Valira Torrent - bulletin of the Andorran Philatelic Study Circle. Issue 13, p11 (March 1981).

Copyright notice

Spanish Andorra 1980 Christmas Issue

10ptas

by W. A. Jacques

22ptas

Two values were issued on 12th December showing reconstructed Frescoes from the church of Sant Roman dels Vilars (see note). This church, which has been in ruins for a great number of years, and which is believed to date back to the 10th century, is not far from the better known site of the Pont dels Escalls near Les Escaldes.

The 10pta. value depicts the Nativity and is printed in sheets of 80 (10x8). Two very good shades exist of this value, the earlier numbered sheets being in much deeper colours than later sheets. These earlier sheets also differ to later sheets in that they have four sets of control numbers in the sheet margins, whereas higher numbered sheets have only two sets of numbers. All sheets examined have an inverted control number, prefix A, in green at the top left corner. All sheets have a sheet number in black at the top right corner, but on the earlier sheets (i.e. 0006426) this sheet number is inverted, whereas later sheets (i.e. 0012457) the sheet number is upright or normal. On the lower numbered sheets there are two additional numbers - one in red at the bottom of the right margin adjacent to the last stamp of the sheet, and the other being situate in the bottom margin below the first stamp of the last row. This latter number in black and inverted. A surprising addition to the margins are two screw marks both located at the right of sheet, one in the top corner and the other in the bottom corner.

The 22pta value shows the Epiphany and is printed in sheets of 80 (8x10) and, again shades exist - sometimes even within the same sheet. The sheets I have seen have only two control numbers; the sheet number in black (upright) in the top right corner, and the green prefix A control number situated at the top of the right margin opposite stamps Rl/8 and R2/8. These sheets also show two screw marks, one situated in each corner of the bottom margin.

There are at least three quite pronounced colour varieties, apparantly due to inking cylinder faults. On the sheets examined those sheets having an odd sheet number (i.e. 000141, 000487) have two colour varieties. On row 3/7 (stamp no. 23) the apparel of the Wise Man on the left of stamp is yellowish instead of brownish orange, and the bushes (trees?) behind him are yellow green instead of dark green. Row 6/8 (stamp no. 48) shows a very striking colour variety. The legs and lower part of dress below the shawl of the Wise Man on the right, and the floor are yellow instead of brownish orange. Also the hem on the man's dress and the stripes on the floor are yellow green instead of darkish green. It is noticeable that, with this variety only, the Wise Man's left leg always has a red "Garter" at the top. Sheets with even numbers (i.e. 0006464, 0006466) have only the one colour variety. On row 9/7 (stamp no. 71) the colour of the chest (table?) is yellowish green instead of orange brown; the adjacent lower folds of Mary's dress are light green instead of dark green; the portion of floor beneath chest is yellow instead of orange brown and, finally (!) the bottom drop of Mary's wrap is almost devoid of colour, instead of reddish brown.

All these varieties of colour would seem to be caused by the lack of red screening dots in the relevant places.

I would greatly appreciate members findings and comments on this issue so that a more complete report can be published in a future bulletin.

Note

The spelling Sant Roman dels Vilars is the inscription used on the top margin of the sheet of stamps. It is one of a number of instances of hybrids of Catalan and Spanish found on the stamps of the Spanish bureau. In Catalan it should be Sant Romà

Chapel of St Romà dels Vilars

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Updated 25 December 1998