The first commercially printed Christmas card is up for sale – a merry Victorian-era scene that scandalized some who denounced it as humbug when it first appeared in 1843.
The card, being sold online starting Friday through a consortium run by Marvin Getman, a Boston-based dealer in rare books and manuscripts, depicts an English family toasting the recipient with glasses of red wine.
“A Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to You,” it reads. But for teetotalers – and there were plenty of those in the 19th century – the imagery included a bit too much holiday cheer: In the foreground, a young girl is pictured taking a sip from an adult’s glass.
That didn’t sit well at the time with the puritanical Temperance Society, which kicked up such a fuss it took three years before another Christmas card was produced.
“They were quite distressed that in this ‘scandalous’