APSC logo

The Andorran Philatelic Study Circle welcomes all those interested in the stamps and postal history of Andorra

Take a look at our Information Page

For general philatelic sites try our Links page

If you haven't found the information you wanted E-mail us.
We might be able to help.

Valira Torrent:   Contents | Subject index

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

Valira Torrent - bulletin of the Andorran Philatelic Study Circle. Issue 12, pp7-9 (October 1980).

Copyright notice


It is proposed to publish an illustrated check-list of all the known types of Andorran postmarks in the next few issues of the Torrent, and we commence with those of the Spanish Postal Administration. In view of the illustrations it is considered unnecessary to give detailed descriptions of the differences between similar types except in two or three instances, and the notes have been abbreviated as far as possible, being mainly confined to the approximate periods of use. As official information is lacking as to the exact dates of introduction and withdrawal of the various types, and some markings - such as those for insured mail and giros are infrequently encountered, it is hoped that all members will cooperate in this study by reporting any known earlier or later dates of use than those shown. While it is believed that all postmarks in use prior to June 1980 have been included, the possibility of the existence of some short-lived and unrecorded type can never be ruled out, and information concerning any unlisted cancellation would be greatly appreciated. Forgeries are known to exist of several postmarks, and as it is proposed to deal with these in a separate article. Information would be equally appreciated concerning cancellations varying significantly from the illustrations, most of which have been reproduced from actual examples and are reasonably accurate allowing for minor variations due to the inevitable retouching of poor strikes and the vagaries of photocopying machines.

Here we illustrate and describe the postmarks of the Head Office at Andorra la Vieja. The Agencies will be shown in the next bulletin.

Postmarks of the Head Office in Andorra la Vella which opened on the 1st January 1928

Ordinary postmarks
Ordinary, types 1-5
 Type 1 was in use from 1.1.1928 until 31.12.1959.
 2 was first used on 13.2.1954 and remained in use until circa 1972 - 1973.
 3 came into use in 1972 or 1973 and continued to be used until June 1976 when all date-stamps inscribed in Spanish were withdrawn and replaced by new ones showing the name of the office in Catalan.
 4 in use from June 1976. Catalan inscription.
 5 was not used in Andorra but by the Philatelic Service, Madrid, to meet orders for used sets of Andorra stamps. The earliest date seen is 21.3.1974, on stamps of the "Customs" issue of 1972, but it may have been in use earlier. Although inscribed in Spanish it remained in use after the official adoption of the Catalan name of the capital, examples dated 20.12.1977 being found on the Christmas stamps of that year.
II  Registered Mail Postmarks
Registered, types 1-4
 Type 1 was in use from 1.1.1928 until 31.12.1959.
 2 was introduced in September 1960 but the date-stamp was withdrawn after only a few months - before 5.4.1961 - because of the error ("LERIDA") in the wording.
 3 was in use by 5.4.1961 and remained in use until June 1976.
 4 in use from June 1976. Catalan inscription.
III  Money Orders (Giros) (These marks are to be found on stamps which have been affixed
to the Giro form to prepay a short message or greeting.)
Giros, types 1-5
 Type 1 was in use from 1.1.1928 until late 1959.
 2 was in use in 1960 (? from September) but was withdrawn circa March 1961 owing to the erroneous inclusion of "LERIDA" in the inscription.
 3 was in use in 1961, probably from March. The latest date seen is 18.12.1964 but it possibly remained in use until a much later date.
 4 is, in fact, a modified form of Type 2, the name "LERIDA" having been filed away from the base-plate of the date-stamp along with part of the ridge (which causes the absence of a frame-line below the date in the postmark - see illustration.) The date-stamp was used in this modified form from at least March 1975, possibly earlier, and probably continued to be used until June 1976.
 5 in use from June 1976. Catalan inscription.
IV Insured Mail Type 1 in use from 1.1.1928 until June 1976 (?).
(Few examples seen: confirmation wanted.)
Insured mail, types 1-2
2 in use from June 1976 - Catalan inscription - but the date-stamp was out of service, due to a broken mechanism, by March 1978 and had neither been repaired nor replaced in April 1980. (Examples of the postmark dated 31.3.80 as illustrated were provided by favour; the canceller was not in service.)
Postal Savings Bank
Savings Bank, types 1-2 Type 1 in use from 1.1.1928 until June 1976 (?). (This is not, strictly speaking, a "postmark", being for use on forms and documents connected with Savings Bank transactions, but it was applied to registered mail for some months in 1960 when no appropriate canceller was available.)
2 in use from June 1976. Catalan inscription.
Official VI "Official"
Presumably introduced in June1976, the office name being in Catalan, this mark is for official or administrative use, but it is reported to have been used as a canceller on Insured Mail owing to the appropriate date-stamp being unusable.
Machine Type 1 VII  Machine Cancellations
Type 1 was used from 20.12.1958 until June 1976.
Type 2 in use from June 1976. Catalan inscription. Machine Type 2
Roller cancellation VIII  Roller Cancellation
Presumably introduced in June 1976, or shortly after, in view of the Catalan inscription.

Part 2 - Spanish - Agencies, First Day and Special

Articles index | Home Page

Andorran Philatelic Study Circle / Hon. Librarian: E. J. Jewell / apsc@free.fr /
Updated 8 August 1998