Rare Christmas Card Sells at Auction

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.