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Mặc định Irish Phonecards

Telecom Eireann first introduced Callcards in 1988 when they conducted three trials around Ireland. Since then Telecom Eireann has issued over one hundred cards and sells in the region of 5.5 million cards a year. Although this figure is nowhere near the 108 million cards France Telecom issue in a year, the market is growing rapidly so much so that Telecom Eireann are no longer the only operators of cardphones in Ireland.

In February 1993 cardphones were installed in University College Dublin. The 20 unit cards which were manufactured by Delphic, a partnership between Philips and De La Rue, were issued to college borders. The system is run by The Irish Telephone Company and U.C.D.. Of the 5,000 printed, a small quantity were available through Cambridge Telephones Collectors Club in England and were quickly sold-out to the dismay of Irish collectors. The remaining cards were at first sold to collectors and students but this soon changed. Quite a few of these cards were inscribed with "Field Trial" or "Trial" on the reverse with a blue marker. All the versions of this card are now quite difficult to get in mint condition and almost impossible to get in used condition. Since 1993 Superphone, a company based in Dublin have been issuing thin magnetic cards for use in their mobile cardphones. These phones are well suited to places where it would be inconvenient to place a normal cardphone such as on a bus or boat. The system uses the Eircell mobile phone network and therefore calls are quite expensive. The cards are manufactured in England and the blank cards are then overprinted with the company's name and logo in Dublin. The phones have been installed on coaches belonging to Ardcavan Coaches, Cronin's of Cork, Collins Coaches, Express Rapid, Eirebus and Donnelly's Coaches. Cardphones have also been installed by Irish Ferries (formerly B&I ) on their route between Dublin and Holyhead , which makes these cards of interest to both English and Irish collectors. These magnetic cards have quite a high face value (up to �5 for 5 units) but are available decoded for the collectors' market at �1.50 each. Although this makes these cards quite easy to get, there are a few cards such as the Eirebus cards and the Superphone trial card which are very difficult to find.

Superphone are currently in the process of upgrading their system to smartcards. The smartcards are also sent to Superphone blank and are then programmed and printed using state of the art technology. The first chipcard to be produced was manufactured by Gemplus. It was issued to commemorate the first flight across the Atlantic by John William Alcock and Arthur Whitten Brown in 1919. Their plane crash landed near Clifden on the west coast of Ireland. They won the London Daily Mail prize of $50,000 . It was intended that the cards be launched at a fair in Dublin but unfortunately only 13 cards were produced instead of 50. There was a last minute rush to try and get the cards from Marseille. The package was passed through a chain of motorcycle couriers and planes. The cards in the end cost so much that they had to sell the remainder at �150 each to cover the cost of the couriers. In October of last year they changed their smartcard manufacturer to O.D.S., a German company, and produced a new Alcock and Brown card which was limited to 200 copies. This card is now valued at �50. It was produced to evaluate the printing capabilities of their machinery and was given away free to collectors who had placed orders for the World Cup set which was delayed due to testing of the new machinery. The third card, which was issued in February, was issued to commemorate John Philip Holland who developed the first practical submarine. The 500 cards designed by Daniel Clancy were all sold in a very informative brochure. The next two cards are of special interest to collectors of aviation cards. They were issued to commemorate the first air race at Tallaght Aerodrome in 1919. Future cards include a card for use at the Superphone stand at Communications 1996. It is also hoped that the set of cards to commemorate the 1994 football Worldcup, which were delayed due to printing problems, will be issued soon. The set will include five cards, one for each country Ireland played before getting knocked out.

Early 1994 saw the arrival of the long awaited Dash card. This Electronic Purse was the first of its kind in Ireland. An Electronic Purse is a card that you can use in many locations to buy or use a service instead of paying by cash. The Dash card was issued as part of the GAUDI (Generalised and Advanced Urban Innovations) project which was financed by the EU. The projects which took place in Dublin, Bologna, Barcelona, Marseille, Rome and Trondheim were all aimed at improving transportation. The system installed in Dublin was one where you could use your Dash card on buses, in a car park, to travel across a toll-bridge and in Telecom Eireann card phones. The trial, which lasted three months, began with the distribution of questionnaires which people had to complete before they received one of the 2,500 cards. The cards were then given to the lucky applicants pre-loaded with �2 worth of free travel on the number 39 Cityswift Bus Route, one days parking in the Marlborough Street car park, two trips across the West-Link toll bridge and 10 phone units. The card also offered incentives such as a 25% discount on bus travel. The card, when used, could then be recharged in certain shops along the bus route. Of the 2,500 cards printed the final 500 cards were used for testing and for replacing cards if they were stolen. The cards were all numbered and marked "Property of the service operators" and therefore most dealers are reluctant to place them on sale openly. Although this card was in theory a Telecom Eireann card, it is often catalogued separately because the cards were never available through the Collectors club.

Telecom Eireann, although they no longer have the monopoly, have an excellent policy of keeping cards for collectors when they produce promotional cards for companies. The first limited edition cards to be produced under this policy were Eagle Star, Tia Maria and Eurobase. To cut down on administration, a form allowing the purchase of one set of three cards was sent to every member of the collectors club. The Eagle Star card was given as a gift to new holders of life assurance policies. According to them, the reaction to the card was tremendous with an influx of applications that outlived their expectations. The 5,000 cards show the Sea Eagle and the reverse describes the project Eagle Star has under taken to reintroduce the Sea Eagle in Ireland by breeding pairs in specially constructed aviaries in a wild life park in the south of Ireland. Following the success of the previous Tia Maria card another one was issued last year but with a limited quantity of 4,000. The card was sent to stockists of the drink to remind them to reorder for their Christmas trade. There is an interesting story behind this card which just shows how some companies have an eye for detail. When this 10 unit card was produced it was noticed that they forgot to dot the "i" in "Maria". The printing time for most cards can be many weeks, so returning the card to Schlumberger was out of the question. The 1,000 cards that were sent to Grants (the distributors of Tia Maria) were removed from their wrappers and the "i"s dotted. The result is that the 3,000 cards that came out through the club are still minus the dot! A 10 unit card was also produced for Eurobase, an international freight and warehouse management company based in Waterford in the south of Ireland. The card was used as a business card which was given to clients throughout Ireland.

In February of this year another three limited edition cards were issued. The first was issued for C.A.N., which is the advertising company that manages all the advertising on public transport. The card was inserted in a Christmas card which was sent to all their clients. This 5 unit card was the first advertising card to use full colour printing on the reverse. The second card was issued for the multinational company "3M". The card was used to promote their range of computer disks and was sent to distributors and clients. The third was issued for the "Four Courts" of which there are 4,000 printed.

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