belgian Jean Baptiste Moens, who is often thought of as the first stamp dealer in the world.

According to the site...

"In his magazine J.P. Moens always scored points off his colleagues with the latest news facts about stamps.

"However, it irritated him that his Parisian colleague Mahé always indiscriminately copied his articles without mentioning the source.

"In the April edition of "Le Timbre-Poste" Moens had a letter printed, addressed to himself. In this letter Mr. Decrackt, director of the Postal Services in Moresnet - a republic situated between Prussia, Belgium and Holland - told him that a series of four stamps for letters would be issued, i.e. stamps of 10c. and 20c. for Belgium and 12½c. and 25c for Prussia.

They would have been printed by Messrs. De Visch and Livra in Brussels. The letter was signed by J.S. Néom.

"As Moens expected, an article appeared in "Le Timbrophile", obviously without mentioning the source. Once again proof that everything was copied discriminately, because, when critically reading the letter, it could have been discovered that this was an April fool's joke.

"Because Decrackt should be read as "de Craque" (boaster, liar) and De Visch as the Flemish word for "poisson" (fish). Livra read backwards is "Avril" (April). Together they form the expression "poisson d'Avril" which is French for April fool's joke.

From the signature one can easily read Moens."

Shown above, the fantasy stamp devised by Moens to fool his colleagues.
Bookmark and Share
posted by Don Schilling at 12:01 AM