Valira Torrent - bulletin of the Andorran Philatelic Study Circle. Issue 6, pp8-9 (Nov 1977).
(Yvert 111, Gibbons F122, Jacques 151, 151a)
The study of the printing of stamps issued by the French Bureau of Andorra between 1940 and 1948 shows that a large diversity of papers and gums has been used and this makes these issues very interesting to study.
Among all these stamps (and except perhaps for the 4f50 "Chapelle de Meritxell" of the previous issue) none is more interesting than the 6f stamp "General view of Andorra la Vella", issued on November 1st 1945, which was valid until July 25th 1948, when it was reprinted in a purple brown shade.
This stamp, first issued as a complementary value, had relatively little postal use at first. Later, on 8th July, 1947, the stamp prepaid the ordinary letter of less than 20 grams, (inland rates) and did so until September 21st, 1948 when the rate for the ordinary letter became 10 francs.
The demand for it between 1st November, 1945 (1st day of issue) and July 25th, 1948 (date of withdrawal) was such that no less then three printings were necessary.
These show, in addition to important differences in papers and gums, some very noticeable shades in the colouring; so much so that they are immediately recognisable even by an ill-informed philatelist.
The first printing of the stamp took place on July, 19th 1945. The paper is of a greyish white, quite porous, relatively thin and letting through the design of the subject at the back of the stamp. The gum is smooth, yellowish and a little shiny. The colour of the stamp is carmine pink becoming "greenish" pink towards the end of the printing on July 20th 1945.
The second printing of the stamp is in fact the issue of a new
stamp, completely but involuntarily different from the one printed on
the 19th and 20th July, 1945. It took place on September, 20th 1947 and
shows the following characteristics:-
The paper used is slightly ivory white, very fine and of good quality. For the first time the number of the press 11 shows under the 24th stamp of the sheet. The stamp subject shows clearly at the back. The gum is glossy, bright and slightly ivory. Above all, the colour is remarkable; the stamp is of very bright red and this colour is accentuated towards the end of the printing and becomes nearly scarlet. This shade is entirely different from the original printing, so much so that one could think it is a different stamp rather than a variety of colour.
The third printing, dated 4th February, 1948, is different yet
again from the first two by the following features:-
The paper is very white, of excellent quality and thicker than the paper of the second printing. The gum is very glossy, very bright and of a perfect white. The design is not visible at the back. The colour is bright carmine red, less intense than the second printing. As a result of excess inking or a wiping fault, many examples of the stamps of the lower row of the sheet show, outside the frame in the bottom left corner, a bar of carmine red underlining the signature of the designer (Lucas).
This stamp, in the non-perforated form of which 250 are known to exist, shows the characteristics of the first printing as far as the paper, gum and colour are concerned.
In the épreuve de-luxe edition, of which there are 125 examples, there are the same characteristics of the first edition with, however, a colour which is a little brighter and closer to a bright scarlet pink.
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