Home Culture The History of Stamp Collecting Part 16 – J.B. Moens’s Publications

The History of Stamp Collecting Part 16 – J.B. Moens’s Publications


le timbre posteIn the late 1970s a fascinating series of articles written by Mr. K. Kouwenberg about the history of Stamp Collecting, appeared in the Dutch magazine Philatelie. This series has been the source of inspiration for PostBeeld owner Rob Smit to rewrite the history of stamp collecting in instalments. This is Part 16.
In the previous instalment of this series we discussed the stamp trade of Jean-Baptiste Moens. However, Moens was also a publisher and bookseller. As we saw, Moens invested heavily in stamps at a time when the stamp trade was less strong. He could never have survived trading stamps without his income from the bookstore and publishing house. Aside from his many philatelic publications, he also produced many publications on other subjects.

His main philatelic publications were:


In March 1862 “Manuel du collectionneur Timbres-Poste ou Nomenclature générale de tous les timbres adoptes dans les diverse pays de l’univers” appeared.

This catalogue was, after the release of Alfred Potiquet’s first illustrated stamp catalogue in 1861- the first to be available in book shops – the second French language stamp catalogue. Moens’s catalogue had a successful release and was a pioneering work for philately. Click here https://play.google.com/books/reader?id=tQEoAAAAYAAJ&printsec=frontcover&output=reader&hl=nl&pg=GBS.PR2 to view the first edition.

Click here to see the 2nd edition. After the 2nd edition, a supplement was issued in January 1863, which – together with the second edition – formed the third edition.


Also in 1862 Moens issued a publication alerting philatelists to the possibility of forgeries of postage stamps, with the title “De la falsification des timbres-poste ou Nomenclature générale de toutes les imitations falsifications et ainsi que des diverse timbres d’essais de tous pays (pour les alert «timbromanes» contre les faux timbres”. It is, in itself, remarkable that so soon after the appearance of the first catalogues and the first philatelic publications, Moens not only produced a catalogue but also a publication regarding counterfeits. It says a lot about Moens himself (and partner, later brother-in-law, Louis Hanciau) who, by 1862 had been dealing in stamps for quite a while and were enraged to discover there were already fakes on the market. Click here to view this issue. A few months later (still in 1862) this publication was translated into English (see image above) by E. Doble.

In 1864 “Les Timbres-Poste Illustrés” was issued. Moens clearly saw the importance of images in his publications. The images printed in this publication were also used in his catalogues, magazine (Le Timbre-Poste) and his albums. Click here to view this issue.

From 1863 to 1900 Moens published the monthly philatelic magazine “Le Timbre-Poste”. Below is the front page of the first issue from February 1863. Le Timbre-Poste was for almost forty years one of the major philatelic magazines, in which many new discoveries and descriptions were announced. Articles from “Le Timbre-Poste” were regularly copied by other journals without acknowledgment of the source. See also our Postzegelblog article (in Dutch) about Moresnet.


Moens also produced several specialised stamp manuals and catalogues.These included ‘l’ouvrage Les Timbres de Maurice’ in 1878 in which he, among other things, describes the famous Blue Mauritius. Others include “Timbres de l’office Tour et Taxis”, “Les timbres de Russie”, “Les timbres de Prusse”, “Timbres des Etats Tuscany and Saint Marin”, “Timbres des Etats the l’Eglise. J.B. Moens was always quoted as the author, although in practice, Louis Hanciau played a major role in the creation of these publications. For historians it is not always easy to figure out because all of Hanciau’s written correspondence was signed by J.B. Moens.



In addition to the publication of catalogues, brochures and magazine Moens also produced stamp albums. I myself own a copy from 1874 which is actually an album and illustrated catalogue in one. On the left-hand pages are pictures and descriptions and on the right-hand page are drawn frames within which the stamps are placed.

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