Valira Torrent - bulletin of the Andorran Philatelic Study Circle. Issue 3, p7 (Feb 1976).

Copyright notice

Spanish Andorra - The Provisional Issue of 1928 (Part 2)

by W.A.Jacques

I had intended to continue my article in Valira Torrent No. 1 by describing the forgeries pertaining to this issue. However, I have been fortunate in being able to study some more sheets and large blocks of the 2c/20c values inclusive and, as a result, I can now expand and elaborate on certain aspects mentioned in my first article.

Sheet Markings

Besides the black Andorran sheet (control) number at the top right corner many sheets also bear a Spanish sheet number at the top left corner of the sheet. These sheet numbers always appear to be in descending order in relation to the Andorran control numbers in ascending order, i.e. 5c value

Spanish No. Andorran No.
A022746 A000,110
A022745 A000,111
A022744 A000,112

These Spanish sheet numbers (up to 20c) are in red and are preceded by the prefix letter "A". However, not all sheets have Spanish sheet numbers, and it would seem that some of them have been guillotined off. The 1pta. value is known with Spanish sheet numbers in blue without the prefix "A".

A number of additional plate numbers have been seen and the full range recorded is now as follows:- 2c. plates 6, 8, 9, 13, 14 and 17: 5c. plates l, 2, 5, 7, 8, 10 and 12: 10c plates 5 and 11: 15c plates 3, 4, 5, and 11: 20c plates 2 and 4: 30c Plate 1: 50c plate 4: 1pta. plates l, 2 and 6: 4pta. plates 1 and 2: 10pta. plates 1 and 2.

The engraver sometimes marks the plate itself with a number and these numbers are to be seen centrally between the two inner screw marks at the top and bottom selvedges. These markings show as lightly embossed figures, the outlines being etched in the colour of the printed stamp. Some plates appear not to have these markings, but this may be because the relevant portion received no ink - as indeed it should not. The marking at the top of the sheet is usually inverted and that at the bottom of the sheet is reversed. The following engravers markings have been seen:-

plate top bottom
2c 9, 13, 14 apparently without marking
6 inverted 11 reversed 11
8 inverted 8 reversed 8
17 inverted 15 reversed 15
5c 1, 5, 7, 8 apparently without marking
2 sideways 4 sideways 4
10 inverted 13 reversed 13
12 inverted XXIV (not seen)
10c 5 apparently without marking
11 inverted 21 (not seen)
15c 11 apparently without marking
(but also seen with marking)
4 inverted 16 (not seen)
11 inverted 18 (not seen)
20c 2 inverted 12 (without?)
4 inverted 18 (not seen)
30c 1 inverted 20 (not seen)
50c 4 apparently without marking
1pta 2 apparently without marking

I had previously believed that each value of this series (ex the 25c) had been printed from two plates "side by side". However, thanks to the considerable help of my friend and colleague Derek Tanner, it now seems reasonable to assume that, at some stage, at least five plates were used side by side for the 2c and 5c values. This deduction has been made from a careful scrutiny of a number of sheets, especially in the co-ordination and co-relation of Spanish and Andorran sheet numbers and in conjunction with the plate numbers. (Oh dear, what a mouth full!) The plate number sequence of the 2c value is 6-14-9-13-8 and the 5c is 7-10-1-8-2. (It must be remembered that these sequences are not necessarily correct "in line" i.e. the 5c plate may have been arranged 10-1-8-2-7 and so on). It must be stressed that this five plate sequence is related directly only to the original unoverprinted Alfonso sheets of Spain. The five plate sequence is sometimes distorted in relation to the Andorran sheet numbers because of spoilage. There is strong evidence a few sheets were either damaged before, during, or after the overprint operation. Replacement sheets sometimes have an additional blue Spanish sheet number (without prefix) at the left of the sheet and, as these sheets were pulled from a reserved stock, they tend to bear a plate number outside the sequence.

1928 Overprint Varieties
1928 overprint varieties
  description position (C = constant)
1 Missing north west dot R3/6, R4/6 C
2 Missing south west dot R5/1, R6/1 C
3 Blurred "RR" of ANDORRA R1/6 R1/7 C
4 Broken "ANDORRA" R6/3 C
varies from slight to extreme (illustrated)
5 Broken "AND" of ANDORRA R6/4 C
varies from slight to extreme (illustrated)
6 Broken 1st "R" of ANDORRA "ANDOFRA" R10/5
Broken Rule (top) Minor Breaks
7 R6/1, R9/10 8 R2/6 9 R8/2 10 R2/8 C 11 R1/5, R1/10, R2/5
Broken Rule (top) Major Break
11A R1/10
Broken Rule (bottom) Minor Breaks
12 R6/9, R7/1 13 R5/2 C 14 R5/1 C 15B R10/7 C 16 R10/10
Broken Rule (bottom) Major Breaks
15A R5/3 C 15B R10/7 C

Varieties. 2c to 20c inclusive perf 13½x12½

A number of collectors have asked me to illustrate the better varieties that are to be found on the overprints. This I have attempted to do (see illustrations above) and I have also included the minor breaks etc. as they are not without interest and if I do not mention them I would soon be told about them!

The varieties Nos. 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 10, 13, 14, 15A and 15B are constant on all the sheets that I have examined and the majority of the other varieties occur on most sheets that I have seen. The 5c value seems to show more frame breaks then any other value. Some varieties, perhaps, need a little further description. The Blurred "RR" of "ANDORRA"(3) is particularly noticeable on Rl/7 and, to a lesser extent, on R1/6. The degree of variation in the extent of the damage to "ANDORRA" (4) on R6/3 is considerable. On some sheets only damage to the letters "A" are seen, but on others, as illustrated, the whole word is badly broken from End to end. The same comments apply also to the variety on the adjacent stamp (5). The "ANDOFRA" variety (6) is not constant but I have little doubt that it can be found on all the low values. The broken upper rule (11A) can be found on many sheets and this seems to be of a progressive nature. It ranges from just a nick in the rule to a large break; and where there is a large break it seems that either one or both the dots (north east and south east) in the dots-dash motif may be missing too. The broken lower rule (15B) varies from small to large. It would seem to be of a progressive nature also. The broken rule (15A) has been seen on the 10pta. value with specimen control.

Perforations (13xl2½ comb)

Generally, the vertical perforations extend one hole into both the top and the bottom margins. However, a top marginal piece of the 1pta. shows no extension - I have not seen the bottom margin. There is no extension into the left margin by the horizontal perforations on any sheets that I have seen, but the right margin extends to thirteen or fourteen holes. The thirteen hole extensions were seen on the 50c, 1pta, 4pta and 10pta values. I have written these short notes on extensions just for the record and without comments, as I need to see many more marginal pieces before attempting any definite conclusions.

(to be continued)

Part 1

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