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‘Tessera’ (membership cards) and other paper ephemera of Fascist Italy

Article about: I wonder if there is any interest in this forum on the ‘Tessera’ (membership cards) and other paper ephemera of Fascist Italy? I am not a serious collector myself, but have picked up a few e

  1. #1
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    Default ‘Tessera’ (membership cards) and other paper ephemera of Fascist Italy

    I wonder if there is any interest in this forum on the ‘Tessera’ (membership cards) and other paper ephemera of Fascist Italy? I am not a serious collector myself, but have picked up a few examples over the years. Apart from being relatively inexpensive, they appeal to me because there is such a wealth of different examples, representing the numerous organisations of the period, which in some cases changed their design on an annual basis. They also seem to me to be a good way into the aesthetics of the regime and its iconography, for example, showing the use of both classical references to the Roman Empire but also a great deal of so-called ‘art deco’ style, connoting Fascism’s strong identification with the modern. I’ve posted a couple of examples below, and wonder if any one else has an interest in this field?

    Regarding the images, the top one is for the Confederation of Fascist Corporations, dated from 1926 and issued for the province of Udine in north-eastern Italy. It is perhaps notable that this example uses the conventional western dating system, albeit in roman numerals. The other one, for the Confederazione Fascista dei Commercianti (Fascist Confederation of Merchants), in Salerno, uses the more usual system based on years since the Fascist ‘year zero’ – the beginning of the new era – in 1922. Anno XIX = Year 19 = 1941. I’m sure that all this is well known to list members and add it for anyone who is even more of a novice that I am.

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    Default Re: ‘Tessera’ (membership cards) and other paper ephemera of Fascist Italy

    Interesting topic DrP and amazing artwork to the cards , in typical Italian style !
    REGARDS AL

    We are the Pilgrims , master, we shall go
    Always a little further : it may be
    Beyond that last blue mountain barred with snow
    Across that angry or that glimmering sea...

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    Default Re: ‘Tessera’ (membership cards) and other paper ephemera of Fascist Italy

    Thanks Alan,

    Yes, the Italian Fascist period has left behind it a great richness of designs. The architectural heritage too is really notable, both in Italy and in Eritrea. I may be wrong, but I believe that Asmara in that latter country still contains the largest concentration of 1930s modernist buildings in the world, certainly one of the largest. Fascism in Italy drew much more wholeheartedly on its Futurist heritage than the Nazis did on the Bauhaus style in Germany. Its also the case that Italy had so much longer to build, and so left behind so many more fine public buildings. My understanding is that most significant building projects in the Third Reich were put on hold in 1939, so that only allowed six years - that said, it is incredible how much was done in that time.

    I have included a selection of four Tessera for the Confederazione Fascista degli Agricoltori (Fascist Confederation of Farmers) and one for the Confederazione Fascista dei Lavoratori dell Agricoltura (Fascist Confederation of Farm Workers).

    Philip

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    Default Re: ‘Tessera’ (membership cards) and other paper ephemera of Fascist Italy

    Very interesting, not seen these before.

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    Default Re: ‘Tessera’ (membership cards) and other paper ephemera of Fascist Italy

    Here is another example, this time from the Fascist youth organisation, Opera Nazionale Balilla, (ONB) dating from 1932. In this case the design echoes the façade of the exhibition to mark the tenth anniversary of the Fascist revolution (Mostra Della Rivoluzione Fascista). The Exhibition itself was accompanied by a fine illustrated hardback book, which is full of striking images and Fascist iconography.

    Philip



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