In 1938 the Τ.Τ.Τ (Postal Services – Telegraphy – Telephony) was the first to provide printed delivery to luxury telegram recipients.
This was the era in which the telegram, as the dominant means of communication, also became an aesthetic item.
Several years later, in 1957, OTE announced a national art competition for “designs for the illustration of luxury greeting telegram documents”. Many artists participated in the competition, as we are informed by the Press of the era. In the end, the luxury Christmas greeting telegrams went into circulation in 1960. They were delivered to recipients at a small fee (3 drachmas) for the sender.
The competition was repeated in 1969, while there were monetary prizes of 6,000 drachmas and 3,000 drachmas. First place went to Sophia Tokmadikou for her depiction of a Christmas Tree variation and second place went to Nikoletta Koutsochera for the depiction of a star.
In the third attempt to issue luxury telegrams in 1975 there was no competition. Instead, well known paintings were preferred, such as ‘KALOMANA’ by Nikolaos Gyzis and ‘THRINOS’ (Lamentation) by Kostis Parthenis. The ‘Christmas Tree’ scene by Spyros Vikatos was selected for Christmas telegrams.
The Christmas telegrams, like many others, are kept in the large collection of 8000 telegrams of the OTE Group’s Telecommunications Museum.