Maximum Cards

Maximum Card… What is does it mean?

 In our world of opportunities, people have got a wide choice of how to spend their free time. Different people choose different hobbies – reading, traveling, quests for ancient items, visiting museums, collecting rare coins, gardening, collecting different kinds of things. People are so different from each other and unique, so it is hardly ever possible to list all their passions.

Philately, or stamp collection, has a long history of its development. The word was coined by Georges Herpin, who was the first man started to collect and research stamps.

Today philately refers not only to stamps but to all postal items as well.

Maximum Cards are part of postal history, and consequently, a significant source of study for philatelists.

 Maximum Card, or a maxi-card, is a picture postcard and postage stamp, usually affixed on the picture side. The main peculiarity of a maximum card is that picture and stamp are created at maximum similarity (that’s why it is called maxi) with a special postmark, usually – first issue cover.

A stamp with a special date, dedicated to someone’s anniversary or an outstanding event draws more attention to the picture, highlighting its significance. The bright example is a Ukrainian Maximum card “125 years of Kyiv Tram”.

Maximum card "125 years of Kiev Tram"

Maximaphily is a branch of philately that involves studying and collecting maximum cards.

The history of maximum cards begins with a French card and a stamp, depicting Marianne, sowing a filed with grains – symbol of the French Republic. The postcard and stamp were canceled on May 9 1908.

However, maximaphily became organized and grew popular after the WW2.

The card is considered truly a maximum card if a stamp and image are in great concordance, and the only difference between them is in size.

Nevertheless, there are still a lot of exceptions in the world of maximaphily. A lot of passionate lovers of maxi cards create maximum cards with semantic or sense bearing similarity, not just visual one.

For example, an image depicting a remarkable scientist can be affixed with the stamp depicting his scientific discovery. So-called alternative maximum cards can differ from classic ones even from inside. The inside of these maxi-cards can contain interesting facts and information regarding the event or personality depicted on the image. All Ukrainian Maximum cards found at the website of Postal Ukraine are alternative ones, not classic Ukrainian Maxi. The alternative version of maximum cards is becoming more and more popular and appreciated among admirers of the Ukrainian maxima philately nowadays.

However, it is important to note that in any case while creating a maxi-card, a stamp is to be fixed to the picture background in order not to hide important elements of a card. A stamp must affix a mark to a card, but all the important visual elements must be kept in sight.  Moreover, a stamp itself must be clear and visible. However, not all maximum cards, issued by public post offices have visible and distinguishable stamps due to the dark colors of the background.

The growth of interest to maximum cards is partially strengthened by such a phenomenon as postcrossing. Postcrossing is an exchange of postcards between people from all over the world and a great opportunity to add some unique and attractive cards from other countries to your personal collection.

Philately can be a very interesting hobby, also spread among kids. Parents can encourage their children to collect postal items by telling them a lot of fascinating things about stamps, postal cards, and postmarks, opening up a door to a wonderful world of philately and maximum card collecting. This kind of hobby entices a child to be more careful and attentive, while sticking postcards into the album as well as enriches child’s knowledge about important historical events, art, culture, architecture, science, etc.

Start collecting stamps and maximum cards! It is fascinating!

Written by Sasha Poshtova,
based on “Philately for everybody” by Valeriy Cherednichenko.