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Last Updated: Tuesday, 22 March, 2005, 17:39 GMT
Christmas card fetches thousands
1843 Christmas card
Puritans denounced the image because wine is being consumed
A Christmas card found in a house in Cambridge has sold at auction for almost 5,000.

The card dating back to 1843 is one of the earliest known Christmas cards to be produced showing a family enjoying a traditional Christmas dinner.

It was commissioned by Sir Henry Cole who was one of the founders of the Victoria and Albert Museum.

About 1,000 cards were originally made, but only 20 still exist. It fetched 4,700 on Tuesday at Bonham's, London.

The image was initially denounced by Puritan religious groups for the drinking of wine in the scene.

This card is addressed to a Miss Tripsack who was a close friend of the family of poetess Elizabeth Moulton Barrett who, in 1846, married Robert Browning.

The owner of the card brought it into the local branch of the auctioneers Bonham's.

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