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Valira Torrent - bulletin of the Andorran Philatelic Study Circle. Issue 39, pp3-4 (Apr 1994).
As you all will be aware by now, the APSC reaches its twentieth Anniversary this year. Because of this I thought it would be interesting to look back through the Minutes Book, and record some of the main events of the twenty years.
The Inaugural Meeting was held on the 20th April 1974 at Caxton Hall in London. Present on that occasion were Messrs W. Hughes, D. Tanner, D. Lamb, E. Jewell, A.Jacques, K. Mannaberg and Mrs E. Jacques. Señora Picart, the Andorran Representative in London, also attended together with her husband Mr Francis. Mr Hughes was elected First Sindic, and it was agreed to hold an annual meeting in April each year.
An early blow to the Circle came in February 1975, with the death of Bill Hughes. A knowledgeable expert on Andorra, he was instrumental in getting the circle established.
On the other hand, an early boost to the Circle came with the publication of "Andorra/Andorre" by Alec Jacques. This handbook brought together in one place a wealth of knowledge about Andorra, its postal services and stamps. Alec's book received a Silver Medal at Stampex in 1976.
A stalwart of the circle over the years has been Bill Bent. Beginning in 1976, when he proposed a competition for a Circle emblem (won by David Lamb), he has been involved in various developments. He produced the current front cover for the "Torrent", which has been published twice yearly since January 1975 under the capable editorship of Alec Jacques. It was Bill again who produced an index for the first sixteen issues of the "Torrent". In 1982 he proposed the setting-up of a "Bill Hughes Memorial Award", which was to be presented for the best article appearing in the "Torrent". Bill said he would provide the prize and has continued to do so. Originally an annual event, it is now bi-annual so as to allow more articles to be included. Since its first award in 1983 to Carlos Romo (USA), Alec Jacques and John Wilson-Smith have each won the award twice. Fittingly, Bill was the last recipient in 1992, a tribute to another aspect of his work for the Circle. Recently, Bill has been working hard to set up the Reference Library, which also was another of his suggestions. Bill was also Sindic on our tenth anniversary.
In 1978, Secretary Mrs E. Jacques presented the Circle with the "Jacques Shield". The Shield was to be awarded annually at the AGM for the best competition entry on "Andorra" - philatelic or non-philatelic. Since the first competition in 1979, Alec Jacques and David Lamb have each won the trophy on four occasions.
At the AGM in 1980 it was decided to hold an Autumn Meeting. This took place in Birmingham that November. Since then it has become a regular feature.
Under the new rules adopted in 1978, Honorary members could be elected. Consequently, in 1979, Derek Tanner became the first Honorary member. Derek had a wealth of knowledge about Andorra and its philately. His untimely death in July 1982 was a big blow to the Circle.
Also in 1982, members found a free gift in the "Torrent". This was the "Douchet" sheet produced by the Vegueria Episcopal. The gift was supplied by member Roy Dehn.
In 1983, a small auction was held for the first time at the Autumn Meeting, and this has now become a feature of both this meeting and the AGM. 1989 saw the first major postal auction, now also a regular feature.
In 1987 Mr John Wilson-Smith presented the Circle with a new symbol, crossed Andorran flags mounted on a wooden block, for use at meetings. Two years later members were able to purchase a Circle tie.Two highlights of the last twenty years have been the meetings held at the International Stamp Exhibitions in London in 1980 and 1990. At Philympia, Earls Court in 1980 we welcomed four overseas members - Ernesto Fink (Mexico), Herman Herst (USA), Ray Dixon (Canada) and Paul Battesti (France), along with Marcel Pichon of Philandorre. In 1990, on a very hot day, we welcomed Ernesto Fink again, together with Clinton Geiser (France), Bostjan Petauer (Yugoslavia), Felix Albe (France) and Felix Ganz (USA) - the latter who unfortunately died later that year. A surprise was the visit of Pere Mateu, President of Philandorre, and his wife. Both meetings were very successful.
On the "international front" in 1984, John Bodman and Kurt Mannaberg were invited to meet the Andorran Minister of Tourism in London. They mounted a stamp display which provided a focal point for the meeting. Members have also contributed to a series of articles in an American stamp magazine on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the French Post Office in Andorra. This followed the articles in "Stamp Collecting" in 1978.
So, a lot has happened in the last twenty years! What will the next twenty bring?
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