18 of the Coolest International Phone Cards from Across the Globe

Phone cards have been with us for over 35 years now and although their production might have reduced in some countries since the growth in mobile phone usage, they still endure and are set to be one of the world’s most fascinating set of collect ables for years to come. Attention all hoarders and collectors out there, we’ve compiled a list of the 18 most memorable cards ever!

1. Where it all began

phone card

Source: http://www.all-cards.net/all.cards/first/firstissues.html

It’s generally accepted that the very first phone card sold to the public originated in Italy in 1976. This is therefore Genesis as far as the hobby is concerned and these cards were used in the Villa Borghese area of Rome. I guess we have the Italians to thank for hotel key cards then – no more lost keys while out on vacation!

2. Rare issues

phone card

Source: http://www.all-cards.net/all.cards/rare/saudi.html

Some of the rarest cards come from Saudi Arabia where trials were issued in the early 1990’s. These are now extremely scarce and if you are lucky enough to find one it will fetch many thousands of pounds – if you see one on Ebay, then buy.

3. The most collectable?

phone card

Source: http://collectormagic.com/pimg.cfm?cid=15945

Specialists will tell you that anything relating to Disney is the most popular type of collect able in the world – anything branded with Disney makes it more valuable, right? This phone card is in widespread use and is therefore a colourful and inexpensive way to start your collection.

4. Also sought after…

phone card

Source: http://collectormagic.com/pimg.cfm?cid=15653

Coca Cola comes a short second to Disney in terms of popularity and here is a great example of the colourful nature of phone cards issued by the soft drink giant.

5. Seasonal issues

phone card

Source: http://collectormagic.com/pages/santa.cfm?CFID=8524220&CFTOKEN=22891500

“Hey, it’s Christmas, so let’s issue a ‘limited edition’ okay?”. Like any hobby, whenever there is a limited edition issued there will be a scramble for collectors. Christmas is an obvious time for issues such as these and the theme lends itself to some cool and colourful designs.

6. The sheep card

phone card

Source: http://colnect.com/en/phonecards/phonecard/361568-Sheep-LATTELECOM-Latvia

Sometimes the most baa-sic designs can become the most interesting. This sheep card isn’t especially rare but it is well known and sought after amongst the phone card collecting fraternity.

7. Other animals

phone card

Source: http://colnect.com/en/phonecards/phonecard/333610-WWF_2000_-_The_Life_Planet_Campaign_-_Dolphins-Libertel-Prepay_GSM_Netherlands-Netherlands

Nature comes up with some pretty cool designs of its own so you would expect there to be a huge selection on this subject. Choosing the coolest nature card from such a range is pretty tricky but this dolphin issue from the Netherlands would come close to the top of the list.

8. Balloons

phone card

Source: http://collectormagic.com/pimg.cfm?cid=14433

There are few sights more colourful than a display of hot air balloons and it’s therefore no surprise that they have featured on many phone cards across the globe. This is a perfect example of how the colours can be used to create a very striking card.

9. Classic Cars

phone card

Source: http://colnect.com/en/phonecards/phonecard/334991-FAKE_-_FALSA_Austin_Healey_100-Classic_Cars-Unitel_Unicom_Fake_Unloaded_Cards-United_Kingdom

The United Kingdom is one country where the use of phone cards has almost disappeared thanks to mobile phones. Production has virtually stopped too but over time, there have been some memorable issues and the British institution that is the classic car is depicted in this striking card.

10. Advertising

phone card

Source: http://colnect.com/en/phonecards/phonecard/161340-De_Kuyper_Schnaps_Rudi_Carrell-Chip_K-Deutsche_Telekom-Germany

As we’ve seen with Coca Cola, cards can have a dual role and can combine as an advert too. This colourful issue from Germany highlights this perfectly.

11. Back to nature

phone card

Source: http://colnect.com/en/phonecards/phonecard/235334-Small_Tortoiseshell-Butterflies-Teleline-Switzerland

You’ll often see common themes through many countries and one of those is butterflies. The reasons once again lie in the incredible colours. Here’s a great example from Switzerland.

12. Bugs and beetles

phone card

Source: http://colnect.com/en/phonecards/phonecard/94183-Ladybird-Beetles-TOT-Thailand

Insects can also provide great photography for cards as this simple ladybird design from the Czech Republic shows.

13. In outer space

phone card

Source: http://colnect.com/en/phonecards/phonecard/17366-Eagle_Nebula_M16-General_Issue_66_2003_Hubble_Space_Telescope-Telecom_New_Zealand-New_Zealand

Images from space are amazing in the detail and stunning colours. Another good topic for cards as this issue from New Zealand demonstrates.

14. And space travel…

phone card

Source: http://colnect.com/en/phonecards/phonecard/4754-Armstrong-Dalle_Ali_Alla_Luna-Telecom_Italia-Italy

Space Travel features heavily in some of the coolest cards as this Italian design of an early spacecraft illustrates perfectly.

15. Science Fiction

phone card

Source: http://colnect.com/en/phonecards/phonecard/152369-Startrek-Advertising_Cards_Chip_CRE-Series-KPN_-_Chip_Cards_LG_Cards-Netherlands

At the risk of repeating a theme, some of the best phone cards are the ones that combine the best hobbies. This Star Trek card is therefore attractive to card collectors as well as fans of the long running series.

16. People and arenas

phone card

Source: http://colnect.com/en/phonecards/phonecard/114576-Arena_Packed_Crowd-Arena_Crowd-Arena_smart_cards-Netherlands

Another common theme shows crowds at concerts or at major sporting events. Few however will have captured the two as well as this issue from the Netherlands.

17. Changing seasons

phone card

Source: http://colnect.com/en/phonecards/phonecard/22213-Autumn-Four_Seasons-Chunghwa_Telecom-Taiwan

All over the world, countries have issued card sets depicting the four seasons. Few however will have captured autumn as well as this issue from Taiwan.

18. Architecture

phone card

Source: http://colnect.com/en/phonecards/phonecard/45429-Ausstellungs-Zentrum_f%C3%BCr_Gesch%C3%A4ftskunden-Chip_A-Deutsche_Telekom-Germany

Once again this is a subject where the potential is limitless, so choosing one card above all others is nearly impossible. However, this issue of a Hamburg skyline produced is Germany is a typical example of how creative photography and a cool phone card go hand in hand.

Author Bio:

This post was written by Matt Payne of MadeByOomph. Oomph are a plastic card printing company who print membership cards, gift cards, PVC cards, loyalty cards and plastic business cards. Visit them at http://www.madebyoomph.co.uk/


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3 Responses

  1. The card arena (#16) is not a calling card but a card used for shopping instead of money in Amsterdam Arena.

  2. Jan says:

    Thank you for this niche easy article.

  3. well designed phone cards, thanks for sharing.

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