The world’s first commercially printed Christmas card, with fewer than 30 examples left, is up for sale for 25,000 dollars, depicting a merry scene that scandalized some of 19th-century Britain’s more puritanical citizens.
The card was produced in 1843 — the same year that Charles Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol” was published.
The modern idea of Christmas, and its associated traditions, is understood to have emerged in the first half of the 19th century.
But the hand-colored lithograph card — which features a family and a small girl gathered around a table, enjoying glasses of wine — caused a scandal among the UK’s temperance movement, who were calling for abstinence from alcohol.
The image on the greetings card provoked outrage among the movement — “it was not only encouraging drinking, it was encouraging drinking by a child!”
The card proved so controversial that it was three years before the publisher produced another.