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1993:

The first Tia Maria card was issued in 1993, was used for sales promotions at Christmas 1993 by promoters Grants Ltd to help promote the sale of Tia Maria by off-licenses and bars. A total of 9,000 cards were released to members of the Telecom Eireann Callcard Collectors Club at 4.00 for a ten unit card. 2.00 pound's dearer than a standard 10 unit card. There was no maximum purchase limit , however the cards sold out only when the second series of Tia Maria cards appeared on the market in 1994.

Varieties :

Two cards exist. One bearing a flag and the other bearing a raised shadow flag.

1994

By 1994 The Telecom Eireann Callcard Collectors Club was expanding at a very fast rate and all around the world demand for Irish cards was growing hence the Tia Maria being a private card meant that the card received interest in Europe especially Germany a country where most cards released were for the private market. This gave Telecom Eireann the idea of releasing more private cards and led to the release of the second Tia Maria card being released in 1994 with two other cards namely "Eurobase" and "Eagle Star". Once again the Tia Maria card was a private issue and only 4,000 cards were issued to collectors and was sold at 4.00 for  a 10 unit cart at a 1 per person basis. This proved to be a very popular card which depicted an image of a face. The cards were completely sold within a number of weeks sending the cards to high prices of up to 45.00. this meant that anyone who obtained a second card by false pretences could make a massive profit and as a result the market became flooded with Tia Maria cards dropping the price dramatically...

 

Varities...

One variety of this card exists which depicts a dot over the letter "i" in Tia Maria on the front and the back of the card. This card came into existence because when the card was first presented to Tia Maria it was refused as it didn't contain the dot over the letter "i" which was Tia Maria's Trademark. As a result 1,000 copies of the card were repainted to contain the dot which left the card with a very shiny gloss finish. This card was sold sold to collectors thought the T.E.C.C.C and as a result has proven quite difficult to obtain either mint or used. Expect to pay between 30-75.00 for this card if you would like to add it to your collection.

 

1995

In 1995 the Tia Maria's third series was released. This time two identical cards  bearing the same image on the front side of the card were released while carrying a different message on the back of the card. For reference purposes these cards are coded with the card number followed by A or B. On card A the message " Make your next call a Tia Maria" was used while on card B the message "This calls for more Tia Maria" was used. Once again the cards were private issue's with 6,100 cards being sold to collector's at a 1 per person basis. These cards again received immense popularity and sold out within a number of weeks like it's predecessor before it.

View the 1995 Tia Maria Card 95 Set by clicking here : Card No 1107

 

1996 

In October 1996 a new Tia Maria card was released which contained many different features to the rest before it. These include........

View the 1996 Tia Maria Card by clicking here : Card No 1139

1997

In 1997 the sixth Tia Maria card was released . This card was released in the same manner as it's predecessor before it. Once again the card was a public issue and a total of 200,000 cards of 20 unit denotation were produced. This card bears an image of an eye. This has so far been the last Tia Maria card produced in Ireland.

View the 1997 Tia Maria Card by clicking here : Card No 1197

Conclusion......

The Tia Maria cards combine into what is a truly excellent set, which has proven to be popular both here in Ireland and Abroad and hopefully will continue to grow with even more continuous success in the nearby future.

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Copyright  1997, 1998 Steven Hanley. All rights reserved.