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Rare Christmas Card Sells at Auction


The world's first commercially produced Christmas card was designed by John Callcott Horsley for Sir Henry Cole. British auction house Henry Aldridge & Son recently sold a rare black and white copy of the card for $6,846.

An anonymous bidder in London last weekend purchased a rare holiday greeting card for over $6,800. The card shows a Victorian family "raising a toast to the card's recipient," according to Wikipedia. It is part of a set of the world’s first Christmas cards, which were printed in 1843.

British auction house Henry Aldridge & Son sold the card for £4,200, which equates to $6,846. The single black and white print is one of only 14 or 15 copies in known existence. It bears the message "A Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to You."

"In the early 19th century it was common practice to hand-write seasonal messages on calling cards or in letters," according to the UK’s National Art Library. "In 1843, in order to save himself having to hand-write dozens of Christmas messages, Sir Henry Cole had his friend, John Calcott Horsley, design and print a batch of cards."

They printed color and black and white versions of the card and sent copies to friends and family. A total of 2,050 cards were printed and the remaining cards sold for roughly 10 cents and eight cents, respectively.