The image above is a postcard, and a reproduction of the first known Christmas card. According to the notes on the postcard, “In 1843, John Callcott Horsley, R. A., was asked by Sir Henry Cole to design a Yule greeting which Cole could send to his friends. Horsley’s drawing was lithographed in black and white and then colored by hand. Only a thousand copies were produced [in the first batch], for the popularity of sending greeting cards was still some years away. Christmas cards were introduced to America in the late 1870s by Marcus Ward and Company of London.”
In the above postcard, three generations of a family are raising a toast to the card’s recipient. On either side of the family are scenes of charity, with food and clothing being given to the poor. Two batches of the cards were printed, for a total of 2,050 cards, and sold in 1843 for a shilling each. In 2001, one of the original greeting cards established a world record as the most expensive card ever sold. An anonymous bidder bought the card for £22,250 at an auction in the United Kingdom.
As the greeting on the card says, “A MERRY CHRISTMAS AND A HAPPY NEW YEAR TO YOU.”
From Winston-Salem Time Traveler.