About Me

I'm a private collector of British Telecom (BT Phonecards), Mercury (Mercurycards) and other UK telphone card issues including Plessey, GPT, New World, Paytelco and more. In 2013 I decided to set up this website all about telephone card collecting. The main focus being on BT issued Phonecards, as that is where my collecting started and main focus remains.

I started collecting phonecards in 1993 aged 13. The BT Phonecard that first got me interested in collecting them was the Kelloggs Cornflakes Phonecard (pictured left). This BT Phonecard of which over 3 million cards were produced was free when collecting tokens from Kelloggs Cornflakes cereal boxes. So I'm sure for many other collectors this telephone card was also the catalyst that got them collecting BT Phonecards too.

Later the same year whilst on holiday in Pembrokeshire I remember going into the Post Office in the small coastal village of Freshwater East to see what different Phonecards they had for sale. I brought two or three cards and then wondered how many more cards there might be to collect? My hobby and interest snowballed from there.

Pictured right - Me aged 14 with my 'Phonecard' birthday cake.

Getting more serious

I then joined the BT Phonecard Collectors Club (BTCC) later BT Phonecard Direct and ended up with a standing order receiving all the new monthly issues through the club. Later in 1996 when the new chip cards replaced the optical Phonecards I also started collecting those cards too.


My break from collecting

I continued collecting until moving to Burgundy, France in 1997, at which point I stopped buying and collecting Phonecards altogether. Although after returning to the UK I created a website which was online in 2000/2001 - called "The Phonecard Store" listing the Phonecards I had in my collection. So my interest still remained.


Collecting again

It wasn't though until May 2012 that I really kicked started my collecting once more. After browsing the auction website eBay and seeing the various phonecards that were selling at to me, very reasonable prices (my head was still set to 1997 prices)!

Since then my passion for the hobby and for collecting phone cards has grown again, so much so I've created this website, and set up Facebook page, Google+ page and Pinterest page.


Sharing my hobby

I'd been thinking about creating a telephone card website, since the summer of 2012. There doesn't seem to be many resources for collecting BT Phonecards on the internet so that's partly why I created Telephone Card Collector - to share my passion for the hobby, to collect and share information about the history and tell the story of BT Phonecards.

Pictured above - My very early BT Phonecard collection on my bodyboard. Click the photo for a large view.

Since setting this website up in February 2013 I've had many people contact me from those with cards to have valued or sell/giveaway, to other collectors, to people who worked or still work within the industry. I really welcome and appreciate those who do take the time to contact me. I'd not yet call myself a "complete expert" in this field, but I do have a very good knowledge which is steadily growing.

Telephone card appearances on BBC TV

In 2015, I was contacted by Catherine Southon from BBC ONE TV series "Put Your Money Where Your Mouth Is". Catherine had purchased an album of telephone cards at an auction and wanted to sell them to a collector, hopefully for a profit. I decided not to appear on TV, a collector friend appeared on the episode. The aim of the Put Your Money Where Your Mouth TV programme is to allow experts to be pitted against one another and challenged to make a profit - with their own money and their reputations on the line. In the episode featuring a collection of telephone cards Catherine made a loss, selling the Phonecards with a loss of -£7.12.

Pictured above - BBC ONE TV series Put Your Money Where Your Mouth Is featuring a Phonecard collection.
Click the photo for a large view.

In August 2019, I was contacted by TV production company Wall 2 Wall West. Wall 2 Wall were making a forthcoming TV series for BBC TWO entitled "Back in Time for the Corner Shop" with TV presenter Sara Cox and were focusing in part in the 1980s episode on the introduction of BT Phonecards being retailed in corner shops in the UK. Wall 2 Wall contacted me enquiring whether they could use my British Telecom cardphone payphone for filming the Ardern family that the TV series follows using in the episode. The episode featuring my BT cardphone first aired on Tuesday 24th March 2020 and features the 1980s and 1990s corner shop in the UK.


Future plans

I've just added a swap section to my website, which will grow over time. Initially this will be for me to list some BT Phonecards that I've got duplicates copies of in the hope to swap them with other collectors to help fill missing gaps in mine and their collections.

I've also just added an online shop with a range of telephone card catalogues. Years ago the choice was plentyful - even WHSmith had a range of telephone card album sleeves available on the highstreet. These days as I found out last year, there's very few options. So I've decided to start providing collectors with the option to buy a leading brand solutions directly from this website.

In the future I'm planning to add an online catalogue for all BT Phonecard issues, this though is a major undertaking and will take time. I've made a start with a couple of phone cards catalogue numbers BTP087 and PRO262, so I have a long way still to go.

I'd also like to cover other telecoms cards as well, I've made a start with UK company New World Payphones, Mercurycard, and Plessey but my knowledge for many telecoms and especially foreign cards e.g. Portugal is pretty much non existent. I'm really looking for collectors from or of other countries cards to help me write those pages.

If you think you can help me achieve any of this, please get in touch via my contact page or Facebook.

Thanks you for reading.

James


Last updated: 24th March 2020

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