Sir Henry Cole of London is credited with commissioning and sending the first Christmas card. He sent the first one to his grandmother and aunt in 1843.
Sir Henry Cole commissioned John Calcott Horsley to design the cards. One thousand lithographs were created in the first year, but they did not sell well. Card illustrations were hand-colored and included scenes of Victorian families eating and drinking in celebration of the holiday season. The cards included the simple, festive greeting, "A Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year".
In 2001, the card sent by Sir Cole to his grandmother and aunt was auctioned for a record £22,500. In December of 2013, three additional cards were auctioned off in New York City.