History of Italian cards (5): the “Carta Infinita”

In the stores all over Italy, around the middle of 1991, and at the same time as the Fasce Orarie, a new type of ordinary card appears to replace the previous card: it is the so-called “Carta infinita” (infinite card), so named for the inscription “Scopri la carta infinita” (Discover the infinite card) that appears on the side B. This is not an ordinary card, as the initials I.P. is expressed (advertising insertion) that distinguishes the figurative issues; given the fairly large number of Carta infinita (different by date or company), it is usual to consider it an ordinary issue.
The first Carta infinita, with the expiration date 31.12.92, are issued only by the companies Mantegazza and Technicard Polaroid. Those printed by Mantegazza have two anomalies, however common, which make them classify from the catalogs with a different type numbering from the basic one: the 10,000 lire card presents the version with and without the company logo. This is probably due to an initial oversight during the printing phase, corrected after 600 thousand pieces printed without the mark. The 5000 lire card, on the other hand, has the double version of the writings on the B side, which are either in normal or in bold type; the runs of the two versions are however almost similar. Therefore, the Carta infinita with a deadline of 31.12.92 are 6.


With the next deadline, 30.06.93, the company Pikappa also enters; there are therefore six different types of base (3 from 5,000 and 3 from 10,000 lire), to which is added the variety of Pikappa 5000 lire card that in some initial lots, those marked by the numbering from 337 to 340, presents the barcode printed in reverse way compared to the correct one. This card is the rarest of the whole series, with a presumed run of about 800 thousand pieces.

Then there is another variety that concerns the 5000 lire card of Technicard Polaroid; it exists in two different versions: the basic, very common, with the opaque B side, and the much rarer and more difficult to find, with the glossy B side, which should be distinguished by the lot number 017. The six cards with dating 31.12.93 do not have any anomalies or particular characteristics, and they have moreover millionaires printings that make them easy to find, as well as the six cards dated 30.06.94; the most interesting among the latter should be the 10,000 lire Technicard Polaroid which has a “limited” circulation of about 1,450,000 pieces. The complete series of Carta infinita therefore includes 26 different types: the state of used is common, not so much can be said of the complete new series.