New Hebrides - 1903 - SFNH - Bonnet Imitation
The Bonnet Imitation 1904 of the SFNH design


AUSTRALIAN STAMP MONTHLY 1950: Bonnet imitation.
 
Hals/Collas in their book "The New Hebrides - Postal Stamps and Their History", Collectors Club Handbook No. 20, New York 1967 mention an article by a W.J.D. Rochaix in the June 1950 Australian Stamp Monthly. Thanks to a member of the Australian STAMPBOARDS bulletin board, who made a copy for me. You can read the article here.

Bonnet article

An article written by detective Rochaix's son in 1950 about the Bonnet imitation.



Jean Pierre Rochaix died on 7 September 1920:
Rochaix notice

Sydney Morning Herald on Rochaix's death in 1920.



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From Hals/Collas: "About 1904 or 1905 an imitation of the design of the 5c. or 25c. label of the Syndicat Français, but with the denomination expressed as 15c. was made by one A. Bonnet. Although it followed the original, there were marked differences which were quite apparent."

The engraver A. Bonnet had been convicted in France for forgery and sentenced to life imprisonment on New Caledonia in 1893.
Paroled in 1904 he came to Australia and the imitations were made as a means of regaining his proficiency in the art of engraving. The original prints were in brown and imperforate with the engravers name "A.BONNET INV." below the lower left frame line.
The Sydney First-class Detective Jules Pierre Rochaix (1851-1920), came in possession of the block with which Bonnet printed the imitations. Rochaix was born in London from French parents, raised in France and came to Queensland in 1874. He made a couple of journeys in recruiting vessels to Fiji and the New Hebrides. Then he joined N.S.W. service from 1883 to 1911. He had been hired by the N.S.W. Government to deal with escaped New Caledonian convicts.

The black print

If this A. Bonnet had been a noted engraver in France before coming to New Caledonia he certainly knew how to produce fine prints with a good print block. Before I found the black print above and re-examined "Mele"'s copy I thought that these prints below were the original ones which I now doubt. They are very certainly made with the same print block but maybe by an amateur: maybe Jules Pierre Rochaix, the N.S.W. detective who got the print block in 1905 and retired in 1911 made them and they look handstruck whereas the two at top look like they were printed with a machine press. We will never know I guess.

Blocks of 6 were not known to Hals/Collas in 1967

 

 

Forgeries of the The Bonnet Imitation

 

bonnet imitation bonnet imitation bonnet imitation

Forgery of the Bonnet imitation
rubber stamp on ungummed paper, ex Jersey coll. (ex Goron coll.)

Forgery of the Bonnet imitation;
three sides
perforated, gummed paper
(ex Goron coll.)

ForgerY of the Bonnet imitation
on pink paper (ex Goron coll.)

bonnet imitation bonnet imitation bonnet imitation

Forgery of the Bonnet imitation
image thanks to Bob Downey.

Forgery of the Bonnet imitation;
image thanks to Bob Downey.

Forgery of the Bonnet imitation;
image thanks to Bob Downey.

 

bonnet imitation bonnet imitation

Forgeries of the Bonnet imitation
on blue paper, unrecorded (ex Goron coll.)

Forgeries of the Bonnet imitation
One black imprint on a piece of white paper (Klinger coll.)

 

bonnet imitation bonnet imitation

Forgeries of the Bonnet imitation
image thanks to Anatoly Chlenov, U.S.A.

Forgeries of the Bonnet imitation
image thanks to Anatoly Chlenov, U.S.A.

 

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