Sending a letter to Father Christmas - Edwardian-style

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First produced in the 1840s, Christmas cards have proved an enduring way to pass on best wishes to friends and family during the festive season.

However, one practice which has declined in recent years is the sending of Christmas postcards, mementos which had their heyday in the Edwardian era.

A private collection of 51 Christmas postcards held at the Treasure House in Beverley, date from 1904 to 1912, and feature sentimental images, of individual children, Father Christmas and bunches of flowers.

“This particular group was for Christmas, but you get the same kind of thing for Easter and birthdays, it was a very common thing to do,” said archives manager Ian Mason.

“The real boom was the period from 1900 to the First World War where enormous numbers were printed.”

The first commercial Christmas cards were produced in London in 1843. The cards which showed a family with a small child drinking wine together controversial, but over 2,000 cards were printed and sold for a shilling each.

For a time postcards took over from elaborate Victorian-style cards, but cards with envelopes returned in the 1920s.

Early cards from the golden age of printing now can fetch eyewatering prices at auction - the most expensive ever dated from 1843 and fetched £22,250 at auction in 2001.