First Ever Christmas Card From 1843 Goes on Sale in Kingston
A Victorian-era card, believed to be the first commercially made Christmas card ever produced, is on sale in Kingston.
According to a listing on getmansvirtual.com, the historic greeting card was produced in 1843 at the direction of Sir Henry Cole, founder of the Victoria and Albert Museum in London. The card features a group of men, women and children celebrating around a table. Although it seems innocent now, the image was deemed highly controversial in its day.
The world's very first Christmas card depicts a family toasting the season. The family members, including children, are raising glasses of wine, something that the Temperance League was not particularly happy about. According to Batledore Ltd, the Kingston dealer selling the card, the image was "quickly denounced and censored... for fear of encouraging drunkenness." It seems the young girl seen taking a sip of wine in the image was blamed for crossing the line of decency.
The world's first Christmas card was so scandalous that it was almost the last holiday card ever made as well. In fact, it took three years for another Christmas card to finally be commercially produced. Of course, today holiday cards are a big business, with over one billion mailed out around the world each year.
According to the NY Daily News, Justin Schiller, owner of Battledore Ltd. in Kingston, has put the historic card on sale for $25,000. Originally 1,000 copies of the card were produced, but today there are just about 30 known to exist. Another copy of the card is expected to go on sale at Christie's Auction House later this month.