The color selection is the next stage of the stamp production process.

Color Proofs were first used in 1949 and were prepared with the hardened die (most stamp were then printed in solid colors, not a combination of colors).

Usually from 8 to 10 different colors were tested (fig. G13) and only a few copies were printed for each color (5 to 10).

Color Proofs are singular Proofs and always have the Printing Works control punch (like Acceptance Die Proofs and Deluxe Sheets, but only those made until 1966). They are produced from a secondary die and show an indentation (impression of the steel die) of 55 x 68 or 48 x 32 mm.

Unlike Deluxe Sheets they not have the imprint of the Printing Works (Atelier); unlike Engraver's Die Proofs, they not have the embossed control seal.

Color Proofs are not found with signatures (unlike Engraver's Die Proofs), and paper watermarks are not recorded.

The overall size of the Proofs is more constant than the Engraver's Die Proofs, and usually measure in the 13,5 x 10,5 to 14 x 11 cm range.
Color Proofs are printed on good quality thick paper.

Between 1946 and 1964, most color codes seen are four digit numbers between 1100 and 1721, and can be classified as follows:

The ink color is often described in the lower right corner in pencil code numbers.
In addition, numbers over 2000 exist, but none of these are known to occur on Andorran issues. Rarely, the color is not written in codes but in words, for example, Vert Olive (Olive Green).

Color Proofs with or without denomination, are shown to the Minister of Postes and/or his advisors when they meet to decide the colors of stamps soon to be printed.

Color Proofs are frequently found with manuscript annotations: Lor, LX, Lx (= Lorilleux), LC, Lc (= Lefranc), B (= Brancher) and the color-code number.
The letters are abbreviations for names of manufacturers of ink.

Occasionally, some misguided person who had sought to "improve" the Proof's appearance (fig. G12) may have erased the code number.
It has been established, however, that this number is of considerable importance since it refers to the color of the ink, and tells us the name of its manufacturer.

We also must decribe Color Proofs produced by Private Printing Houses in the years '30 and ' 40 (Institut de Gravure) since they do not respect the rules examined above. These Proofs are presented in a cardboard folder up in two parts with a superior hinge and a window aperture cut out in the anterior part.
Between the two cardboard parts it is inserted the thin and ungummed paper printed vignette (fig. E66).
These Proofs are missing the annotations of the color that is used or those of the ink-factory. Obviously, the control punch is missing in the inferior side of the cardboard, this being an exclusive characteristic of the Proofs printed in the Government Printing House (Atelier).

The production of Color Proofs ceased in 1956.

A special thanks to Mr. Kenneth R. Thompson for his assistance in the english translation.
© Giorgio Leccese