The history of an "Essay"

Don Heller
by kind permission of the author   originally published in Romanian Philatelic Studies
due to lacking quality of my copies of the illustrations these are left out at the moment

In 1865 the French engraver J. Dulos submitted some essays to the Romanian Governement for the new Prince Cuza stamps. (Figure 1) Although very well executed their delivery was severely delayed and the essays arrived just as Cuza was forced to abdicate.

The Dulos essays are fairly well documented except for one aspect, the "type refait" as it is called by Eduardo Cohen (Contributions a létude de essais des timbres-poste de Roumanie, Lisbon 1945, p 23).(Figure 2) "Refait" is the past tense of the french verb "refaire", which literally means "to do again". Colloquially "refaire" means "to swindle". The "type refait" is indeed a swindle, one of a variety of stamp-like items made from nineteenth century philatelic illustrations.

In September 1867 the stamp journal Le Timbre Poste, published by the dealer J.B. Moens of Brussels, began a serialized article "Stamps of Moldavia and Romania" by Dr Magnus, pseudonym for Dr J.A. Legrand. The February 1868 installment illustrated, for the first time that I was able to discover, the Dulos essay. Figure 3  is taken from The Stamp Collectors Magazine, a British journal which serialized a translation of the article. As can be seen, the illustration has a new appearance and differs in a clear way from the original design. No attempt was made to have an exact copy, only to illustrate.

During the nineteenth century there was considerable cooperation among European stamp journal publishers, and no one took the effort to make a new illustration when Moens could be borrowed. Hence Moens illustration found its way into other journals and dealers price lists. Moens himself was the largest European dealer for many years. In time the quality of the illustration deteriorated.
I note, for example, use of the Moens Dulos illustration in the following additional publications:
a) Arthur Maury´s catalog, Paris 1868 - excellent condition, as for figure 3
b) Moens catalog for 1884 - a photo could not be obtained, but the illustration shows some damage to the oval behind the head, though not as extensive as in figure 4. The vertical line at right is broken. The line over the O in ROMANA is not broken.
c) Moens catalog for1892 - figure 4;
d) the Romanian journal Timbrofilulof January 1893, published by the notorious Capt. C.M. Morolu
e) the German journal Der Philatelist of December 15, 1900, in an article "Probedruck, Essais, Proofs" by A. Reinheimer - figure 6

Comparisions of figure 2, the "type refait", and figures 3- 6 shows that the Moens illustration was used to make a new variety of the Dulos essay. I would venture to say that this variety was not known before 1893, based on the deteriorating condition of the illustrations. While Reinheimer does not make explicit mention of the variety in the above article, he does list color and paper varieties not recorded by Cohen or myself on the original. Reinheimer did make a distinction between the two types in his book "Kurzgefasste Beschreibung der Essay-Sammlung von Martin Schroeder" (Leipzig 1903 p 34)  ".. sehr feine Abzuge"  " demselben Typus aber weniger feiner Ausführung...) Schroeders collection was formed in the years 1893 - 1902. The "type refait" was also known in 1913 to G.B. Duerst, a British collector who wrote "Die Essais von Rumänien" in a publication of the Berliner Philatelisten Klub.
Can we establish who made the "type refait"? Probably not, but consider the splotch in the border behind Cuza´s head.
As shown in the catalogs, this damage is not seen in 1868, shows slightly in 1884 and is fully pronounced in 1892. In both figure 4 and 6  the upper border of the splotch is thick and dark. In both figures 2 and 5 the border is thinned out, as though an attempt had been made to remove it. This seems to point to Morolu as the manufacturer.
It is perhaps worth mentioning that there are other stamp-like reproductions of Moens illustrations. In my own collection are copies of the Moldavian Bulls, the 2 Parale Wonneberg printing of the Cuza stamp, on laid paper,  and the Kustend je-Czernavoda local post. It is also possible to tie the Wonneberg copy to the January 1893 issue of Timbrofilul.