The Bording Mærkats

OBS: Teksten her er uden illustrationerne

The Danish printing company Andreasen & Lachman in 1913 decided to transplant the German success in publishing poster stamps. They dismissed the German name ‘Reklamenmarken’, since their ambition was to produce artwork, in this smaller scale. They coined them Collector’s Stamps. And they hit it big, with a production of 50.000 pieces pr stamp, in some instances reaching a high of 100.000, such as the popular one’s depicting the Zoo and the Tivoli. In just the first year they published 460 stamps, a number more than matched in the following years.

The vogue however had is time. The First World War slowly eroded the buying capacity, and in 1920 the production was put to an almost halt.

Two decades later, in 1939, the company F. E. Bording in Copenhagen envisioned a new potential in using stamps for advertising. Also they coined a new word for the stamps. The word ‘mærkat’*, composed by combining the ‘mærk’ from ‘mærke’ (the Danish word for ‘stamp’) and ‘kat’ from ‘plakat’ (the Danish word for ‘poster’). The new recipe was based on low production costs and on a hype of the collecting aspect. The success was immediate, with the first maerkats being heavy on national symbols, furthered by the occupation ofDenmark in 1940. 1942 saw the launching of a serial “Maerkat-News” as well as a club for collectors “The Society of Danish Maerkat-collectors”, which within a year reached a high of 3000 paying members.

Each maerkat came in a number of 5.000 to 50.000, and each carried the Bording name as well as the word ‘maerkat’ and a serial number, thereby setting them apart from the horde of competitors mushrooming soon after.

They of course were meant for the advertising companies to be put on envelopes, invoices etc, but a major part were immediately distributed to the wide net of collectors. Seen from the present they display a wonderful image of those years. Down to earth advertising with a name and a picture of the company or its products. With this concept it was however destined to decline as new currents of advertising developed, and in the 60s it had come to an end.

Within the thousands of maerkats 52 of them catch our specific interest. The size was 70×45 mm, and each depicted a card. Half of the maerkat was with the card and half with the advertisement, sometimes elegantly entwined. The 52 maerkats were not published together, and thereby again added to the enticement in collecting. It is interesting to note, that the German presence of course also was visible on the maerkats with f. ex. the films “Hab mich Lieb” from 1942 with Marika Rökk (Queen of Hearts) and Münchhausen from 1943 with Hans Albers (King of Clubs). The four of Hearts of course has an added interest, as it advertises for the Danish card-producer Warburg.

As card collectors we highly value the artistic merit. The blend of advertisement and applied artwork is truly interesting here, and even funny. I love the Queen of Diamonds most.