03 July 2011

Making the best Maximum Card….



Hi !  Maxim Cards are very popular among collectors these days. I often receive scans of Max Cards prepared by my readers for publication on this blog. In today’s Post I am reproducing an article on Maxim Cards by Dr Jagtap. It was earlier published in Rainbow Stamp News sometimes back. It is a guideline for the lovers of Maximaphily and those who prepare maxim cards. This is all for today….Till Nest Post…..Have a Great Time !

What is a Maximum Card ?

© Dr. Avinash B. Jagtap

Collecting Maxim Cards has become a craze among stamp collectors these days . Maximaphily has also become a favorite class in exhibitions. But sometimes many Maxim Cards do not exhibit almost 100% concordance of the three elements with one another, The Picture Postcard, The Stamp and The Cancellation (or Postmark). Here is a very comprehensive article by Dr Avinash B. Jagtap with the latest rules and guidelines on Maximaphily  given by FIP. I hope the article will be an eye opener for those collecting and creating maxim cards on different themes. - Editor

A Maximum Card (“MC”) could be defined as a philatelic entirety comprised of three basic elements, such as a picture postcard, a postage stamp and a cancellation tied to the postage stamp and the picture postcard. These three components are chosen in such a way that they offer a maximum concordance with one another. They are complimentary to one another in every philatelic aspect and they together represent an entirety.


1948, Baden- French.Sector / Post-War Germany, Theme: Costumes, Headgears

Stamp issued on May 1, 1948, Pictorial cancellation from Unteruhldingen, on Lake Constance, where this costume is worn. Date of cancellation: June 20, 1948

1. Picture Postcard:

The picture postcard is normally printed privately and is available on the market or could have been issued by the postal authority of a country prior to the issue of the postage stamp. The rear side of the picture postcard could be blank with adequate space to write an address. The back side of the picture postcard may carry a stamp-imprint. Neither a private photographic reproduction nor a “Collage” is allowed on the view side. Photomontages, drawings, documents specially devised for the stamp issue to be printed privately on photo-paper with due thanks to computer are not used for creating maximum cards. It is strictly prohibited to reduce the size of a postcard by cutting it.


2000, Uster, Switzerland Theme: Sports, Cycling, Racing “Tour de Suisse”

Stamp was issued on February 29, 2000 Pictorial Cancellation date: June 13, 2000, shows a cyclist participating in Tour de Suisse.

Countries like Sweden, Australia have been issuing their own maximum cards. In Switzerland special picture post cards are offered to the philatelists prior to the official date of issue of new stamps. Thus the enthusiasts are given an opportunity to create their own maximum cards. No differentiation is made by the Jury at philatelic exhibition between officially or privately made maximum card.


Official Maximum Card issued by Australia

A picture postcard used to create a maximum card has a normal, internationally (as per Universal Postal Union Convention) well defined size (i.e. 9 x 14 or 10.5 x 14.8 cm). In case of old cards (prior to 1940), cards with smaller sizes are accepted. According to special regulations approved by the 68th FIP Congress in Singapore, on 1st & 2nd September 2004, postcards of square size or 12 x17 cm that are becoming more attractive and popular may be tolerated. Only square and rectangular formats of picture postcards are allowed, all others are excluded. These picture postcards may be black & white or coloured. From the aesthetic point of view, they may offer a faint coloured or white space in order to affix a postage stamp, so that the cancellation could be viewed in a better way. Many official maximum cards are furnished with a narrow margin on one side of the card, which offers a suitable place for affixing a stamp. The picture postcard, should as a rule, offer not less than 75% space of the total area for an illustration (in ideal case even 100 %!). However, according to the latest requirements, agreed upon by the FIP Maximaphily Commission Conference held in Malaga on October 12, 2006, this space limitation (min. 75%) has not been specifically mentioned. But the emphasis is laid on the size of the picture. It is said “The larger the picture is, the better the quality of the maximum card is considered to be.” In view of this very vague requirement, I shall advise all philatelists to stick to the old requirement of more than 75% space for the illustration on the postcard. In case of older maximum cards this restriction could be overlooked.

A picture postcard must offer the best possible direct VISUAL and NOT an imaginary concordance with the motif on the stamp and with at least one of these, in case the stamp shows several motifs. It should not show a sketch or a draft of the stamp design. Postcards with multiple pictures as well as those with holograms are not allowed. All picture post cards with full reproduction of the stamps with their perforations, face values and country-names are forbidden.


1999, Madunice, Slovakia, Theme: Costume, Headgear, Embroidery

Stamp issued on March 18, 1999, First Day Pictorial Cancellation showing the costume worn by women in Madunice Province of Slovakia

2. Postage Stamp:

The postage stamp must have a conspicuous theme or a motif depicted on it and should have a direct relationship with the illustration on the picture postcard. The stamp is affixed to the postcard on the front (on picture side). Care should be taken that it is valid at the time of cancellation. Its colours and the perforations should be in optimal condition. The stamp on the card may preferably be used on the day of issue or within a tolerable time limit (such maximum card could be called as a maximum card of 1st Quality). Only ONE postage stamp valid for postage is affixed to the picture postcard. (The guidelines for judging Maximaphily, accepted by the FIP Maximaphily Commission Conference held at Malaga on October 12, 2006 and approved by FIP Board in Luxemburg on March 3, 2007, allows the whole set of se-tenant stamps, devoted to a single subject to appear on a single postcard. (This is rather very strange recommendation which I personally can not understand. I would better advise Indian philatelists to abide by the golden rule “Only One Stamp for One Picture Postcard” in order to avoid any conflict with the Jury!). So-called “official” stamps which are used for governmental mail (excepting UNO, UNESCO and European Council Stamps) or parcel stamps (as they are common in some European countries, like Belgium) should not be affixed to the postcard. A maximum card should not bear a block of four or two stamps with identical designs issued by two countries (the so-called “bilateral-” or “sympathy-issues”). Depending up on the individual themes on the postage stamp, there is a possibility of creating multiples of maximum cards. The use of an illustrated postal prepayment impression dispensed by automatic vending machines affixed on the view side of the postcard can be used. A postage stamp which is cut out from postal stationery is allowed only if the issuing postal service permits its use. In general, abstract or symbolic subjects do not suit Maximaphily and are excluded from its field.


2004, Wald (ZH), Switzerland Theme: Forest, Wood, Environment

The stamp and the Cancellation both were issued on May 7, 2004, here even the name of the Post-office “WALD” means “Forest” in German language! This is more than a 100% Maximum Card! This was the first-ever wooden stamp of the world !!

3. Cancellation:

The postmark or the cancellation must be clearly visible and legible. It must be applied to the stamp (leaving the major part of the motif on the stamp clear) and to the picture postcard." Care must be taken that the ink used for the postmark does not smear and impart an untidy look to the maximum card. The cancellation essentially contains the date and the name of the post office.(this requirement is there in the “Guidelines for Judging Maximaphily Exhibits”, but there is no mention about the requirement of “Date” in the cancellation (Art. 3.3. )in “Special Regulations for the Evaluation of Maximaphily Exhibits at F.I.P. Exhibitions (SERV)”. This is certainly a grave anomaly, which I have brought to the notice of the F.I.P. Commissioner for Maximaphily, Mr. Nicos Rangos. He writes in his reply, that it does imply, although not specifically mentioned, that the cancellation should show the name of the post-office and also the date of cancellation.). It could be ordinary simple date stamp without any illustration, but it should respect the concordance of place. For example if a card depicts a personality then the cancellation may incorporate the birth place, or the region where the deceased person had worked during his / her life-time, or where he / she died. If it is a monument, building or a famous painting, then the name of the place where these are situated or could be found. The cancellation in such cases may show the nearest possible post-office. In case of pictorial cancellation, the illustration must have some direct bearing with the illustration on the stamp and/or on the picture post card, but it is not a “Must”. In any case the name of the post office is important. The cancellation must have been applied by an official post office and not by a “private” or “semi-official” post-office. The cancellation on the stamp must be applied by the post office of the stamp-issuing country. Nowadays the postal authority booths participating countries at international philatelic exhibitions not only sell their products, but also obliterate their stamps with pictorial or normal cancellations with the logo of the exhibition! This “maximum card” with the card and stamp issued in a distant country and defaced by a pictorial or normal cancellation of the host country (i.e. the country where the exhibition is held) can not be regarded as a maximum card.

The cancellation is considered to be “most appropriate” when it is applied on the commemoration day of an event or a person concerned. It is “very good” if the cancellation is applied on the first day of issue of the stamp, provided it contains the data in concordance with the picture post card and the stamp affixed to it. It is regarded as “satisfactory” if the cancellation is applied on some other day, but not too apart from the day of issue of the stamp. It is “tolerable” if the validity of the stamp affixed has expired within a few days it had been affixed to the picture post card and was cancelled. There are several types of cancellations applied by the post-offices. Of these red meter marks, which are employed by eminent firms for application on their out-going mail, should not be used on a maximum card, since such meter marks are not intended for defacing postage stamps.

P.S. Any inquiry or comments on my article are welcome by letter or by e-mail on this address:

Dr. Avinash B. Jagtap, Weihermattstrasse 2, CH-4102 Binningen, Switzerland

e-mail : abjagtap@hotmail.com

From our Readers ……

Maxim Cards

In this column Maxim cards prepared by readers are published. The computer generated cards used for preparing maxim cards are not suitable and are not regarded as good maxim cards . These cards are downgraded in a philatelic exhibition.



Max Cards prepared by John Emanuel Boben of Trivandrum.


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