In the history of collecting phone cards there are too many contentious issues. Phone cards are really popular with many collectors around the world, but for this kind of hobby there is basically no taxonomy and unified structure. Phone cards collecting is based mostly on a simple interest of people to the phone cards.
The first plastic cards appeared in the same time with the vending machines. Using a quite simple device you could buy some small items or some food. With the development of communication and telephony, in many cities around the world there were installed the payphones. With the invention of those machines people start thinking about their usage. It was decided to produce the plastic cards for the telephones - the same as in the commercial devices.
So one of the first phone cards was used in Italy in 1976. The first payphone, that was working on plastic phone cards was installed in Rome. Like everything new, the phone cards were also not perfect. Because of their slimness, they often get stuck in the phone machines and were putting them out of order. To use the first plastic phone card, it was necessary to break off one of it's corners.
The first phone cards have been calculated on the value of fifty Italian lire. However, it was not possible to know how much money there are left in the account or any other information about the card. After the successful Italian experience the phone cards became popular in many other European countries. In Russia, for example, the first phone card was made in 1989, more than a decade after the European telephone cards. It was only thirty cards produced. And now they are of a great value among collectors.
As soon as the first plastic card for a payphone appeared, there appeared also some people who were interested in the new invention. So collecting the phone cards became a new hobby. Initially, the society of philatelists became very interested in the phone cards. After all, the phone cards are also decorated with various images associated with nature, culture and art from all over the world. Later collecting phone cards has resulted in a separate branch of collectibles.
Despite the widespread enthusiasm for collecting phone cards and a huge variety of them, in the world, there are only very few organizations where people could share comprehensive information about the phone cards.