ITALY POSTAL STATIONERY
The postcard finally made its entrance in 1874, together with a twin called reply-paid card. The stamp imprinted on these first postcards did not show a face value, although the rate, which was the same as the cost of the card, was clearly shown in the heading. The unfounded fear that postcards would compete fiercely with letters, delayed their introduction by three years; this anxiety was shown to be groundless and in the first month of usage sales of postcards amounted to some 173,380 lire. The fall in the number of letters sent was absolutely risible, considering that in 1874 sales of postcards totaled 8,824,047 generating an income for the post office of about one million lire. The following year the number of letters went up by 11 million and sales of postcards increased by a million in comparison with the previous year; by the end of the century sales were in excess of 100 million postcards a year. Postcards produced by private companies, and later, picture postcards enjoyed equal success; and in respect of the latter an avid collecting trend became a global phenomenon.
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