Phonecards without a control number

Can't find a control number on the reverse of an optical BT Phonecard? Not all optical telephone cards have a control number on the reverse of the card. There is normally three explanations for a missing/no control number, these are:

1. Internal factory and Test Cards
2. Proof and dummy cards
3. Control number not printed in error

Please note: BT Phonecards that use embedded micro chip technology (as pictured right) don't have a control number, instead these cards have batch numbers printed on the reverse.


1. Internal Factory and Test Cards

Internal factory, BSK adjusting and Test Cards are all examples of Landis & Gyr optical telephone cards that in most cases don't feature a control number on the reverse of the card. Instead the cards control number is printed or in some cases handwritten onto the front of the card.

Pictured below a British Telecom Test Card with control or serial number 018629 and beside that a Uberwachungs Karten (Monitoring Card) for Structure 7 (Great Britain) with hand written control BV-1. Both of the cards control numbers have been circled in red below.

Pictured above - Two examples of Landis and Gyr optical telephone cards with control numbers on the front of the card, rather than the reverse.


2. Proof and Dummy cards

Proof cards were produced to enable customers to see their card/design, before the final print run was produced. Proof cards were printed in a limited quantity, often as low as just one card. These cards are usually encoded, but more often than not, do not include a control number on the reverse. So in theory, at least one example of all cards may exist without a control number.

An example of a proof card is the Persil BT Phonecard pictured below (left), some 20 of these proof cards were produced, before the card design was rejected. The card was rejected because the printing of the word 'Persil automatic' in red/green letters at the bottom right hand corner blended too much into the background. An amend was made, placing a white box under the word 'Persil automatic' and some 630,990 cards produced - as pictured below on the left.

Pictured above - Spot the difference - the card on the left is a dummy of which just 20 were produced, while the card on the right is one of some 630,990 copies.

Dummy cards were produced by Landis & Gyr to help showcase to British Telecom and other telecommunication companies from around the world, new printing procedures, etc.

An example of a dummy card produced by Landis & Gyr / Sodeco for British Telecom was a card handed out to delegates at the PTB Seminar, Bournemouth in 1987. The dummy card (pictured on the left, below) was not encoded and didn't feature a control number, was produced to showcase the (then) new four colour offset litho printing to create pictorial cards. The design was later used by BT for the Sir George Jefferson Visiting card (BGV002) - as pictured below on the left.

Pictured above - On the left - a uncoded dummy card showcasing Landis & Gyrs colour printing technique in 1987. On the right - the same card design was used on Sir George Jeffersons' business (telephone) card.


3. Control number not printed in error

Whilst these are generally rare, a large number and wide variety of Landis & Gyr optical BT Phonecards have been found over the years with a missing control number on the reverse. These range from early optical cards right through to the later issues in the mid-nineties.

In addition some of these 'no control' cards may also be proof cards, produced before the card's design was signed off and the Phonecard was actually commisioned.

BT Phonecards seen with no control number include:

‣BTA004 - Bird's Desserts - 10units - control number: missing
‣BTA008 - Castlemaine XXXX - 40units - control number: missing
‣BTA015 - Texas Homecare - 20units - control number: missing
‣BTA036 - London Regional Transport - 100units - control number: missing

‣BTC013 - Edinburgh International Festival - 40units - control number: missing
‣BTC013 - Winter 1989 Stag - 100units - control number: missing
‣BTC028 - Wildlife Appeal Red Squirrel - 100units - control number: missing
‣BTC031 - Christmas 1990 - 100units - control number: missing

‣BTD015 - 3rd Issue Phonecard definitive - 40units - control number: missing
‣BTD016 - 3rd Issue Phonecard definitive - 100units - control number: missing
‣BTD017 - 3rd Issue Phonecard definitive - 200units - control number: missing
‣BTD024 - 5th Issue Phonecard definitive - 20units - control number: missing
‣BTD026 - 5th Issue Phonecard definitive - 100units - control number: missing
‣BTD034 - 7th Issue Phonecard definitive - 100units - control number: missing
‣BTD041 - 8th Issue Phonecard definitive - 200units - control number: missing

Some older editions of the UK telephone card catalogues - namely 'Telephone cards of the world - Part 1 - Great Britain and Ireland', feature lists of cards where no control has been recorded for a particular card.

Along with discovering no control number on the reverse of a Landis and Gyr optical BT Phonecard, another rarity is the 999 control number. Read more about 999 control numbers.


Optical Phonecard Control Numbers: Further Reading

For further information about Landis & Gyr optical telephone card control numbers you may find the following links useful:

What is a Phonecard control number?
Phonecards with a '999' prefix control number
Phonecards with a 'split' control number
Phonecards with a 'shifted' control number


Do you have a optical BT Phonecard without a control number? I'd be keen to hear from you, please contact me and tell me more about the card, or better still, send over a photo or scan of both sides of the telephone card.

Plus if you are a collector and would like to contribute content, images or information to this page, please also contact me.


Last updated: 13th October 2016

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