Test labels in Spain

Every one or two years the Spanish Post (Correos) announces a public tender for the supply of rolls of thermal sticky labels that will be used in the franking balances.
The most recent ones were announced in September 2001 and December 2002.

The first one, published after a large delay, included the purchase of 516.000 rolls (each of 1.900 labels); 172.000 for the year 2001 and 344.000 for 2002. The second tender included 500.000 rolls expected for 2003.

Along with the economic proposal, the companies tendering had to supply some test labels, with a ‘free’ design, to verify their characteristics and to evaluate the results.  
Of course it is very rare that these types of labels reach collectors, and, in fact, we know only two designs.

The first design corresponds to a sample presented by a unknown company in the tender published in September 2001 and tested in balances in October of the same year.
It is a label of size 47 x 27 mm., with the round central cut, and manufactured on very good quality non phosphorescent
thermal paper.

The design shows a part of the picture Opus Nigrum, painted in 2000 by the Spanish Dino Valls.

The printing is also of high quality and includes different security measures to protect against counterfeiting.

On the left corner there is the Correos logo and the word CORREOS printed with a special shiny golden ink that displays different colour tones when viewed from different angles and light conditions (1st. image).  
In the centre of the label appears again the Correos logo and CORREOS, and also a horizontal line crossing the base of the image, but in this instance the printing is with invisible ink, visible only under ultra violet light (2nd. image).
In addition there is the repeated micro printing of the word CORREOS (in black) in the left top corner and in a continuous line in the base of the image, using a special security golden ink.
The printing seems to be just a fine line and it only can be read with an magnifying lens. Most of the current copying systems have not enough resolution to print with this precision.

The second model is a sample presented in the tender published in December 2002 and tested in balances on January 27th, 2003 (see adjust label).

In this case, the non phosphorescent thermal paper of the label is of a lower quality. Also the durability and quality of the franking balances printing is poor. The subject was the "Jornadas Europeas de Roma", (European Days in Rome).
Blank label Adjust label ATM
These are sample-test labels that do not include the mandatory words CORREOS or ESPAÑA, but it seems that almost all of one of the rolls was used normally in a post office and that some letters or shipments were franked and circulated with this issue, but after a short period in use it was removed because the problems with the printing by the balance.

As a safety measures in this case there is only the central cut and a micro printing in black with the text UNION EUROPEA under the flag.

Although at first we thought that this label was the sample presented by the company SIGNE, S.A., winner of the last public tender, the study and comparison in detail of the characteristics of this test label with this ones manufactured for the 2003 issues makes us think that it is not the same company.  

(See also: The "ghost" ATM issue - "European Days in Rome")

ATM Web - Spain and Latin American Postal Services: http://www.ateeme.net
© J. Jove - M. Sans. ATEEME. Variable value stamps study group. All rights reserved
This page was created : 16.02.04. Last updated : 17.04.04. English edition rewritted by S. Goodman (17.04.04)