Rare Christmas Card Sells for $6,800

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An 1843 Christmas card reading “A Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to You" sold for roughly $6,800 on Saturday at auction. An anonymous bidder paid £4,200 for the greeting card, equal to $6,846, at British auction house Henry Aldridge & Son. The black-and-white stationary is of a set of the world's first Christmas cards, and depicts a Victorian-era family eating and drinking.

Henry Aldridge & Son auctioneer Andrew Aldridge commented, “It’s a documented fact that the first Christmas card was designed in 1843 by Sir Henry Cole, a great Victorian pioneer who also had the idea for the Penny Black, the world's first postage stamp. In 1843 he had a bright idea of creating a Christmas card, creating 1,000 copies and selling them, while also sending ones to his friends and family."

The first run of Christmas cards commissioned by Cole were illustrated by John Callcott Horsley in London on the May 1, 1843. The image of the family drinking wine together was a bit scandalous at the time, and two sets of 1,025 cards were printed and sold that year for a shilling each.

The traditional English greeting featured on the card auctioned, "Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year," has since been translated into several other languages. Here's how to say Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year in varied tongues:

Albanian: Gëzuar Krishtlindjet dhe Vitin e Ri
Basque: Gabon Zoriontsuak eta urte berri on
Catalan: Bon Nadal i Feliç Any Nou
Chinese Traditional: 聖誔快樂,新年進步
Croatian - Hrvatski: Čestit Božić i sretna Nova Godina
Czech: Veselé vánoce a šťastný nový rok.
Danish: Glædelig jul og godt nytår! or simply God jul
French: Joyeux Noël et Bonne Année
Georgian: გილოცავთ შობა-ახალ წელს
German: Fröhliche Weihnachten und ein glückliches/gutes Neues Jahr
Greek: Καλά Χριστούγεννα και ευτυχισμένος ο Καινούριος Χρόνος
Icelandic: Gleðileg jól og farsælt nýtt ár
Irish: Nollaig Shona Duit
Italian: Buon Natale e Felice Anno Nuovo
Japanese: メリー・クリスマス
Norwegian: God jul og godt nyttår
Persian: کریسمس و سال نو مبارک
Polish: Wesołych Świąt i Szczęśliwego Nowego Roku
Romanian: Crăciun Fericit și La mulți ani
Russian: С Новым Годом и Рождеством
Spanish: Feliz Navidad y próspero Año Nuevo
Swedish: God Jul och Gott Nytt År
Vietnamese: Chúc mừng Giáng Sinh và chúc mừng năm mơi (acute accent over ơ in "mơi")
Urdu:آپکو بڑا دن اور نیا سال مبارک ہو

With the holiday season upon us, retailers like Hallmark, Amazon and Walgreen's will be moving loads of greeting cards. Starbucks Corp. reported Thursday that it expects record purchases and activations of its own Starbucks Cards. Last holiday season Starbucks sold over 2 million cards in the U.S. and Canada on the Thursday before Christmas.

Image via Wikimedia Commons.

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