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Valira Torrent:   Contents | Subject index

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

Valira Torrent - bulletin of the Andorran Philatelic Study Circle. Issue 43, pp11-14 (Mar 1996).

Copyright notice

French Bureau
Proofs, Essays and Imperforates (Part 7)

by David Lamb & Alec Jacques

Commemoratives 1962 - 1994

(Yv 165 - 453)

General Comments

As this period spans some thirty-two years, we hope that readers will understand that our knowledge on various points is a little thin on the ground. During the period, some interesting changes took place:

  1. Die Proofs - some issues printed on the TD6 presses, and in particular the large size "paintings" stamps, were issued in pairs, one "positive" and one "negative".
  2. Colour Trials - these trials, printed in sheets of twenty-five or ten stamps, are not known after the end of 1982.
  3. De Luxe Proofs - these were discontinued at the end of 1991, and were replaced by the "Blocs Gommés".

Die Proofs

It is expected that die proofs exist for all the commemoratives that were printed by recess (taille-douce); however, they will not exist for stamps printed by other methods, i.e. photogravure or offset litho. Each die proof has a total edition of eighteen examples, and each bears the official embossed seal inscribed "IMPRIMERIE DES TIMBRES-POSTE / CONTROLE". The proofs are to be found struck in black or other colours. The majority of the proofs seem to lack the engraver's name on the stamp design itself, although the proof is signed in pencil by the engraver in the usual way.

After the introduction of the six-colour (TD6) printing presses, die proofs for some of the stamps printed on these presses exist as "twin" die proofs, giving either "positive" or "negative" impressions (see colour page illustrations). Two separate dies are needed, and two separate proofs exist, because the six-colour presse prints three colours directly from the printing plate onto the paper, and three more colours by offset which requires an intermediate roller. The first die, for the main part of the design, is thus engraved "in reverse" to print a normal, positive impression. The second die, for the background, is engraved "positively" and thus produces a negative impression (as in the die proof) which subsequently becomes positive when transferred to the paper via the intermediate roller. It follows, therefore, that only those stamps printed on the TD6 presses and using the offset facility, will require two dies and thus provide twin proofs, i.e. - Yv 264; those printed without using the offset procedure will need only one die, i.e. - Yv 315.


Single proofs
Yv 165/203, 205/10, 212/6, 219/25, 228, 242, 248/57, 261/3, 265/70, 272, 274, 276/7, 280/5, 288/9, 291/3, 296, 298/304, 306/15, 326/33, 338/41, 345, 348/9, 352/4, 358/9, 364, 368/72, 377/80, 382/3, 385, 388/9, 398/400, 405/8, 430.
Twin proofs
Yv 264, 271, 273, 278, 290, 297, 305, 325, 334, 344, 363, 375, 384, 386, 392, 393/4, 395/6, 402/3, 412, 415/7, 423/4, 439/40.

Colour Trials

Colour Trials (similar to those illustrated on the colour page of Bulletin No 40) could exist for all stamps printed by the recess method. These would be in either sheets of twenty-five or ten, as per the issued stamps. Trials of the miniature sheet issued to mark the First Official Exhibition of Andorran Stamps (Yv 304 / Bloc 1) are also known. These are in large sheets, approx 30.00 x 23.30cm, comprising four mini-sheets and were printed on the TD6-7 Presse with coin-daté 6/8/82.

Colour Trials (essais de couleur) can sometimes be found with annotated colour reference numbers. Commemoratives pre 1965 have the old type numbers, whilst those of 1965 and later have the newer style numbers (see pages 6/7 of Bulletin No 35).

Colour trials with old and new types of reference

Colour Trials, previously distributed to favoured persons, and thus subsequently on the philatelic market, are not seen after 1982. Whether they are still produced, but retained only in the official archives, is not known.


Yv 165/203, 205/10, 212/6, 219/25, 228, 237/9, 242, 248/57, 261/74, 276/8, 280/5, 288/93, 296/309.

De Luxe Proofs

These exist for all commemoratives issued up to the end of 1991, when they were replaced by the "blocs gommés". The earlier proofs have the official control punch (page 9, Bulletin No 35), but this was discontinued in 1967 with the exception of the Automatic Telephone stamp (Yv 182), which had been printed the previous year.

The inscriptions on the épreuves de luxe are as follows:-

c) Yv 165/203, 205/8.
d)Yv 209/296.
e) Yv 297/315, 325/34, 338/45, 348/55, 358/65, 367/86, 388/9, 392/408, 412.
Multiple Proofs

A number of "épreuves collectives" exist, usually - but not exclusively - for the Europa issues.


single proofs
(with control punch)
Yv 165/78; 182.
single proofs
(without control punch)
Yv 179/81; 183/203; 205/315; 325/34; 338/45; 348/55; 358/65; 367/86; 388/9; 392/408; 412.
multiple proofs
(without control punch)
Yv 179/80; 188/9; 194/5; 202/3; 212/3; 224/5; 226/7; 237/8; 243/4; 253/4; 261/2; 265/6; 269/70; 276/7; 284/5; 292/3; 300/01; 302/3; 306/7; 311/2; 313/4; 329/30; 331/2; 339/40; 348/9; 358/9; 369/70; 378/9; 388/9; 402/3; 416/7**
** Although the de luxe proofs were replaced by bloc gommés in 1992, it would seem that the 1992 Europa "épreuve collective" was on thick paper without gum and, as such, it is therefore listed as an épreuve de luxe.

Blocs Gommés

These proofs are of a similar nature to the épreuves de luxe, except that they are usually printed on gummed paper, similar to that used for the issued stamps.

Multiple Proofs

Multiple Proofs again exist for the Europa issues. The 1993 Europa issue (Yv 430/1) is remarkable in that both values are printed by offset litho, whilst the single proofs were printed by recess (2f50) and offset litho (3f40) as, indeed, were the issued stamps.

Lack of subject, material makes listings of these issues very difficult, and further information from members would be most welcome.


single proofsYv 413/35; 438/53
multiple proofsYv 430/1; 436/7; 444/5


Imperforates exist of all commemorative stamps and are on gummed paper. From 1962 to 1965 (Yv 165/74) these were in normal sheets of twenty-five stamps. However, from 1966 (Yv 175/6 onwards) these appeared in special presentation sheetlets of four (fully described on pages 9 & 10, Bulletin No 35).

There was an exception to this change of format, however, which concerned those stamps issued as triptychs (Yv 224/5, 302/3 etc) and the miniature sheet (Yv 304). The former appeared in blocks comprising a pair of triptychs, and the latter as a simple imperforate miniature sheet.

The margins of these presentation sheetlets that were recess printed may also show albino part-impressions of the stamp (Bulletin No 35). This does not occur, of course, where the stamps are printed by photogravure or offset litho.


Yv 165/203; 205/315; 325/34; 338/45; 348/55; 358/65; 367/86; 388/9; 392/408; 412/34; 438/53.

NOTE: We must express our particular thanks to our good friends of Philandorre, MM Dupré and Louviau, for their continuing help in the compilation of these articles.

Part 8

"Blason" Booklet Stamps

(Yv 366; 387; 409; 435).

Booklet stamp

Die Proofs

These exist for all values.


Yv 366 dull red EA; 387; 409; 435.

De Luxe Proofs


Yv 366; 387; 409.

Blocs Gommés

Yv 435.


These stamps were not issued imperforate.

Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 | Part 5 | Part 6

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The colour illustration which follows was included in the Valira Torrent as part of the celebration of the 20th anniversary of APSC. High resolution (600 dpi) printed copies can be purchased from APSC. It can also be supplied as a compressed file on floppy disk. For more information see APSC 20th Anniversary Souvenirs

Positive and negative die proofs of Yv 278,
 Engraved by G. Betemps (33KB)

Andorran Philatelic Study Circle / Hon. Librarian: E. J. Jewell / apsc@free.fr /
Updated 29th September 1998