Maximaphily… collecting Maximum Cards
My postal history collection is mainly made up of envelopes or folded letters, stamped (or not when earlier than 1840) and mailed through the postal system. I also collect old postcards of places where I have previously lived, and in a few cases of places which simply interest me because of their historical fascination… Granville and Mont Saint Michel in western France, Metz in north-eastern France, and oddly, Port Said at the mouth of the Suez Canal in Egypt. No doubt other places will follow if and when I become intrigued by their Wikiwand entry via a totally unrelated search!
One thing about my old post card collection is that I only purchase those which have had a postage stamp fixed to the face (picture) side and postmarked. This was against postal regulations at the time, but was fairly common practice from around 1900 to the end of the ’14-’18 War. Of course all my French and British postcards are various views with the then current ‘definitive’ stamps affixed… the stamps of the period normally being a British King or a French ‘symbol’… but not a stamp illustrated with a view, is now universally popular.
It so happens that before 1900 Egypt issued stamps with the pyramids as the design, and although I have cards of the Suez Canal and Post Said with those stamps, I’ve never seen a postcard of the pyramids with the appropriate stamps. So I was pleasantly surprised to read the following, which explains a lot… and hopefully won’t become another expensive collecting theme for my wallet!
And from “The Wonderful World of Maximum Cards” by Giorgio Migliavacca ©
”Maximum cards were born in Egypt in 1893 by sheer chance. It happened when a tourist mailed a picture postcard depicting a pyramid and the Sphinx to a friend in Germany. Contrary to postal regulations, he decided to affix an Egyptian stamp featuring the said monuments on the view side of the postcard instead of the address/message side. Four months later, under similar circumstances, Portugal saw the birth of the second maximum card. Whether it was by design or purely accidental we may never know; what is certain is that it was the beginning of a long journey into philately that culminated in 1978 when the International Federation of Philately (FIP) recognised ‘maximaphily’ as an official branch of philately. The 1893 Cairo postcard mentioned earlier fetched $790 a few years ago at an eBay auction. If the same maximum card would be auctioned today it would probably fetch anything between $3,000 and $5,000 or more!
By definition, a ‘maximum card’ is a picture postcard featuring the same subject of a given stamp affixed to the picture side, and tied to the postcard by a related cancellation. The highest possible concordance between postage stamp, postcard and postmark has become highly desirable, although it may not always possible. This desire of producing the best concordance between elements paved the way to the generally accepted name of maximum card."
The card I have to illustrate this piece doesn’t fit that strict definition, but I bought it for two reasons… it has a monochromatic look and therefore fits into my major collecting theme of ‘black’ postally-used items; and secondly I liked very much the overall design as well as the design and typography of the old 1937 “Juha” film poster. The card was issued in Finland in 1996 to celebrate “100 Years of Cinema in Finland.”
Image / words © Ed Buziak 2016.
@ellofilm #post #mail #stamp #Finland #WW2 #history