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Last Updated: Saturday, 3 December 2005, 14:46 GMT
Christmas card sells for over 8k
The 1843 card
Christmas cards were first sent in Victorian times
A Christmas card sent 162 years ago as one of the first seasonal greeting cards has been sold for 8,469 at a Wiltshire auction.

The hand-coloured novelty is one of an estimated 10 cards remaining from an original batch of 1,000 printed in London in 1843.

The cards were sold for one shilling each (5p) at a shop in Old Bond Street.

A buyer from the greeting card industry purchased the card at Henry Aldridge & Son's Saturday auction in Devizes.

Acknowledged as being the world's first commercial Christmas cards, this copy was sent to a Miss Mary Tripsack, a close friend of poetess Elizabeth Moulton-Barrett, wife of poet Robert Browning.


"We don't know who sent it to Miss Tripsack. We can only assume that they must have been of means as the cards were a novelty at the time," said auctioneer Andrew Aldridge.

The sending of greeting cards at Christmas began in the Victorian era.

John Calcott Horsley, a British narrative painter, designed the card at the request of his friend Sir Henry Cole, the first director of the Victoria and Albert Museum.

A batch of 1,000 of the cards were printed on a lithograph stone then hand-coloured by a professional colourer.

Jakki Brown, co-owner of Progressive Greetings magazine and general secretary of the Greeting Card Association outbid another interested buyer of the card by 400.

She said: "There are a lot of people out there who feel they owe their livelihoods to Sir Henry Cole."

Christmas card fetches thousands
22 Mar 05 |  Cambridgeshire

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