The Austrian postal and telegraph administration issued telephone cards, beginning in the 1880s, and I was surprised to learn (several years ago) that such things existed. This is not really something that I collect per se, but I have bought a couple of them, because I think they're just so cool!
The card above has a face value of 1 gulden and bears an inscription stating that it is a "Talking card for telephonic correspondence between the two government telegraph offices in Vienna
, for a duration of 5 minutes
, beginning on the day indicated above at the (Viennese) time written above." It was used at the Vienna stock exchange on 23 October, but with no indication of which year. It cannot have been before 1886, however, since that was when the Vienna-Brno phone line was established, the first long-distance line in Austria-Hungary (111 km as the crow flies).
This one has a face value of 20 kreuzer, and the inscription calls it a "Card for telephonic speech on the interurban line
[Hirschwang N 8] up to the duration of 5 minutes
." It was used in Hirschwang on 15 December 1889.
Does anyone here have a catalog that includes these cards, and if so, could you please provide me with catalog numbers and more precise information about dates of issue? The information that I've been able to find online is spotty at best.