If there was ever a confusing name for a type of postcard, this is it. Maximum Cards aren’t called that because they are BIG. They got this name because, ideally, every element about them is the same. (Or it should be.) Have a look at the scan from Estonia that goes along with this blog entry. Note the card is a picture of a town hall. There’s a stamp on the front of the card, with that same picture. And the postmark over that stamp has a similar design.
So in this case, “Maximum” just means that all three components–card, stamp, and cancellation–are the same. The cancellation doesn’t automatically mean the card has been used, though. Some countries generously provide pre-printed postage on the back, allowing for worldwide mailing. Others don’t, so if you want to send the card you need to add more stamps in the normal area on the back. Personally we like unused cards more. They are usually available on day of issue in philatelic units of post offices, and in our experience around here they get snapped up very quickly. But really we like them all.
Theme category 396 has quite a few of these from around the world, though we have been lucky to find many older Maximum Cards from Thailand, Indonesia, and DPR Korea. Australia and Finland do these nicely, and so does China, though you almost need to camp out on the post office doorstep on the first day of issue to find them. Here’s a caution, though: not all Maximum Cards meet the strict criteria that card, stamp, and postmark are the same. In many cases, it’s two out of three, as when the stamp may be in the general topic but not quite the same as the card. Imagine, for example, a postcard of apples where the stamp on the front is a bowl of fruit. That sort of thing. We don’t always highlight which cards are “perfect” but think we’ve given plenty of warning towards the front of the category so nobody can say they were fooled. The weak point about Maximum Cards is usually the postmark, either not matching as well as it could, or too faint to see clearly.
We have 3-D Maximum Cards, and wooden ones, but not yet any BIG ones. If we come across any, we’ll let you know!
Bye for now.