Phonecards with a 'split' control number

British Telecom (BT) telephone cards produced by Landis & Gyr between 1981 and 1996 all featured a control number on the reverse. What is a control number?

Split control numbers occur on quite a number of early British Telecom (BT) definitive issued telephone cards from the Cardphone (1st issue) and 2nd definitive issue, and - more rarely - on subsequent BT/Landis & Gyr optical Phonecard issues.

It was believed that the Landis & Gyr factory in Acton, North London, UK (pictured below) had at least one machine which impressed control numbers onto the reverse of the cards in this fashion, and which was sometimes used when ordinary machines were either being 'rested', repaired, or when all the machines were being used to produce telephone cards.

Landis and Gyr UK factory in North Acton, London, England

Whatever the reason 'spilt' control numbers which consist of two or three groups of three letters/numbers, for example 123 A45 678 as opposed the more common consecutive control number 123A45678 are sometimes encountered on the reverse of BT Phonecards.

The BT Phonecard pictured below from a batch produced in April 1983 in Landis & Gyr's factory in Zug, Switzerland features a split control number of G2 180 155.

Pictured above - Face of definitive 1st issue 200unit BT Phonecard (left) and cards 'split' control number on the reverse (right).

BT Phonecards seen with a split control number include:

‣BTC177 - Euro 1996 (4) Alan Shearer - 20units - control number: 999 A40 180
‣BTD001 - 1st Issue Phonecard definitive - 10units - control number: 543 488
‣BTD003 - 1st Issue Phonecard definitive - 100units - control number: G5 030 899
‣BTD009 - 2nd Issue Phonecard definitive - 40units - control number: 503 C06 280
‣BTD025 - 5th Issue Phonecard definitive - 40units - control number: 091 G23 831
‣BTD032 - 7th issue Phonecard definitive - 20units - control number: 109 A82 799
‣BTS001 - Green / Silver (Short Track) Service Card - 200units - control number: 03 038 943

Also seen are two BT Phonecards which both feature TWO control numbers on the reverse, one which is split, while the other the normal, the phone cards are:

‣BTD044 - 9th Issue Phonecard definitive - 20units - control numbers: 531H65034 in the normal position and 531 H65 034 opposite the position of the notch.

‣BTD047 - 9th Issue Phonecard definitive - 100units - control numbers: 604K35178 in the normal position and 604 K35 178 in a reversed control number position (top corner near the cards notch).

While another BT Phonecard which also has TWO control numbers on the reverse, features two different control numbers in sequence, the phonecard is:

‣BTC020 - Spring 1990 Bluebells - 20units - control numbers: 002B977773 (in the correct position) and 002B977772 (in a shifted right position).

Pictured above - BTS001 Green / Silver (Short Track) Service Card with a spilit control number of 03 038 94.

Optical Phonecard Control Numbers: Further Reading

For further information about Landis & Gyr optical telephone card control numbers you may find the following links useful:

What is a Phonecard control number?
Phonecards without a control number
Phonecards with a '999' prefix control number
Phonecards with a 'shifted' control number

The quoted numbers e.g. BTD001 within the above text relates to the cards unique designated catalogue number, over the years these numbers have become extremely well known by collectors.

The two latest catalogues UK 1 (pictured right) and UK 2 which together feature all of BT Phonecards and catalogue numbers can be viewed and purchased online via the collectors shop.

Last updated: 8th January 2024

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