Fascinating Facts About Greeting Cards

At Paper Papier we are known for our extensive collection of greeting cards. Not only do we offer the usual birthday, wedding, anniversary, and blank cards, we also carry cards for every occasion you could imagine! 

The history of greeting cards

This brings us to contemplate a little about the history of greeting cards.

Ancient Greeting Cards

History of greeting cards

Dating back to ancient China, messages of goodwill were exchanged to celebrate the Chinese New Year. In Egypt, papyrus scrolls were used to send greetings. By the 1400’s, in Europe, handmade greeting cards were exchanged to send greetings and to celebrate Valentine’s Day. An example of such is from Germany where New Year’s greeting cards were printed from woodcuts.

History of greeting cards

The Original Valentine’s Card

The history of greeting cards

The British Museum has the oldest known Valentine’s Card card known in existence. It is written to Bonne of Armagnac by her husband, Charles, the Duke of Orleans. He was imprisoned in the Tower of London.

History of greeting cards

The Evolution of the Greeting Card

The 1850s saw the greeting care evolve from an expensive, handmade and hand-delivered gift to a relatively inexpensive way to communicate personally. This was largely due to advances in printing technology and the introduction of the postage stamp which meant mailing a letter or card was far more affordable.

The surge in popularity of the greeting card was followed by new trends in the industry. For example, Christmas cards, the first appearing in London in 1843.

In the 1860’s, companies began employing artists to design greeting cards which were then mass-produced. 

Technological Advances

The history of greeting cards

Advances in technology, such as colour lithography in the 1930s allowed the greeting card industry to grow by leaps and bounds. In the 40s and 50s “studio cards” which were humorous greeting cards, helped to make the greeting card industry even more popular.

During the 1980s, small-batch printing costs were reduced along with die cutting allowing for the less expensive production of handmade cards. This allowed smaller niche companies to set up and compete against larger, established brands. Thus giving the greeting card world such a fantastic selection which can be seen at Paper Papier. 


The Greeting Card Industry

Every year in the United Kingdom, it’s estimated that over a billion pounds are spent on greeting cards with the average person sending 55 a year! In the US, approximately 6.5 billion are purchased every year with a total cost of over $7 billion.


The history of greeting cards

The greeting card industry even has an award for the best greeting cards published that year. The Louie Awards, in recognition of Louis Prang, the Father of the American Christmas Card.


Louie Prang

History of greeting cards.

Louie Prang was an American printer, lithographer and publisher. In 1864 he went to Europe to learn about German lithography. Upon his return to the United States, he began creating reproductions of major works of art. In addition to this, in 1873 he began creating greeting cards, for the British market and in 1874 he created Christmas cards for the US market. This is why he was given the title of Father of the American Christmas Card.

While we cannot put all our greeting cards online, we have a carefully created selection of packs. If you live in the Ottawa area, we invite you in to take a closer look. We are always adding more!