A is for Aden and Z is for Zanzabar

A is for Aden and Z is for Zanzibar... Now what is between? For the world wide classical era philatelist and stamp collector, a country specific philatelic survey is offered with two albums: Big Blue, aka Scott International Part 1 (checklists available), and Deep Blue, aka William Steiner's Stamp Album Web PDF pages. Interested? So into the Blues...

Tuesday, February 15, 2011


1932-39 French Scott 24 2c violet "Chapel of Meritxell"
Quick History
Andorra provides for the Stamp Collector two stamp issues (Spanish Administration and French Administration) for the price of one country. It has been a co-principality since 1278; the president of France and the Bishop of Urgell, Catalonia,Spain sharing control. Andorra ( population 5000 in ~1935) is located in the Pyrenees Mountains between Spain and France, and Andorra La Vela has the highest elevation (1023 meters) of any European capital. The official language is Catalan, and today tourism accounts for 80% of the GDP.

Trivia: Andorra declared war on Germany during WW1, but did not actually fight. This remained in effect until 1957 as Andorra was not part of the Treaty of Versailles.

1940 Scott 53A 1.50fr crimson 
"Gorge of St. Julia"
Into the Deep Blue
The 2011 Scott Classic Specialized catalogue has, for Andorra 1928-1943, 40 major numbers for the Spanish administration, and 109 major numbers for the French administration. Total = 149 major descriptive numbers. Of those, 44 are CV <$1-$1+, or 29%. Andorra is somewhat expensive for the WW classical collector.

A closer look at the stamps and issues
100 Centimos = 1 Peseta
100 Centimes = 1 Franc
Spanish Administration
1928 Scott 3 10c green "King Alfonso XIII"
Stamps of Spain, 1922-26, overprinted in Red or Black
The 12 stamp Spanish administration issue of 1928 is overprinted, as shown above. Scott has a note that the stamps tend to be poorly centered. I suspect that the Spanish postal authorities took their worst stamps, and overprinted them for Andorra. ;-) Six of the stamps have a CV <$1-$3+. Of note, is that Scott also lists a perf 14 minor number issue for 1928  (16 stamps) that is rather expensive.

Spanish Administration
1937 Scott 25 2c red brown "La Vall"
There is a Spanish administration 1929 12 stamp issue that has control numbers on the back and is Perf 14. This issue had five designs, including the one pictured above. There is also a 8 stamp minor issue with control numbers on the back found between the years 1931-38 with Perf 11 1/2. Clearly, one will need to pay attention to perforations here.

Between 1936-43, a 14 stamp issue without control numbers and Perf 11 1/2 X 11 was released. An example is shown above.

French Administration
1931 Scott 2 2c red brown "Liberty, Equality, Fraternity"
Stamps and Types of France 1900-29, Overprinted
Meanwhile the French administration had their own stamp issues. The first one was released in 1931, and used 22 overprinted French stamps from 1900-29. Six of them have CV $1+-$5+.

1932 Scott 27 10c dull lilac "Bridge of St. Anthony"
A lovely long (56 stamps!) French administration issue was released between 1932-43, and had five designs.

 Pont de Sant Antoni de la Grella 
The Pont de Sant Antoni de la Grella is a Romanesque bridge south of the village of Anyos, and still exists! My desire to visit Andorra just went up 1000%.   ;-)

1940 Scott 46A 80c blue green 
"Gorge of St. Julia"
The 1932-43 issue is interesting, because some are inexpensive, while others are quite expensive. The 80c blue green pictured above is CV <$1. While another "Gorge of St. Julia" stamp, the 1933 Scott 54 1.75fr violet is @ $100+!

1940 Scott 60A 3fr red brown 
"Chapel of Meritxell'
Our Lady of Meritxell is the patron saint of Andorra. However, the chapel pictured on these stamps burned down in 1972. My!...what a peaceful scene!

Postage Due 1931 Scott J9 1c olive green
On French Stamps of 1927-31
Postage due stamps from France - here 1927-31- were overprinted as shown. The CV for this seven stamp issue ranges up to $200+!

Deep Blue
French Administration 1936-42 "Coat of Arms" Issue in Deep Blue
Deep Blue (Steiner) has 13 pages for Andorra, and has a space for all the major Scott numbers. In addition, Deep Blue has spaces for the Spanish administration 1875 "Coat of Arms" issue ( Found in the Edifil Spanish catalogue), and the Spanish administration 1931-34 perf 11 1/2 minor number stamps.

1929 Spanish Scott 13 2c olive green "La Vall"
Big Blue picture
On one page, Big Blue(1969) has 16 Spanish stamp spaces and 22 French stamp spaces ( 17 illustrated/descriptive and 5 blank) for a total of 38 stamp spaces.

The 2011 Scott specialized catalogue has 36 stamp descriptions for Spanish stamps, and 60 stamp descriptions ( up to and including 1940) for French stamps for a total of 96 stamp descriptions.

Big Blue has 44% coverage for Spanish stamps, 37% for French stamps and 40% total coverage.

A closer look.....

Spanish Administration Stamps

I wonder if Scott really mean to put a $65, or possibly a $160 valued stamp in there, as there is an alternative for $2+. Let's take a closer look.

Here is the 1929 series that is illustrated/described in Big Blue.

1929 Perf 14 Control numbers on back

Scott 13 (La Vall-A1)  2c olive green (<$1)
Scott 14 (St Juan de Caselles-A2) 5c carmine lake ($1+)
Scott 15 (St Julia de Loria-A3) 10c yellow green ( $2+)
Scott 16 (St Coloma-A4) 15c slate green ($2+)
Scott 17 (A3) 20c violet ($2+)
Scott 18 (A4) 25c carmine rose ($5+)
Scott 19 (A1) 30c olive brown ($160 mint) !!! ( described in Big Blue as 30c olive brown)
Scott 19a 30c olive brown ($65) Note: a 1933 issue
Scott 20 (A2) 40c dark blue ($2+)
Scott 21(A3) 50c deep orange ($2+) ( not in Big Blue, but perhaps could be substituted for Scott 19)

Here is the 1936 series-same illustrations, but usually in different colors and some different denominations- that is not in Big Blue.

1936-43 Perf 11.5 X 11 Without control numbers (Note: I'm not including any stamps published after 1940)

Scott 25 (A1) 2c red brown ($1+)
Scott 26 (A2) 5c dark brown ($1+)
Scott 27 (A3) 10c blue green ($2+)
Scott 28 (A4) 15c blue green ($2+)
Scott 29 (A3) 20c violet ($2+)
Scott 30 (A4) 25c deep rose ($2+)
Scott 31 (A1) 30c carmine ($2+) Use as a substitute?
Scott 32 (A1) 45c rose red ($1+)
Scott 34 (A1) 60c deep blue ($2+)

It would have been nice if the 1936 series have been included in Big Blue.

But the big question- Did Scott mean to include a $65 or possibly a $160 stamp for an album that originally was meant for "Juniors"?  The Scott 19 30c olive brown is included in the 1941 Junior album I have.

Let's take a look at the valuation for the 30c olive brown in my 1947 Scott standard catalog: 75 cents.
Well perhaps Scott may be forgiven a little, as that would be a valuation of about $25 today. Still expensive, but clearly there has been an escalation in the price.

So what are the choices for the Big Blue collector?
1) Bite the bullet and put Scott 19 into the album where it belongs ($160)-since this actually fits the "intention" best.
1a) Put the 19a issue in-only $65, but a 1933 issue.
2) Substitute another stamp from the 1929 series into the space: suggest Scott 21 ($2+)
3) Substitute the 1936 series same denomination Scott 30c carmine into the space. ($2+)
4) Leave blank. ;-)

Personally, I will likely choose 2), as I like to keep the same series together.

I did not find any additional Spanish stamps( using a $4 cutoff)  that could (should) have been in Big Blue, other than the 1936 series already discussed.

French Administration Stamps

The problem for the French stamps is one of "not enough". The 1932-43 issue of very attractive stamps is represented in Big Blue by 8 stamp spaces ( 6 illustrated/described and 2 blank). The series ( excluding those stamps after 1940) has 50 stamps! Fifteen of these stamps are valued from <$1 cents to $4 ( Scott 34,38A,40,43,48,51,52A,52B,53A,56A,59A,60A,61,62,63). No doubt these stamps will be found in collections, and I will need to find a spot for them.

Other French stamps that could be added ( up to $4 valuation) are in  the 1936 Coat of arms series (Scott 70,72), the postage dues (J1,J2,J3,J4,J6,j8,J9,J16), and a newspaper stamp (P1).

1937 French Scott 69 10c ultramarine & Scott 71 20c emerald "Coat of Arms"
Big Blue Checklist ( 1969 Big Blue edition)
Spanish Administration (poorly centered generally)
1,2,3,4,5,6 (<$1-$2+)
7,8 ($10+)

13,14,15,16,17  (<$1-$2+)
18 ($5+)
19a olive brown ($65-a 1933 issue) or 19 30c olive brown ($160) !!! see discussion
20 ($2+)

French Administration
1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8 ($1+-$5+)

23,24,25,26,27 (<$1-$1+)
30 ($5+)
Two spaces:suggest vertical Scott 46A(<$1); horizontal Scott 28 ($2+)

66,67,68 (<$1)
Three spaces: suggest 65,69,71 (<$1)

The 1947 Scott Standard Catalogue has the same numbering for the French stamps, and the same for the Spanish stamps except for the 1936 series.

Map of Andorra
Kinds of Blue
The 1997 edition and the 1969 edition are identical.
Compared to the 1969 edition..

Addition (1947 and 1941 edition)
French Administration
Scott 28,29 ($2-$11)

Addition (1947 and 1941 editions)
French administration
1935 postage due
J16 ($3+)

Newspaper stamp 1931 Scott P1 1/2c on 1c gray
Bottom Blue Line
 See the discussion above about Scott 19 and the $160 valuation; or $65 if one puts the 1933 issue there.

What I would like to note is a curious omission in the French 1936-38 (actually ended in 1942)  "Coat of Arms" issue. Big Blue  begins the series with an illustration of Scott 66, the 2 cent blue. The next two illustrations are for Scott 67, the 3 cent brown, and Scott 68, the 5 cent rose lilac. The valuations are all for 20 cents. What do they all have in common? They were the first of the series, and came out in 1936.

But there is also a Scott 65, the 1 cent black, that is valued at <$1. It is not illustrated, although one would think a one cent would have an illustration to the left of the two cent.  BUT IT CAME OUT IN 1937.

So Scott never revised the original illustrations -done sometime around 1936- when the 1937 1 cent came out.

Recall Big Blue started out as a "Junior" album, and this layout is ALREADY present in my 1941 Junior. 
If the "Junior" album already had illustrations/descriptions of a series that started in 1936 or earlier, any series stamps issued during 1937-1940  would have to fight for a blank space in Big Blue's later editions. Or perhaps, the stamp would be provided no room at all.

Note: Map appears to be in the public domain.

Note: The "Into the Deep Blue" section and many of the scans were added March, 2014.

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