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Valira Torrent:   Contents | Subject index


Perforation image from Serif Art Gallery. © Serif Inc, 1996

Valira Torrent - bulletin of the Andorran Philatelic Study Circle. Issue 22, pp1,7 (Nov 1985).

Copyright notice

Book Reveiw
"Andorra - Andorre, 1985 supplement and price Guide" by W.A.Jacques.

32 pages and published by Robson Lowe Ltd., 47 Duke Street, London.

In bulletin No.1 of our Circle the late Bill Hughes, one of the prime movers behind our creation, wrote of the forthcoming publication of Alec Jacques' book, and said how eagerly its appearance was awaited. "While others dreamed of such a book" he said, "it was Alec who put his head down and did it". These words are as true today as when they were written some ten years ago, and no rival edition containing such a wealth of responsible and authoritative information has appeared anywhere in the interim. With the passage of time it was inevitable that a distillation of the additional information that had been accumulated in subsequent years required publication in the form of a supplement, and so once again Alec has "put his head down" and produced the long awaited volume. It is in the same format as the original book, and is printed on similar paper to the same high standard. It does not seek to deal with any stamps issued after 1971 (the date limit of the original book) but concentrates on amplification of the knowledge up to that time.

The work is divided into four parts, covering the issues of the Spanish P.O., the French P.O., postal History, and a guide to prices respectively.

The section dealing with the Spanish P.O. gives a new list of 1928 plate numbers, comprehensive details of constant varieties (with diagram) and a revised note of Specimens. The 1932 abortive airmail issue is the subject of an excellent resume of all that is known on this topic, and is accompanied by two superb photographs taken at the airfields at Els Inferns and Seo de Urgel. Some constant varieties and numbers printed etc., are also given for issues up to 1966 and clear illustrations are also provided. The question of forgeries, without which no collection of Andorra could be complete is further clarified, with good reproductions of the infamous A000,000 "specimen control numbers". Details are given of Spanish stamps officially sold in Andorra la Vella, an area where the truth has often been hard to determine due to a certain amount of "philatelic enterprise" in years past.

The French P.O. similarly yields a number of constant varieties of overprint of the first issue, together with forgeries, though these are few in comparison to those of the Spanish P.O. Useful information is given on the "Retables" issues, guaranteed to enlighten even the poorest Bible scholar amongst us. Proofs and essays are dealt with at some length - a particularly difficult area where one is never sure what actually exists.

The section on postal History mainly confines itself to the varieties of the 1961 "Premier Jour" cancellations which are clearly illustrated and described.

The price guide appears to be a fair reflection of current retail values and confirms that, amid the turmoil of the last few years and the never-ending excesses which now threaten the philatelic world, Andorra retains and expands its solid worth.

Alec Jacques is, as always, generous in his recognition of the help he has received, and it is particularly pleasing to see the international nature of the fraternity of Andorraphiles upon whom he has been able to rely.

In conclusion one can only say that this supplement, ably edited by James Negus, is a worthy companion to the original volume, compiled with great care and precision, and must be an invaluable addition to the philatelic library of any Andorran collector.

D.C.L.

It is available by post direct from the author, Alec Jacques, as follows:- 1) The original book, together with the 1985 Supplement, all bound into one book - price £8 (+ postage inland £1; Europe p/p surface mail £1.10; USA p/p airmail £4, p/p surface mail £1.10). 2) The Supplement only £3 (post inland 30p; Europe 35p; USA p/p airmail 90p; p/p surface 35p)

(Note: For current price and availability see W. A. Jacques's price list)

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Andorran Philatelic Study Circle / Hon. Librarian: E. J. Jewell / apsc@free.fr /
Updated 4th September 1998