Postal Headquarters Cards A Guide To Collecting

Views 12 Likes Comments Comment
Like if this guide is helpful

Welcome to my guide on PHQ cards I hope you find the following information useful if you are new to collecting them.

 

PHQ Cards are postcards depicting the design of a commemorative stamp issued by the British Post Office.

What are PHQ Cards?

The 'PHQ' stands for Postal Headquarters; all items published by the Post Office are given a number, which is prefixed by letters. The first card issued, was the 3p W.G. Grace stamp from the set of stamps commemorating County Cricket, issued on 16th May 1973, this card was numbered PHQ 1, the numbering sequence has continued to the present day.
There is, however, one gap in the sequence. The number PHQ24 was originally set aside for the 9p Silver Jubilee card {this card was issued after the rest of the set}, when it was issued the card was numbered PHQ22E. The set of Wildlife cards, issued 5th October 1977, had already been allocated the number PHQ25, so the number PHQ24 was never used.

History

Although the Cricket stamps were issued in May, the card was not released until mid-July. Subsequent cards have been issued about two weeks prior to the release of the stamps, this enables collectors to obtain the cards before the issue of the stamps so that they can attach the relevant stamp and obtain First Day of Issue postmarks.

When they were first issued, PHQ Cards were intended to be just an occasional picture postcard for sale to the public at Post Offices and Philatelic Counters. However, right from the first card issued, some enterprising Stamp Dealers realised that there was a potential new Stamp collecting area, and stamps were fixed either to the face of the card, or the back, and postmarks for various cricket matches played between July and September 1973 were obtained.

In August 1973 a second card was issued for one of the stamps in the set to mark the 400th anniversary of the birth of Inigo Jones, architect and designer.

Over the next three years several more single cards, and a few sets were issued, from July 1976 onwards there has been a set of cards issued for every new set of commemorative stamps that has been issued.

The first two cards issued, 1973 Cricket and 1973 Inigo Jones, are larger than the current cards, measuring 120 mm x 172 mm in size, while all cards issued from PHQ 3 onward are 104 mm x 148 mm in size. This can be confusing for new collectors coming across the first two issues for the first time, if they are not aware of the size difference, they tend to think they are worthless copies.

Collecting PHQ Cards

There are three main collecting areas; many collectors like to collect only the unused cards. Other collectors like to obtain First Day of Issue postmarks or special handstamps that have some connection to the stamp subject matter. Some collectors will put the stamp on the back of the card, but a very popular area is for the stamp to be applied to the face of the card, so that the postcard picture, stamp and postmark are all visible on the same face.

The first card was not put on sale until two months after the issue date of the stamps, so would not have been eligible for a First day of issue postmark. However the card is known to exist with 16th May 1973, Birmingham FDI cancellation (back-dated by favour), but it is much more collectable with the July and September pictorial cricket postmarks. The cricket postmarks to look out for are 21st July, Benson & Hedges, and 1st September Gillette Cup.

 

 

The early issues

Below are the issue dates of all the early cards, issued up until July 1976, after this time a full set of cards has been issued for every commemorative set, and some of the definitive issues.

(#cards = number of cards in the issue)

Stamp issue date

Stamp set

#cards

Card set Ref

Qty. Issued

16th May 1973

County Cricket, 1873-1973

one

PHQ 1

20,000

15th August 1973

400th Anniversary, birth of Inigo Jones

one

PHQ 2

20,000

12th September 1973

19th Commonwealth Parliamentary Conference

one

PHQ 3

15,200

14th November 1973

Royal Wedding {Princess Anne }

one

PHQ 4

290,000

27th February 1974

British Trees

one

PHQ 5

16,750

24th April 1974

Fire Service Anniversary

one

PHQ 6

30,000

10th July 1974

Medieval Warriors

four

PHQ 7

31,750

9th October 1974

Winston Churchill Centenary

one

PHQ 8

114,430

19th February 1975

Bicentenary, birth J. M. W. Turner

one

PHQ 9

46,250

23rd April 1975

European Architectural Year

three

PHQ 10

51,000

11th June 1975

Sailing

one

PHQ 11

41,350

13th August 1975

150th Anniversary of Public Railways

four

PHQ 12

47,500

22nd October 1975

Jane Austen Bicentenary

four

PHQ 13

27,330

28th April 1976

Social Reformers

one

PHQ 14

38,350

2nd June 1976

American Bicentenary

one

PHQ 15

60,950

30th June 1976

Roses

four

PHQ 16

34,250

All subsequent issues of British Commemorative Stamps had a set of PHQ Cards issued.

 

Differences & Errors

Like the stamps they depict, because of the printing processes involved, errors and differences will occur in the printings. Some of these errors and differences are sought after by many collectors. Some of the notable differences and errors are listed here.

Card set ref.

Issue date

Stamp set

Details

PHQ 7

10th July 1974

Medieval Warriors

10p card known to exist with missing red.

PHQ 8

9th October 1974

Winston Churchill

5½p card known to exist with missing gold.

PHQ 9

19th February 1975

Turner Bicentenary

5½p card known to exist with missing black

PHQ 11

11th June 1975

Sailing

8p card known to exist with missing red.

PHQ 13

22nd October 1975

Jane Austen Bicentenary

10p card gold head & border, upward shift of 5 mm
13p card, black and yellow shifted upwards.

PHQ 16

30th June 1976

Rose Society Centenary

8½p upward shift of yellow by 2 mm

PHQ 18

29th September 1976

500th anniversary of British Printing

10p card upwards shift of olive & dark green by 5 mm

PHQ 21

2nd March 1977

Centenary, Royal Institute of Chemistry

8½p card with picture printed on matt {reverse} side
8½p card with upward shift of yellow & blue by 1 mm
10p card, missing red & black

PHQ 22

11th May 1977

Silver Jubilee

8½p card with missing pale blue
8½p card with pale blue shift to right by 2 mm
8½p card with grey shifted to left

PHQ 25

5th October 1977

British Wildlife

Badger card missing brown value and description
Hare card missing brown value and description
Otter card with bistre frame shifted upwards

PHQ 29

31st May 1978

Anniversary of Coronation

13p card with doubling of gold & purple

PHQ 30

5th July 1978

Shire Horses

13p card with missing brown

PHQ 33

7th February 1979

British Dogs

10½p card printed on matt {reverse} side
10½p card, blue & yellow shifted 12 mm to right
13p card printed on matt {reverse} side

PHQ 37

11th July 1979

International Year of the Child

9p card with downward shift of yellow,
blue, silver & bistre by 6 mm

PHQ 39

26th September 1979

150th Anniversary of
Metropolitan Police

10p card with red & black shifted
down and to left by 1 mm

PHQ 42

12th March 1980

150th Anniversary of the
Liverpool and Manchester Railway

Goods Train & Mail Coach card missing bistre border

PHQ 43

7th May 1980

London Landmarks

13½p card printed on the matt (reverse) side
13½p card with black print missing from reverse

PHQ 47

10th October 1980

Sports Centenaries

12p card with missing magenta, black, bistre & gold
17½p card printed on matt (reverse) side

 

Other notable differences

The card for London 1980 (to commemorate the 1980 International Stamp Exhibition), issued 9th April 1980, and the set of five cards for London Landmarks, issued 7th May 1980, both had the reference number PHQ 43.

Card set Ref

Issue Date

Stamp issue

Details

PHQ 18

29th September 1976

British Printing

The caption on 8½p card incorrectly states the woodcut is of the Knight,
when in fact it is a woodcut of the Squire.

PHQ 24

N/A

NOT ISSUED

SEE NOTE IN FIRST PARAGRAPH

PHQ 25

5th October 1977

British Wildlife

there were two printings of this issue, with slight colour variations

PHQ 31

2nd August 1978

Cycling Centenaries

The 11p card also exists with a completely different
back about the Cycling Proficiency Test.

PHQ 38

22nd August 1979

Rowland Hill Centenary

The 10p card also exists with a completely different reverse, which states
"With the Compliments of the British Post Office", in both English & French.
This card was produced for the 1979 UPU Conference in Brazil.

PHQ 47

10th October 1980

Sports Centenaries

The Post Office's National Postal Museum overprinted a small number of the
12p card for their Exhibition of Elizabethan Sports Stamps, and sold these
cards with the 12p Sports stamp affixed to the reverse.

Note on pricing and condition - In many publications there is often two prices for Mint condition cards. The first price is for cards in first class condition. The second price is for cards with slight imperfections i.e. bent corners, slight scratches, etc. Obviously the more the card is damaged the less the value. Prices for used cards are for special postmarks on face, special on reverse and First Day Issue postmarks on either face or reverse. Local postmarks or slogan postmarks are worth considerably less, unless they have a strong connection with the actual card then they could be worth a premium. For example the Reformers cards exist with the Colliery postmarks are very scarce.

Errors (or misprints) on PHQ cards are rare as they are security printed and occur very infrequently. PHQ cards with missing colours are the most sought after and can be very effective. Approximate prices for such errors are as follows:

Missing colours: £25.00 - £100.00 (depending on effectiveness)

Shift of colour: £2.50 - £30.00 (depending on effectiveness)

Printed on wrong side: £5.00 - £15.00

Reverse side blank: £10.00 - £20.00

Used cards are postal items and therefore come under postal regulations. The Post Office are very good about replacing bad postmarks but quite correctly they regard minor damage such as bent corners to be normal postage usage. Therefore collectors of used cards have to be slightly more tolerent than collectors of mint cards.

 

 

 

 

Have something to share, create your own guide... Write a guide
Explore more guides