First Christmas Card, 1843
This is the world’s first commercial Christmas card. It was commissioned by Henry Cole in 1843, the same year Charles Dickens wrote A Christmas Carol … 1,000 of these Christmas cards were printed, and Cole used as many as he required before selling the rest for 6d (sixpence) each. This price that made them a luxury item, unavailable to the working class.
This advert for the card appeared in the Athenaeum paper:
‘Just published. A Christmas Congratulation Card: or picture emblematical of Old English Festivity to Perpetuate kind recollections between Dear Friends.’
The card was designed by John C. Horsley. It was printed lithographically and then hand-coloured. Although 1,000 were printed, very few are known to remain in existence. One example was sold in December 2005 for £8,500.
Advent Calendar of Oddments 2012: December 10th