Stamps of 2023: Andorra (January 2023)

Andorra is a small nation lying amongst the peaks and valleys of the Eastern Pyrenees Mountains between France and Spain. Today it is an internally self-governing nation with its own parliament. However, the heads-of-state are the Spanish Bishop of Urgell and the President of France. This is because the valleys were given to the Diocese of Urgell in 988. A treaty established the Principality of Andorra in 1278 providing that dual sovereignty be established over the territory by the Bishop of Urgell and the French monarchy. The modern nation of Andorra does maintain its own small army, but it exists basically for ceremonial purposes.

Before 1928, Andorrans sent their letters and packages from post offices across the border in Spain or France, using the postage stamps of those countries. The first Spanish administration stamps for Andorra were created in 1928, by overprinting the contemporary definitive postage stamps of the Kingdom of Spain. Since 1931, the postage stamps of Andorra have been issued by both the Spanish and the French administrations. Prior to the introduction of the Euro at the beginning of the 21st Century, the Spanish Peseta and the French Franc circulated as the dual currencies of Andorra.

I have decided to treat my monthly listings of stamps issued by Andorra as just one entity but with an “Fr” or an “Sp” added to the issue name to denote which administration was responsible for its release.

Jan. 2, 2023

Fr: Port de Cabús Mountain Pass

LaPoste of France issued a single stamp on January 2 picturing the Port de Cabús — a 7,552-foot (2302 meters) mountain pass in the Pyrenees on the Andorran-Spanish border connecting the parish of La Massana with Alins, in Catalonia, Spain. The road is paved on the Andorran side, but not on the Spanish side. The pass is a legal anomaly in that there are no border controls there, despite it forming the outer border of the Schengen Area, which usually features robust passport checks.

The €4.83 stamp was designed by Elisenda Ortega with the layout by Stéphanie Ghinéa. It was printed using offset lithography by Philaposte in sheets of 15 measuring 143 x 185 mm. The stamps themselves measure 40.85 x 30 mm and a quantity of 60,000 copies were printed beginning on December 5, 2022.

Jan. 16, 2023

Sp: Stylized Map/Flag (definitive)

On January 16, Correos of Spain issued a single definitive stamp for its administration of Andorra featuring a stylized Andorran flag shaped like a map of the country. This is the fifth year of annual flag definitives, dating from 2019. From 2016 until 2018, the definitives depicted the Andorran coat of arms. The stamps were printed using offset lithography with foil by Fábrica Nacional de Moneda y Timbre in sheets of 25 and bear a non-value indicator of “A” which was equal to €0.75 on the date of release. There were 50,000 copies of the stamp issued which measure 28.8 x 40.9 mm each.

The national flag of the Principality of Andorra features a vertical tricolor of blue, yellow, and red with the coat of arms of Andorra in the center. Although the three vertical bars may at first appear to be of equal width, the center yellow bar is slightly wider than the other two so that the ratio of bar widths is 8:9:8 with an overall flag ratio of 7:10. A civilian variant of the flag is said to have been created in 1866, although the design was standardized in 1993 after Andorra joined the United Nations.

The design is related to the flags of Catalonia, Foix and France, the lands historically linked with the small country. The coat of arms of Andorra in the center of the flag contains historical symbolism to Bishop of Urgell, Count of Foix, Catalonia, and the Viscounty of Béarn. The inclusion of the coat of arms makes it one of 28 national flags to contain overtly Christian symbolism and it is the only national flag to portray cattle, except for the flag of Moldova, which features the head of a bull. A flag of three bars is similar to that of the French tricolor, while the pattern of a wider middle stripe can be noted on the Spanish flag. The motto in the coat of arms (written in Goudy Old Style) in the middle stripe Virtus Unita Fortior means “Virtue United is Stronger”. The blue and red of the Andorran flag are also found on the French flag, with red and yellow also being the colors of the Catalonian flag (as the old royal symbol of the Crown of Aragon) and the arms of the old County of Foix (currently part of France).

One thought on “Stamps of 2023: Andorra (January 2023)

  1. Pingback: Stamps of 2023: Monthly Wrap-Up (January) | Mark Joseph Jochim

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