Maximaphily is a branch of philately involving the study and creation of maximum cards. It is one of eleven classifications of philately recognised by the Fédération Internationale de Philatélie (FIP) and therefore has its own FIP Commission.
The FIP Maximaphily Commission holds a biennial conference on the subject, most recently in Lisbon in 2010.
Maximaphily did not become organised until after the Second World War. Before then maximum cards were created as novelties, often by tourists. Maximaphily is closely associated with thematic or topical stamp collecting and many thematic collections are enhanced with appropriate maximum cards.
A maximum card (maxicard, maxi-card, MC) is made up of three elements: the postcard, the stamp and the postmark. The object of maximaphily is to obtain a card where the stamp and picture are in close concordance, ideally with an appropriate cancellation, too. If all three elements are concordant, then that card truly is a maximum [concordance] card (hence the name maximaphily). Preferably, the image on the postcard should not be simply an enlargement of the image on the stamp. There are exceptions. For example: a work of art, like a painting (not a detail of it), is often shown in its entirety, both on the postcard and on the stamp of the maxicard.
Maximaphily displays have become popular at competitive philatelic exhibitions and special rules have been developed by the FIP to assist in judging the entries.
- Carlton, R. Scott. The International Encyclopaedic Dictionary of Philately, Krause Publications, Iola WI, 1997, p.154. ISBN 0-87341-448-9.
- FIP Commission for Maximaphily
- Healey, Barth. "Pastimes; Stamps" in The New York Times, 20 May 1990. Download link.
- Regulations for the evaluation of Maximaphily exhibits.
- Rangos, Nicos. What is Maximaphily?, FIP Maximaphily Commission, 2006 Download link.