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Postcard formats: Maxicards

Every now and then, we get emails asking us about specific types of postcards. Instead of replying to them one by one, we thought a series of posts explaining them was in order. First up, Maxicards!

What are Maxicards? These maximum cards, as they are often known, are postcards that feature an image (a monument, animal, event, etc) along with a stamp of a very similar or related image on the picture side of the card. There are actually thousands of them in circulation today, as they are regularly issued by the Post Offices themselves - with collectors paying big bucks for originals. See some examples on the Virgin Stamps website.


Maxicards have a long and storied history. The first Maxicard was mailed by a tourist in Egypt in 1893, who sent a picture postcard to a friend in Germany. The postcard depicted a pyramid and the Sphinx, and was mailed after he stamped it with a pyramid and Sphinx stamp. He accidentally placed the stamp on the view side of the postcard and thus the maximum card was born from his mistake. Whether later cards were accidents or by design, the craze took off. In 1978, the International Federation of Philately (FIP) officially recognized maximaphily as a branch of philately, basically saying that Maxicards are legitimate.


So, how can you create a Maxicard? You might purchase the postcard and related stamp, put the stamp on the image side and send it, but you have not actually created a Maxicard. Why is this? You are missing another important step that collectors look for: not only do you want the stamp and the postcard to be related, but you also want the postmark to tie in as well! Only then will you have a full-fledged maximum card. Learn more about creating a maximum card on this Maximum Cards website.


Do you have a favourite type of postcard that you'd like to see featured, or are you intrigued by a certain format? Let us know in the comments!

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Posted by on 19 Mar, 2012
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58 comments so far

a2fonso, Brazil
I can make one of these cards from São Paulo :)
Posted by a2fonso on 19 Mar, 2012

nomadic_gypsy, United States of America
I have found cards related to stamps issued and paired them up before but I put the stamp in the normal side. Even though Its not a maxi card, I know many people enjoy that a lot!
Posted by nomadic_gypsy on 19 Mar, 2012

marica_t, United States of America
Maxicards look very interesting - I'll have to try to make one sometime!

Interesting post :D
Posted by marica_t on 19 Mar, 2012

phuleshouse, Canada
Canada Post, in my area, does not have the corresponding cancellation stamp although alot of times I will send the card with the actual stamp.
Posted by phuleshouse on 19 Mar, 2012

Csaw712, United States of America
I've never heard of this before! Thanks for the educational post!
Posted by Csaw712 on 19 Mar, 2012

JinaSensei, United States of America
I hope to collect these types of cards. I have never seen my country issue them before...that or I just never was introduced to them.
Posted by JinaSensei on 20 Mar, 2012

crazyaboutpostcard, Canada
I love Maxicards! I have made a few on my own! They are quite unique!
Posted by crazyaboutpostcard on 20 Mar, 2012

carolreader, United States of America
I'm so glad you explained this! I've been Postcrossing for years, had seen requests for these, but was never sure what they were. I have received some, too. I knew they were special cards, but didn't know they were maxicards.
Posted by carolreader on 20 Mar, 2012

LyndaC, Canada
Thank you for this article, which I is close to my suggestion of a couple of weeks ago. It is great to know that you are listening and trying to keep us informed.
Posted by LyndaC on 20 Mar, 2012

cathlud, Australia
Many of Australia's Stamp Issues have Maxicards associated with them. Sometimes the image on the postcard is exactly the same as the image on the stamp and sometimes the stamp and postcard images are different but related. The purchase price includes international postage.
Posted by cathlud on 20 Mar, 2012

BOOGIE_PIPPIN, United Kingdom
I have seen Maxicards requested but didn't know what they were. I've had a few and now know that's what they are called. I would love to try making them but don't know how. Can anyone help, please.
Posted by BOOGIE_PIPPIN on 20 Mar, 2012

aberline, Australia
Maxicards are my favourites! I have received this artic fox one and its my most favourite postcrossing card. Ive sent a few myself, they are hard to get in Australia as most post offices stare blankly at you when you ask if they stock them, and if they do stock them they go very quickly. But its worth persevering, as not only are they economical (they usually cost less than international postage), they are beautiful and cover many varied topics. I wish everyone would try and get some maxicards from their country and send them off into postcrossing world!
Posted by aberline on 20 Mar, 2012

dartheather, Australia
Great article on Maxicards. For Australians and even people from overseas. One can purchase Australian Maxicards from the Australian Philatelic Bureau, PO Box 4000, Ferntree Gully VIC, 3158, Australia. If you write to them and ask about ordering them, they will probably send you a Stamp Bulletin or a letter advising how much it will cost to be on a standing order for the next 6 months of Maxicards to be issued. I find this a very good way to buy them. As that way you do not miss any new issues. It does mean that you do not receive them until 3 months worth have been issued. Hope that helps.
Posted by dartheather on 20 Mar, 2012

myfloya, Indonesia
i just bought 4 maxicards, if anyone interested :)
Posted by myfloya on 20 Mar, 2012

islander61, Bahamas
So that's what they are! Thanks so much for the informative article. I like the idea that you will now be explaining all of these different collections etc. for us. Don't know if such a thing exists at the post-offices here though, doubt it very much. You get a date-postmark and that's it.
Posted by islander61 on 20 Mar, 2012

Eilinor, Australia
Very interesting article! Maxicards looks really cute and unique! But I think that there'll be really difficult to find them here in Italy, the post office always create a lot of problem for every unusual stuff (also for coloured envelopes) That's really a pity
Posted by Eilinor on 20 Mar, 2012

morning_sky, Germany
Thanks for the interesting article! Before, I always thought maxicards were a larger format of the normal postcards ... Is there a special reason why they are called _maxi_?
Posted by morning_sky on 20 Mar, 2012

Luziaceleste, Brazil
great information! I do my best to correlate stamp to postcard theme, and from now I will try to come up with some maxicards for those who collect them. Postmark related to the stamp is going to be the biggest challenge... not easy, really!
Posted by Luziaceleste on 20 Mar, 2012

marlepowe, United States of America
I do not believe I have ever received one or I did not know what it was. I'll have to check. I do know I have never seen them to buy in Missouri. Once I bought some at the P.O. that had a matching stamp printed on the back and were of U.S. national parks.
Posted by marlepowe on 20 Mar, 2012

postmuse, United States of America
Sadly, in the US, the post office won't let us use the postage on the front of postcards. They will insist on all postage on the back. We can put a postage stamp on the front, but it will not count as actual postage, and won't be postmarked. I think the US postal service is missing out on a potentially wonderful medium for making the postal service more interesting!
Posted by postmuse on 20 Mar, 2012

Manraj_Singh, India
I can make Maxi Cards from India would someone like to swap ?but there will be no special cancellation just for your concern
Posted by Manraj_Singh on 20 Mar, 2012

snarriet, Finland
When new stamps are issued, you can - for that one day - get special cancellations/postmarks on your cards, and you can choose the exact place of the cancellation. At least this is the case in Finland. Only then the postmarks are related to the stamp(s). However, if you put a stamp on the front side of the card, it doesn't count as postage, so you'll have to buy another stamp for that purpose. I live in Helsinki and the Main Post office isn't too far away, so I try to attend every stamp launching. Unfortunately, this kind of thing is not held in other cities (or other post offices), unless the new stamp(s) has/have something to do with a particular attraction in a city other than Helsinki. Some people travel to Helsinki only to attend these stamp events. Sometimes there are "official" maxicards that you can buy, but the Finnish Post usually doesn't bother with those. But it's definitely fun to make your own maxicards. Tomorrow we're getting some new maritime-related stamps, as well as a HockeyBird (Angry Birds) stamp, and I'll be visiting the Main Post Office for that.
Posted by snarriet on 20 Mar, 2012

aberline, Australia
Maxicard means maximum relationship between stamp, card and postmark...
Posted by aberline on 20 Mar, 2012

pucky, Netherlands
Such a good article! I guess I must have disappointing someone in the past, sending a bigger format only when I read maxicard was wished.......So sorry!! Now I know what it means!
Posted by pucky on 20 Mar, 2012

delfinnetti, Germany
I have been sent such a Maximum Card - a wonderful christmas one from Australia. At the time I didn´t even know what it was called though I realized that all three were in connection (card, stamp and postmark).
Posted by delfinnetti on 20 Mar, 2012

nomadic_gypsy, United States of America

this is a nice Maxi card I received from Thailand
I also received another one from Greece that had a gold cancellation seal on the matching stamp It was quite different unlike any cancellation mark I had ever seen!
Posted by nomadic_gypsy on 20 Mar, 2012

nomadic_gypsy, United States of America
WOW @delfinnetti! That is a beautiful MAXI card!
Posted by nomadic_gypsy on 20 Mar, 2012

pennyred, Canada
As I understand it, to be a true maxicard, the stamp on the front should be cancelled on the day of issue, and the cancel must have a design that matches the stamp and picture on the card. No wonder they are so collectible! The stamp is not meant to pay the postage, just to enhance the card's picture.
Posted by pennyred on 20 Mar, 2012

nikcynoo, United Kingdom
I've never got a maxi card but I would be interested in swapping with someone plz so anyone who wants to swap get in touch plz
Posted by nikcynoo on 20 Mar, 2012

clare_bell, South Africa
So cool! I never knew about that :) I will keep my eyes open for some.
Posted by clare_bell on 21 Mar, 2012

nisnoopy3, Malaysia
One of the best surprise I received from here is this maxi card that was issued on my birthdate! XD

The sender doesn't know about my birthdate. Isn't it a lovely surprise? ^_^

Thanks to Viva101, for the amazing maxi card! :D
Posted by nisnoopy3 on 21 Mar, 2012

sarahluvsanime, India
they are very nice. its good to know new stuff!! unfortunately living in a small town doesnt provide much stamp options.
Posted by sarahluvsanime on 21 Mar, 2012

Corydoras, Austria
I really like to match picture and stamp, but having the stamp on the "correct" side.
To give a totally different input though: I hate those maxicards. Stamp and postmark ruin the picture, if you ask me.
But opinions are different. :)
Posted by Corydoras on 21 Mar, 2012

Sharkz, Australia
Maxicards are EXTREMELY EASY to obtain in Australia. I have a huge collection. I also get extra's and send them out to my post crossing friends if the theme they want suits their collection. By the by they are only increasing in value. They are well designed and look great in any collection. But please note: by collecting definition Maxicards are only MAXICARDS when they are officially issued by a PO with FDI stamp and postmark. If you make your own, thats great! But the ones collected and have $$$ cale ( as opposed to intrinsic value) are those that are issued by PO's.
Posted by Sharkz on 21 Mar, 2012

Sharkz, Australia
p.s. especially I love the Maxi's from AAT (Australian Antarctic Territories)and other Antarctic places My Collection of Antarctic:
Posted by Sharkz on 21 Mar, 2012

aberline, Australia
the artic fox maxicard

I guess they are easy compared to other countries and once you have a standing order set up they are "extremely easy", but it is hard if you are just walking in off the street into your local post office (in western australia!)...

p.s I have often admired your range of maxicards artefaque!
Posted by aberline on 22 Mar, 2012

aberline, Australia
this one is also amazing and surprisingly hadnt been favourited!
Posted by aberline on 22 Mar, 2012

Willemijn, Netherlands
Up till now I sent very big cards to those that ask for Maxicards :-D
Posted by Willemijn on 22 Mar, 2012

Nipi, Netherlands
Great article, I buy these cards one of the local stores, selling stamps. Usually send them to people who collect stamps or maxicards.
Posted by Nipi on 22 Mar, 2012

Sharkz, Australia
@aberline...oh no LOL Mate No standing order...just friendly PO. rare I know but they are and I love 'em :P
Posted by Sharkz on 22 Mar, 2012

CTalle, Malaysia
Posted by CTalle on 23 Mar, 2012

CamJP, Australia
I'm a big fan of maxicards and send many from this and my other account CamJP.

Here's a few of my favourites

Posted by CamJP on 24 Mar, 2012

CamJP, Australia
Oops - my other account is madam22
Posted by CamJP on 24 Mar, 2012

elos, Netherlands
I was lucky to get this one
as a swap from Linzerin in Austria.
Posted by elos on 24 Mar, 2012

hulottati, Germany
A very interesting article and a rich choice you all present here! I suggested to the postcrossing team an article about the old cards of typical US-size and would also love an exchnage about cards showing THE LANGUAGE OF STAMPS (stamps sticked in a certain way as a message; i.g. "I miss you".
I know that these cards existed in Germany, Great Britain and France and were very popular in the 6os - has anyone got more informations about such cards in other countries?
Posted by hulottati on 26 Mar, 2012

isagv, Germany
Posted by isagv on 26 Mar, 2012

Jiaojiao, China
I very like Maxicards, stamps, postmarks and cards of the beautiful, in China many people call it: 三位一體的極限片.:)
Posted by Jiaojiao on 27 Mar, 2012

vatsala, India
This is a very informative post. Looking forward to the other posts in this series.
Posted by vatsala on 31 Mar, 2012

Mommio, United States of America
My Girl Scout troop received their first Maxi card the other day and it is their all-time favorite because it shows the Girl Guides of Australia--their sisters in WAGGS (World Association of Girl Guides and Scouts). It is really special because Girl Scouts are celebrating their 100th anniversary in the United States this year.
Posted by Mommio on 1 Apr, 2012

Busla, Finland
I always thought that Maxicards are just big or long cards... Oops!
Posted by Busla on 1 Apr, 2012

tjorras, South Africa
Please tell us about Maxi Silk Cards. I've heard the term, but doesn't know what it means.
Posted by tjorras on 3 Apr, 2012

remyandlarni, Australia
Just wanted to let people know, that the stamp on a maxicard is the actual postage, and is sometimes cheaper than actually putting a stamp on a "Normal" postcard, in Australia atleast. Yes to be a true Maxicard, they have to have the postcard, stamp & matching postmark.
Posted by remyandlarni on 3 Apr, 2012

highlandhermit, United Kingdom
i used to collect stamps when i was a teen but back then i never knew about maxicards. i recently got interested in them and am surprised i have never recieved one. i am very interested in frog/toad themed maxi cards. i dont have any to offer in return trades but i can offer used random world stamps that could be several decades old.
Posted by highlandhermit on 12 Apr, 2012

aberline, Australia
Here are some of my favourite maxicards from Finland!

Moomin maxicards

Inge Look old ladies maxicard

Finnish artist Virpi Pekkala

Posted by aberline on 14 Apr, 2012

LittleCableCars, United States of America
I made my first maxicard today!

Posted by LittleCableCars on 15 Apr, 2012

LittleCableCars, United States of America

Here is the link. Now I have a new hobby.
Posted by LittleCableCars on 15 Apr, 2012

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