The first card issued was the 3p W.G. Grace stamp from the set of stamps commemorating County Cricket, issued on 16 May 1973, but 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.
Read more about this topic: PHQ Card
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