ANDORRA (Correus Espanyols - Spanish Post). ATM issues 2021

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Variable value stamps in Andorra. Introduction

Correos installed Epelsa franking machines in the 'Spanish Post' main post office in Andorra in July 1992. During the first four years, these machines issued stamps from similar rolls of thermal self-adhesive labels used in the post offices in Spain; an unusual and exceptional situation in the recent history of the Andorran postal service, since Andorra, an independent country, was issuing and using stamps with the 'Correos - España' indicator (More information).  

From September 1996 however, Correos began using rolls of labels with a special design for the Principality, incorporating the name of the postal company and the country (More information).
Between 1999 and 2000, Correos equipped four other branches in Andorra with franking machines; Sant Julià de Lòria, Escaldes-Engordany, La Massana and Encamp.
All these machines started issuing stamps with the face value in EUR between the end of December 2001 and January 2002.
In December 2004, an Epelsa LF 1100 stamp vending machine was installed in the main post office, using the same rolls of labels with the special design for Andorra (More information, published in VARIABLE 2). Amongst other features, this kiosk printed the text 'URG' for express mail on the issued stamps (image).

The main post office, the only one connected to the IRIS Correos network, stopped issuing variable value stamps with its franking machines from November 2006. Instead the staff used hand postal marks with the text 'Franqueo pagado en Oficina' (Postage paid at office) as a proof of franking on all the postal items; again postage with the 'Correos España' indicator, and only the name and code (2521094) of the post office as a reference to the issuing country.
The rest of the branches continued to issue stamps with the 'Principat d'Andorra' definitive design for a few more years.

Finally, at the end of November 2014, Correos implemented the 'etiqueta única' or 'single label' system at all the post offices in Andorra, already connected to the IRIS system (More information, published in VARIABLE 35). The resulting stamps or postage labels, identical to those issued at all other post offices in Spain, do not explicitly include the name of the issuing country but only the code and name of the office.  

In fact, for Correos, the Andorra la Vella post office and its branches in the Principality are not considered to be an independent region, province or even country, but just as another Spanish post office within the Lleida provincial headquarters.

2021. Special issues for Andorra

Following on from the successful and well received ATM issues that began in 2016 with the installation of the new IAR philatelic kiosk (see article, also published in VARIABLE 41), the Correos philatelic service, responsible for the issues of Spain and Andorra, considered issuing two special designs for the Principality.

The design called 'Arcalís 91' on the receipts (see images below) is illustrated with a photograph of the sculpture of the same name, located near the Ordino Arcalís ski resort. On the right, the 'Museu Postal' design depicts a picture of an old post office, recreated in the Andorra Postal Museum, in addition to the museum's logo. Both designs include the mandatory indicators of the postal operator and issuing country, and all texts are in Catalan, the Principality's official language.

The right image shows a first day cover sent by registered mail, franked with a series of variable value stamp issues produced in Andorra; the first ATM design, the two new 2021 issues, and the registration label issued with the 'single label' franking system currently used at the main post office.  

The sculpture 'Arcalís 91', also known as 'L'Anell d'Ordino' (The Ring of Ordino), is a work in corten steel by the Italian artist Mauro Staccioli. To mark its 25th anniversary in 1991, the Caixa Andorrana de Seguretat Social (CASS) organized an outdoor sculpture symposium with the participation of several international artists. In 1992, the French La Poste issued a set of two stamps with two of the sculptures created for this event, one of them being the Staccioli work.
'The circle, symbol of perfection and eternity, is in this context a window to the landscape that surrounds it, playing with gravity in its location as if it were about to start its descent into the valley'.
Although little known and less visited, the Museu Postal d'Andorra in Ordino (images below) offers a magnificent insight into the origins and evolution of the postal service in this small country. Andorra has the peculiarity of not having its own postal services and instead uses those of its neighbouring countries, Spain (Correos) and France (La Poste).
The exhibition initially occupied the two floors of Borda del Raser in Ordino, although now the stamp collections are no longer exhibited and the exhibition space has been reduced to the upper floor. An old Spanish post office has been recreated inside the museum (right maximum card).
Correos and La Poste issued stamps commemorating the opening of the Postal Museum on November 19th 1998.
In the right image, the original first day cover produced by Correos is complemented with the 2021 edition.

  As you would no doubt expect, the Correos philatelic service prepared the release of the new special issues in Andorra. Both designs could be obtained on June 22nd and 23rd at the Andorra main post office, located in Andorra la Vella.

Although it was initially planned to install the philatelic kiosk in the post office for several days, problems with the connection of the equipment outside of Spain prevented this from happening.  

In the end, the philatelic service decided to install its back office computer system in the office, which can operate autonomously i.e. without being connected to the internet. As happened in previous philatelic events, this unit was programmed with a special and temporary (two-day only) code; AN21 in this case.
The issues and its associated philatelic products were available during the two days at one of the main post office counters.

The image shows the manager of the Madrid philatelic service with the computer system used for printing the variable value stamps. We can see the screen with the special application, the small desktop computer, and the Brother TD-4100N printers; two for stamps and the central one for receipts.

As a curiosity, one of the old Epelsa ET-RL franking machines can be also seen in the background. Although these machines no longer issue variable value stamps they are still in service at post offices are used for weighing postal items and for the printing of receipts.

The picture shows, the manager of the philatelic service and the director of the Andorra main post office, presenting the special edition.  

As with other previous Correos issues, the rolls of 1,500 thermal self-adhesive labels were manufactured by Walsall/Cartor Security Printers. The size of the label is 55 x 25 mm., with perforations around the edges. The labels come fixed on a yellow silicone coated release liner. The labels are digitally printed, with the area to the left in white for printing the stamp's data. All the labels are numbered on the back of the release liner for inventory control.

All the stamps include the face value indicator, the '22-23 juny Principat d'Andorra' imprint in Catalan, and a unique code for each stamp. For the stamps issued in Andorra, the first block of the code is P6AD21, indicating that the stamps were issued by the computer system (P for Production), the month of June (6), in Andorra (AD), and the year (21). There follows the special code of the machine in Andorra (AN21), the session (0161 in the stamps and receipt) and the stamp number.

Because of its use as an adjunct to the philatelic kiosk, the application that manages the operation of the computer system used by the philatelic service enables the same options as with the kiosk; in particular, the printing of variable value stamps with four face value indicators. Andorra's basic postal tariff scheme is the same as that of Spain, so the two Andorran designs could also be obtained with the same face value indicators, Tarifa A, A2, B and C. These indicators correspond to the domestic (Spain & Andorra) postal rates for letters up to 20 and 50g, the rates to European countries and to some countries in the rest of the world up to 20g, respectively (see tariffs on the table below).
These stamps can be purchased as singles and also in two programmed sets or strips; a strip of four Tarifa A stamps ('Tarifa A Tira 4' on the receipts) and a set including the four rates ('Tira 4 Tarifas') (see images below). After issuing the stamps, the machine automatically prints a receipt on thermal paper with details of the purchase.

The philatelic service prepared a special postmark and a small size commemorative cover for each design, as well as a large size cover featuring the graphic advertising the issue (upper image).
The postmarks reproduce the geometry of the 'Arcalís 91' sculpture, as a window to the landscape, and the postal museum's logo.  

  In addition to the special two-day availability of the issue in Andorra with the AN21 temporary code, both designs were also available from the same back-office computer system now installed in its permanent location, in the philatelic service premises in Chamartín, Madrid.
The printing on the stamps is identical, and can be only distinguished by the information printed on the code at the bottom. The first block of the stamps printed in Madrid is P6ES21, together with the usual machine code for all the stamps issued in 2021, CH21 (Chamartín 2021) - see table below.

Additional information

Andorra ATMs (2021 - ...) - Machine codes table
Machine code Equipment Operating period Location
AN21 Computer system June 22nd & 23rd 2021 Main Post Office, Andorra la Vella, Andorra
CH21 Computer system From January 4th to December 31st 2021 CCP Chamartín, Madrid

SPAIN & ANDORRA - Basic postal tariffs (2021 - ...)
up to 20g.
up to 50g.
Europe Rest of the world,
countries not included
in Tarifa D
US, Canada
Japan, Australia,
New Zealand
  Tarifa A Tarifa A2 Tarifa B Tarifa C Tarifa D
1.01.2021 0,70 € 0,80 € 1,50 € 1,60 € 1,90 €

ATEEME, in collaboration with GALERIA ATM, offers you the option to take out a standing order for all the new Spain ATM issues (sets, first day covers, varieties, etc.) at reduced prices. Contact us for more information.

The contents of this page and the website in general are protected by copyright.
The unauthorized copy of the text and / or images is prohibited.

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This page was created in July 2021
and last updated:  21.08.21 . English edition last rewritten by J. Gareze (21.08.2021)