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Phone Card Collecting
Dateline: 04/24/00
Although Phone card collecting isn't as popular as other collectibles, there are still web sites that are devoted to collecting the cards, when cell phones became so popular cards started being phased out. Phone cards started out for convenience purposes only. Keep a $10. card in your wallet and when you need to make a call, there is no need for a lot of change. In many countries phonecards are the only way to use public telephones, a reason why this is collectible that crosses borders around the world.
As with all things that started out being utilitarian, someone decided to make one a little more colorful or just a little more decorative. Once things start becoming decorative -- someone will want to keep it, just for the artistic value. Next, companies will start making them just for the decorative value and not for the utility values -- and a new collectible is born! There are numerous sites on the Internet that are devoted to Phone Card Collecting, with the majority in Europe and Asia. The first phonecard was issued in Europe. Do you know what country or year? Answer is at the end of the article.
Phonecards come in as many designs and issues as promoters can think of. Disney, movie stars, patriotic, are just a few. Phone cards are a very popular advertising promotion or premium -- e.g. send in two upcs from Ballpark Franks and get a ten minute phone card! The above card was given out to customers of John Deere Credit several years ago.
Phonecards have also been used to entice cross collectors. If you are a Coke lover, surely you will also want the Coke cards from around the world. Movie Star fan? -- there are cards for you too.

Use common sense to take care of your cards. Store in chemical free pages, never use harsh detergents to clean cards, and keep out of temperature extremes. For more complete information on taking care of your cards be sure to read Steven Hanley's "Taking Care of Your Callcards" listed in the resource section below.

Take a look around the house, there probably is a card or two in the desk drawer and you are on the way to becoming a Fusilatelist without even realizing it!

Articles & Resources:

The Phone Card Shop
A little bit confusing, but lots of information. Irish Phonecards
Excellent article by Piero Tintori
Taking care of your Callcards
Steve Hanley tells about the best way to keep your collectibles in top condition.
Callcard Facts
A simple list of FAQ about phonecard collecting.
Phonecards Online Newsletter
An informative online newsletter, no longer being published, but issues are archived!
Tips and Hints for New Collectors
Be sure to explore all facets of this site.
Kars Unlimited
Phonecard Price Guide

Collector Pages:
Horseracing Phonecards
Lots of horse racing phonecards exhibited here.
Phonecard Galaxy
Estonian and Latvian card page of Tauno Niilos
Phonecards of Ural & Sibera Region
Pictorial history of cards from the area.
Clubs:
The ShannonSide Callcard Collectors Club
Lengthy list of resource articles.
Swedish Phonecard Collectors Society
Everything you want to know about Swedish phonecards.

(c)Barbara Crews
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