The Andorra-Stamp affaire
As I’ve just told in the preface, my second encounter with Plácido was in the context of my research on the modern history of the tiny Pyrenees state of Andorra. This affaire and a second one, I’ll tell in the following chapter, occur when our protagonist is already more than 40 years old. But the knowledge of the facts related and the evidence about his prowess and abilities will explain, why I could imagine that the few evidence known and published could rather be more than a small insight of what the Spaniard really had made. In order to explain what happened in Andorra, I’ll have to give a very short introduction in the political situation of the land at that time.
Andorra is a tiny state in the Eastern part of the chain of the Pyrenees-mountains that separate Spain from France. Before it became independent and got a modern and democratic constitution in 1993, guaranteed by his Northern and Southern neighbour, it was a territory with a very particular medieval shaped “constitution” under the co-sovereignty of the president of the French Republic and the bishop of the Spanish border-town of Urgel. To resolve internal and administrative problems, both sovereigns created the General Council, an entirely Andorran assembly.
Far away from great cities and means of communication, isolated by the snow more than six months a year from France, the only regular and stable communication of its 4000 inhabitants with the exterior was a narrow mule trade path along the Valira river that led to Urgel. The Spanish postal administration of Urgel maintained since the middle of the 18th century a postal service by mules.
After the constitution of the Universal Postal Union Andorra was included in 1878 in its statutes as being served by Spain, because the country had no own postal administration and no own stamps. What other philatelists or stamp dealers like the German-American Nicholas Seebeck in Central America or the German Otto Bickel had made in Montenegro did or had done in other countries, Torres proposed the Andorran General Council in 1890 the creation of an own postal administration and service. The attempt, however, failed. A second one two years later was not successful either, but the Syndic General, the chief of the local administration, borrowed the idea and Torres was ordered to present proofs with an appropriate design of what should have been the country’s first own stamps.
 Historia postal (y filatélica) de Andorra, en Estudios postales II, EL ECO, Madrid 2017, p. 199-235. Andorra’s First Stamps – Bogus, Fakes or Cinderellas? Valira Torrent, nº 72, p. 26-27. Otto Bickel i la seva iniciativa postal de 1893, Papers de Reçerca Històrica 6, p. 8-10. Die Essays und nicht verausgabten Marken Andorras, ANDORRA-Philatelie nº 79, (2012), pag. 3009-3018.