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HALLMARK'S PANSY CARD IS AMERICA'S ALL-TIME FAVORITE

KANSAS CITY, Mo., March 13 /PRNewswire/ -- In this decade of e-mail, the Internet and instant communication, some might be surprised to learn that the most popular card in the history of personal communication isn't a high-tech, electronic greeting card, but a simple 55-year-old friendship card featuring old-fashioned pansies.

The card's simple message and design have carried it through World War II, the social change of the '60s, and the self-indulgence of the '80s to become the world's best-selling greeting card ever. Since Hallmark introduced it in 1941, nearly 28 million have been sold to date. Nearly 500,000 pansy cards are expected to be given nationwide this year.

"One reason for the card's unwavering popularity is the simple tone and versatility of the sentiment," said Sharman Robertson, Hallmark archivist. "It can be used for any occasion from general friendship and birthday to sympathy."

Evidence of the card's versatility is found in a 1958 Fortune magazine article, which tells of two men who entered Hallmark headquarters. They asked the receptionist for a card to console a friend who was about to be executed in the state penitentiary. The two men were offered the pansy card and left Hallmark satisfied, according to Robertson.

The outside of the pansy card shows a flower cart brimming with purple pansies. It reads, "To let you know I'm thinking of you." Inside, the verse continues; "Pansies always stand for thoughts - at least that's what folks say. So this just comes to show my thoughts are there with you today."

To celebrate the card's lasting popularity -- and its 55th anniversary -- Hallmark is introducing a new line of pansy-themed products, which includes gift wrap, handle bags, a watering can mug, diecut napkins and napkin basket, pansy cart figurine, paper partyware and stickers.

First introduced as a Mother's Day card in 1939, the pansy card was redesigned and introduced as a friendship card two years later. The price was a nickel, according to Robertson.

The original watercolor design for the card was created by the late Dorothy Maienschein, a member of Hallmark's design staff until her retirement in the late 1970s. The watercolor design was painted from a "model" of a small porcelain cart with real pansies. Although the card has been repainted, the original design has remained the same for 55 years.

Today's embossed version of the timeless card, which opens on the right, sells for 90 cents.

Hallmark Cards is the world leader in the personal communication and social expression industry. Hallmark is the world's largest manufacturer of greeting cards, creating about 21,000 greeting card designs annually, with a creative staff of 700.
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/NOTE TO EDITORS: Please contact area Gold Crown retailers to localize your story./

/CONTACT: Rachel Bolton of Hallmark Cards, 816-274-4873/

/Hallmark press releases are available through Company News On-Call by fax, 800-758-5804, extension 392093, or http://www.prnewswire.com/

CO: Hallmark Cards ST: Missouri IN: REA SU:

EQ-BB -- LAWFNS1 -- 1685 03/13/96 07:32 EST
COPYRIGHT 1996 PR Newswire Association LLC
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1996 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Mar 13, 1996
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