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We launch our own range of funny cards!

12 August, 2020 0 comments Leave a comment

The Comedy Card Company launches its own range of cards to sell alongside the established ranges of cards from the country's top publishers.

With a lot of enthusiasm, an off-the-wall sense of humour and some truly dodgy drawing skills we were keen to have a crack at the card publishing malarkey. Surrounded by a vast quantity of humorous cards for many years, with a wide variety of humour styles, we have long been inspired to create some of our own designs. We had created and trialled a few Christmas cards last year to test the water. Some of these sold quite well so we have now finally got around to producing some 'everyday' cards. Over the years, we have collected a box full of scraps of paper, each containing a scribbled joke or cartoon idea. When we look back through the box, as it's been so long since we scribbled those notes, we are looking at those scraps of paper with fresh eyes. Some of them causes us to wonder 'what on earth?!' but a few make us laugh so these are the ones that we consider are worth a shot. 

The cards are all printed in the UK on FSC certified board. We supply the cards/envelopes without any cellophane wrapping so we are proud to be plastic free. Being online, cellophane wrapping is totally unnecessary as they are safely stored away from grubby fingers! More and more of our publishers are supplying their cards without cellophane wrapping, sometimes with a sticker keeping the card and envelope together. Where there is an option with a card publisher, we always ask to be supplied 'unwrapped'. 

We have lots of cards to come in the future but here are a few from our initial designs.

A real of-the-minute cartoon this one. As the hairdressers finally reopened, how many of us had a bush of wild hair ready to be shorn? I certainly had, having just stopped short of covering up the mirrors in the house to save me the fright of seeing myself!

(This is factually correct.)

Ah yes, your dog will always spoil a nice walk with a big fat poo!

Isn't the body an amazing thing . . . it gets better at multi-tasking the older you get.

Another cartoon about life during lockdown. The overflowing glass recycling bin tells us everything we need to know.

A cheeky birthday card.

The real reason why the recipient is loved more today than yesterday. Not so romantic after all.

2020 has not exactly been a fun year has it? With all those cancelled plans and the worry about health and work it's not exactly a year to party. As Prince said, maybe it's better to party like it's 1999.

These are just a selection of Comedy Card Company's own range. There are many more on their way. You can see the full range here - Comedy Card Company Card Range

 

 

 

Funny Father's Day cards to make Dad laugh

01 June, 2020 0 comments Leave a comment

Father's Day is on 21st June this year so now is the time to pick a funny card and make him laugh.

We love Father's Day at the Comedy Card Company because the card publishers always let loose and throw some great humour towards poor old dad. There are many angles to poke fun at dad, from his DIY skills to his sporting prowess, to his love of beer, his abounding flatulence, his dodgy parenting skills, the list goes on. But of course, dad is also our hero and provider of money, advice, patience, nurturing and, er, money.

Let's take a look at some new designs for this year as well as some old favourites. Just arrived, we have some great caption cards from the ever popular On the Ceiling range published by Emotional Rescue.

Emotional Rescue have also produced a couple of funny spoof front covers of the famous Haynes manuals.

We also love this new one from Norbert and Val. Norbert is no longer charged for a haircut but his barber charges him a fee to search his few remaining hairs!

We also have some some new Father's Day cards from Woodmansterne. We love this one showing what dad passes down to us - not just his knowledge but also his genes . . .

If your dad is a Giraffe, everybody will look up to him. Great cartoon from the They Can talk range by Jimmy Craig.

Also new for this year are these hilarious cards from Kiss me Kwik. The first one refers to the popular subject of the 'Bank of Dad'-

The second one features a funny caption to an image taken from the classic Ladybird series of children's books. Dad misunderstands when his son asks him if he is alright. Wonderful stuff.

These are some our favourites of the new cards. Now let's take a look at some old favourites, staring with this one from Brainbox Candy:

Another card depicting how much money dad has spent on his children over the years. A great caption card from Waving at Trains.

Finally, our previous bestselling Father's Day card and it is still asking us laugh. A classic from Kiss me Kwik.

These are just a small selection of our Father's Day cards, all with the intention of making dad laugh on his special day.

Take a look at our Father's Day Card Range

 

New funny greeting cards from Rosie Made a Thing

19 March, 2020 0 comments Leave a comment

We are delighted to present new funny greeting cards from the award winning Rosie Made a Thing range.

It doesn't seem that long ago when we first stocked some of Rosie Made a Thing's cards (I think it was late in 2016). Back then, Rosie Harrison had only published a handful of cards. Since then, her range has grown enormously both in terms of the number of designs and also in confidence. Rosie's cards have really hit the spot with customers who appreciate her fine sense of humour combined with her lovely, contemporary designs. Winning a Henries award (the greeting card equivalent of the Oscars) for Best Humorous range was the icing on the cake for this new publisher.

There seems to be no slowing down in Rosie's energy and creative ideas. Rosie Made a Thing have just released a superb bunch of new cards, bursting with fresh humour and fun.

Let's take a look at some of the new designs. Firstly, look at this one showing Alexa making a mistake by mishearing a request to remind a lady to go to the gym - we love you Alexa!

Wonderfully observed humour in this card, describing the essential difference between the type of shampoo used by women as opposed to the types used by men: the ones men use can also be used to clean the floor or the car!

Do you remember Judith Kerr's children's book 'A Tiger Who Came to Tea'? What would a husband really think if he came home to hear about that!

Fans of Rosie's card will have an inkling that she likes the odd drink or too. Her cartoons often feature the enjoyment of a glass or two of wine, prosecco or gin and tonic. This new design suggested that a true friend will 'reach for your hand' - while also placing a large G & T in it.

Now this scenario will be very familiar to many cat owners. You're reading the paper or busy doing a pile of paperwork and very soon your cat will appear and for some reason, known only to cats, they will thrust their bottom in our face. Helpful.

Classic joke for a birthday card, suggesting that the recipient still looks like a twenty one year old with the caveat that the onlooker would need to be standing a distance away for this to apply. Cheeky!

A great card for her this one, showing a woman who, like all women, has certain needs - starting with wine . . .

Rosie has a dig about men and the suffering they go through while experiencing man flu. As you may imagine it is almost comparable to childbirth!

A woman is out shopping for a new table and asks the confused shop assistant who many loads of washing it will hold. We know what she means.

A real friend stands behind you and shoves you into a taxi in the early hours of the morning. Such moral support.

If you say 'Susan you must give up drinking' to yourself, make sure that your name is not actually Susan!

These are just a selection of some of the new designs, there are many more new ones including some great cards for milestone birthdays. Take a look!

View our full Rosie Made a Thing Card Range

Funny cards - hilarious captions to images taken from Ladybird books

03 March, 2020 0 comments Leave a comment

New cards featuring funny captions to Ladybird images.

We are delighted to present new releases in the Ladybird card range from Kiss me Kwik.

When I was at school (only a handful of years ago you understand) I remember visiting the school library and found that someone had defaced some of the Ladybird children's books, adding speech bubbles to the innocent images with vulgar (and, to my mind at the time, absolutely hilarious) suggestions. Being an immature schoolboy, these made me roar with laughter. 

Now, moving on a few years, we now sell greeting cards featuring Ladybird images with the addition of funny captions. How strange that things come round again in your life. These are much more clever and funnier than those defaced books I came across back at school. However, one thing remains the same: isn't it the innocence of these classic Ladybird children's book that makes the addition of captions so funny? 

Ladybird books were most successful during the 1960s and 1970s and often illustrated a stereotyped image of British life, Jane and Peter playing games, with Mum very much the housewife and Dad the breadwinner. 

Kiss me Kwik is a Brighton based greeting card publisher and produces greeting cards featuring the classic Ladybird images with the addition of their own hilarious captions. They have done so with success for a while. Indeed our bestselling card of 2019 was the following card about a lactose-intolerant vegan visiting a restaurant:

This is another long standing favourite, showing a girl doubting that the shoes she is trying on are in fact Jimmy Choos as she has been told!

Another bestseller is this one showing a mum asking her daughter if she thinks she is a good mother. It might have helped if she had got her name correct!

Last year, this card appeared and became a big hit. A man receives less then helpful service on a train: rather than being asked if he'd like a coffee or tea, he is actually being asked what he thinks the brown liquid is!

With these existing cards proving to be so popular, we were delighted to see some new designs being published. So without further ado, on with the new!

Here are a few of our favourites among the new ones. First of all, a classic joke about a soldier in camouflage class which has been making us laugh:

We also love this one showing a boss being asked how many employees work at his company. Rather than giving a specific number, he simply says 'half of them' (that sounds a high percentage to me!)

Another new design which features some fine humour, about a man asking for a 'book about turtles'. When questioned whether he'd like a hardback book he thinks the man is confirming what turtles look like!

These are just a selection of our Ladybird caption cards from Kiss me Kwik. We hope they have made you laugh. If you like them, take a look at the range by clickng on the link below.

View our Kiss me Kwik Cards

The Top 10 Funny Cards of 2019

09 January, 2020 1 comments Leave a comment

As we start a new year, it is always interesting to have a look back at which funny cards were the most popular over the year. Let's take a look at the top ten bestselling greeting cards of 2019 . . .

I recently made the mistake of clicking on a BBC news article listing some of the famous personalities that we lost during 2019. It made quite depressing reading. Not only was it quite a lengthy list of much loved artists and celebrities but what made it extra painful was that so many seemed so young. Anyway, that prompted me to write this article on the funniest greeting cards of 2019 on a much cheerier note! Based on sales volumes at the Comedy Card Company, here are the top ten bestsellers.

In the style of a radio chart show, we will count down the top ten in the hip, cool style that comes naturally to us at the Comedy Card Company(!). Coming in at Number Ten is a classic cartoon from Matthew Pritchett, better known as MATT, the ever popular Telegraph newspaper cartoonist. 

At Number 9 is a great cartoon from the They Can Talk range. Cartoonist Jimmy Craig displays well observed humour, perfectly capturing typical cat behaviour which will be recognisable to many cat owners.

Just edging ahead in Eighth position is this greeting card featuring a great caption to a photograph showing a woman standing next to a small hill of recycling bottles. She is not ashamed about the quantity of bottles, more that some of the bottles have some alcohol left in them. Shameful!

At Number 7 is a great birthday card presented in the style of a questionnaire. Asking whether the person is childish or not, the drawing of a penis in the tick box tends to answer the question satisfactorily.

Another great caption card comes in at Sixth place. A classic doctor - patient joke, the doctor informing the patient that, after examining his hip, he has decided that the hip is not so bad after all - it's the rest of him that needs replacing!

At Number 5 is a really funny card from Twisty. A woman is disappointed at a job interview after she is told that the employer is looking for someone who can do the work of six men. She is gutted as she was looking for a full time job! Women seem to particularly like this one for some reason.

In Forth place, just missing out on a medal [hang on, are we doing a chart show or sports event?] is this colourful cartoon by Traces of Nuts. Tim Whyatt is a very successful cartoonist and we are always frustrated by the small number of designs that the publisher makes available in the UK. Anyway (that's enough ranting), this one showing a butterfly being quizzed by a traffic cop about the different photo in his driving licence is a perennial favourite.

In Third place, taking bronze, is a cartoon from The Bottomline range by Jamie Charteris. This classic range of cards has been entertaining us for many years and this new cartoon, released last year, has done so well. Another great doctor joke.

Taking Silver and our Second most popular card is this superb birthday card from the Fleet Street range by Pigment. In the style of a newspaper front page, Fleet Street features spoof headlines. Great headline showing a woman in a state of top-level excitement mode about her special day!

Drum roll please . . . light the fireworks . . . charge your glasses. As the excitement overflows, we present our bestselling funny card of 2019!

At Number One, our bestselling card, is this fabulous caption to an original image taken from a Ladybird children's book. When a man asks a waitress what she would recommend for a lactose intolerant vegan, she suggests a taxi! Fine, on trend humour from Kiss me Kwik.

There you have it. Is you favourite one here?

We stock hundreds of funny cards. Humour is a very broad church as you know.  We try hard to have the full spectrum of humour and hope to have something for everyone whether you want some cheeky banter for a friend or something to make an elderly relative smile.

A great place to start would be our Bestsellers Section

 

 

The Top 10 Funny Christmas cards of 2019

03 December, 2019 0 comments Leave a comment

As Christmas edges ever closer, we thought it was time to take a look to see what cards have made it into the top ten bestselling cards of the season. In the style of Top of the Pops (what do you mean you don't remember that?) let's count down the favourite Christmas cards of 2019.

At number 10 we have a classic cartoon from Jamie Charteris. His Santa and Co range often features cheeky banter between Santa and Rudolph. This one is no exception!

In ninth place, we have a wonderful cartoon from Judy Horacek, showing Santa on a psychiatrist's couch with an issue of not believing in himself. We believe in you Santa!

In eighth place, we have a perennial favourite from Cath Tate. The caption suggests that three wise women would have done a far better job than the three wise men. Who could argue with that?

At number seven, is a great, topical caption from Waving at Trains. I wonder how many dinner tables will be silenced this year when someone mentions Brexit?

In sixth place is another popular cartoon from Jamie Charteris showing Rudolph who has clearly had enough of Christmas already. 

Coming in at number 5 is a card from award winning publisher Rosie Made a Thing. Featuring wonderful humour and contemporary design, this card is a previous number 1.

In forth place is another illustration from Rosie Made a Thing. It shows Rudolph who has clearly had enough of all the other reindeers laughing at him and calling him names and has taken matters into his own hands. Oh dear . . . season of goodwill and all that . . .

Taking third position this year is another classic cartoon from Jamie Charteris and his Santa and Co range. Santa warns Rudolph against wiping his nose on the curtains. If only is was his nose!

In second place is a great cartoon by Tim Whyatt and his Traces of Nuts range. An early display of upselling technique is on display at this market stall.

At the top of the charts, and this year's bestselling Christmas card is . . . 

Well I did say Jamie Charteris was popular didn't I?! He takes top spot with this cartoon suggesting the real reason why Mary had to give birth in a stable in Bethlehem.

Well there you have it, our top ten bestselling Christmas cards for 2019. Is your favourite here? We have a huge range so we're confident we will have something for your humour taste.

View our range of Funny Christmas Cards

 

We launch our own range of funny Christmas cards!

19 November, 2019 0 comments Leave a comment

You might laugh (and we hope you do!) but we have produced some of our own Christmas cards. We couldn't resist presenting our own cartoons to add to the huge mix of funny cards we have on offer from established publishers.

At the Comedy Card Company, we are essentially like a traditional card shop. We source our cards from a large variety of greeting card publishers from all over the UK. From very large companies, with massive warehouses and fleets of sales reps, to the tiny publishers working from home (and everything in between). They all have something to offer us, from cards with mass appeal and proven commercial success to quirky, individual cards with unique humour. We hope this provides us with a wide spectrum of humour with the ultimate aim of having something for everyone's taste and having a genuinely interesting range of cards. As long as it's funny, we're happy!

For some time we have thought about publishing a few of our own cards. Surrounded by comedy, we are often inspired with funny and silly ideas for greeting cards. We often write down ideas, when they pop into our head, and put them in a shoebox. We generally then forget all about them! However, sometimes we open that shoebox and we have a flick through. As it's generally been a while since we thought of that idea, we are essentially looking at them with fresh eyes. With some of them, we think 'what on earth were we thinking'(!) but others make us chuckle a little. So we thought why not take a chance and dip our toe in the water and publish some of our own Christmas cards.

As you'll see we are not fine artists! We also don't expect our silly cartoons to be bestsellers that will rock the greeting card world(!) but we do hope you enjoy looking at them.

At Christmas, the Three Wise Men always come in for a hard time. The disbelief that there were ever three wise men and also their inappropriate gifts gives plenty of material for cartoonists.

 

Santa Claus as you might imagine features heavily on many Christmas cards, including humorous ones. We liked the idea that, before he existed, the red hats that he famously wears were still in existence but nobody bought them. I wonder what everyone wore to the office Christmas party back then . . .

When you get a puncture these days, you often open the boot of your car to find a tiny space-saving wheel rather than a normal sized tyre. We wondered if Santa might have the same problem if one of his reindeer snuffs it en route to delivering his presents.

If you were Santa Claus, who would you put on your naughty list? We reckon this year might be a record breaking year!

Now, if you were a fairy (bear with us with this one), what type of fairy would you be? Spare a thought for the poor fairy whose job it is to sit on top of the tree each year . . .

Brussel Sprouts are a real marmite vegetable (if you know what I mean!). Apparently you either have a gene that detects a bitter taste in sprouts or you don't. If you are missing that gene, then sprouts taste ok. If you don't like sprouts, you can explain to everyone that it's all down to your genetics. So leave us alone and give us some extra pigs-in-blankets please.

I wonder how many Christmas dinner tables will be silenced this year by someone mentioning Brexit. Just remember it's a time for peace and goodwill! My dad always said you shouldn't discuss politics, religion or money and the older I get the more I think he was completely right. They are only sources of arguments, disagreements and division. Anyway, if a heated argument erupts when your family gets together this year just remember to quickly bring out a large tray of carefully stacked Ferrero Rocher - the distraction always worked for that ambassador fellow in the TV adverts anyway.

Dogs simply love the snow don't they? All that running around in the white fluffy stuff, trying to find their ball, buried deep in the snow. However spare a thought for the short-legged Dachshund and his lower-slung anatomy!

Of course grown men can be the most enthusiastic participants over the festive period. They just love all the preparation, present buying and gift wrapping, don't they? Calm down men, you're getting over excited! Just try on your lovely new socks and behave.

We hope you enjoyed looking through our range of Christmas cards. (We won't be offended if you didn't.) Please have a truly enjoyable Christmas. Just remember not to mention Brexit at any time and also drink responsibly . . .

View our full range of Christmas Cards

 

Funny Christmas cards by Emotional Rescue

24 October, 2019 0 comments Leave a comment

We were delighted to welcome Emotional Rescue to our stable of funny greeting cards earlier this year. Our lovely customers appear to enjoy the humour in these cards as much as we do, with the range proving to be very popular.

We are therefore thrilled to be able to present Christmas cards from Emotional Rescue for the first time and we're sure they will be a worthy addition to our seasonal line up.

On the Ceiling is one of Emotional Rescue's most popular ranges and one of the best caption ranges we know. Let's take a look at some of our favourite Christmas cards from this range.

Alcohol always features heavily in Xmas card humour. In this design, we see a couple standing in front of a table laden with an enormous amount of wine / Champagne bottles. They suddenly realise that they hadn't accounted for Boxing Day so think that they must order some more!

A personal favourite is this one showing Santa being accosted by a little girl, reeling off her present list. He interrupts her and asks if she could wait until he's finished having his poo! 

Family gatherings are another popular subject for seasonal jokes. The caption suggests a perfect, happy family enjoying each others company. However, the photo paints a somewhat different picture!

Ah yes, the traditional joy of carol singers. In this card, we can see Mark who is fully prepared for a visit from carol singers - not with a bag of coins to donate or a plate of mince pies to offer around however: the photo shows him brandishing a shot gun! Please so not get any ideas yourself.

Two cards with the caption relating to the effort of food preparation for the big day. In the first card, a lady is making a Christmas pudding. She has got to the point in the recipe which suggests adding in some leftover wine to the mix. 'Leftover wine'? - she can't image such a thing.

In the second card, a woman simply decides that all this cooking is just too boring for words. She wonders if this is why Gordon Ramsay sears so much.

A man wears his present of a jumper, with a less than happy expression on his face. There is one thing that would cheer him up though - the receipt so he can exchange it!

Not coping well without an internet connection over Christmas, a man appears to have gone slightly mad. He is sitting, wearing a turkey hat on his head after having written 'I am turkey' all over the walls.

You can't beat a classic joke can you? A lady is looking for a book about pantomimes. Where is it? It's behind you, of course. Don't groan.

Is mum good at wrapping. 'Fo Sho!' she cries. Indeed mum is good at wrapping and rapping too.

Something from the Kama Sutra this Christmas dear? She seems interested but, unfortunately for the man, she misunderstands and thinks he is suggesting a meal from the local Indian Restaurant!

The Norbert and Val cartoon range features an adorable couple of the same name and is another long standing success story for Emotional Rescue. Look at this card showing Norbert pushing a garden hose through his snowman to make it look like he is waving a wee - much to the amusement of the passing children.

Val is not happy about the large pile of dishes stacked up on the kitchen worktop on the very day that her dishwasher is out of action - the dishwasher in question being Norbert, who has had way too much to drink to be of any use!

Norbert is enjoying a Bond movie on TV. Val asks him which one he is watching to which he simply replies 'James'.

When a man calls at the house, collecting for the local old people's home, the children are more than happy to donate their dad!

Seriously Just Kidding is a range featuring contemporary design with bold colours. By award winning designer Soula Zavacopoulos, we really like the simplicity of the designs and the great humour.

'I got you something for Christmas' reads the message on the card, promising a gift of some kind. However, the card goes on to state that they are holding said gift!

We can't argue with the statement suggesting that a piece of folded card makes the perfect way to say 'Merry Christmas'. At the Comedy Card Company, we actually think this is perfectly true!

Finally, Emotional Rescue also publish a range entitled 'Wet Your Whistle', often focussing on the clink clink of glasses over the festive season. We like the play on words of the 'Gin-Girl all the way' card and also the card where the lady asks for a straw in the bottle rather than a glass!

We hope you enjoyed looking at some of our favourite Christmas cards from Emotional Rescue and hope they made you giggle.

Why not take a look at our full range of Christmas Cards ?

 

 

New range of cards featuring funny cartoons by Paul Shadbolt

07 October, 2019 0 comments Leave a comment

We are delighted to present a new range of funny greeting cards featuring the work of esteemed cartoonist Paul Shadbolt.

Paul Shadbolt has been drawing cartoons for as long as he can remember. His cartoons have been published in various newspapers and magazines over the years including the famous Punch magazine. He is a regular contributor to the wonderful Private Eye magazine, famed for its satirical sense of humour.

We were therefore both delighted and excited to hear that Woodmansterne have released a range of cards featuring Paul's cartoons. Cartoons with some satire at their heart are always popular. Think of the New Yorker range as well as Punch and Matt cartoons. Coming from the Woodmansterne stable, we can also be sure of high quality card and printing. This range is printed in the UK on FSC board, without any cellophane packaging.

Anyway let's take a look at this new range. One of our favourite cartoons shows a pair of dog owners having a chat. They both have 'rescue dogs' but one of the dogs is quite literally a rescue dog, dangling by a line from a coastguard helicopter!

Staying with a dog theme, look at this one showing a dog misinterpreting the idea behind a dog waste bin. He is sitting on it, having a poo, while reading the paper.

Now this may have been acceptable at a Glastonbury festival in the 1970s, but this is not really appropriate for the Last Night of the Proms and the Royal Albert Hall. The steward is not impressed. Please cover yourself up madam!

We've all heard of the Knights of the Round Table, King Arthur's best knights who sat around a round table in Camelot. In this cartoon, the Knights of the Ikea Table may be great military knights but their skills at assembling flat packed furniture leaves a lot to be desired.

A wife worries about her husband's drinking. He uses a stairlift to get up and down the stairs and he has fitted a spirit's dispenser at each step along the way!

In this cartoon Batman is at a dinner party and engages in small talk with a lady. He is dressed in his full superhero outfit but the lady still asks him what he does for a living.

Some tourists meet a pair of Beefeaters at the Tower of London, who admit nowadays some of them are vegan despite their carnivorous sounding name!

At a séance, a couple try to connect with the departed. Meanwhile a cat tries to manipulates the message coming through from the departed to his own end. 

As if poor Luke Skywalker didn't have enough to contend with, finding out that his father is one of the most evil men in the galactic empire. Now Darth Vader pulls back his black cloak to reveal that he is thinking about becoming a woman!

Finally, a mobile phone is causing havoc after being put into 'airplane mode' at home. It is flying around the living room traumatising the occupants. Wonderfully silly humour.

There you have it, a round up of this new range from Woodmansterne. We hope you and your recipients enjoy having a laugh at Paul Shadbolt's cartoons.

View our Woodmansterne Card Range

 

 

The history of the greeting card

09 September, 2019 0 comments Leave a comment

You could say that greeting cards date as far back as ancient China and Egypt. In ancient Egypt, papyrus scrolls were mainly used to write religious and government texts but sometimes also to send messages. Papyrus was an abundant plant in the Nile Delta and used to make rope, mats, sandals as well as a writing surface. In ancient China, messages of goodwill were sent to celebrate New Year.

       

By the 15th century, people began to send handmade cards to each other. This was the start of the Renaissance period when there was an increasing interest in art and literature throughout Europe. Romantic messages to loved ones and the first Valentine's cards were thought to start around this period.

In the early 1400s, Germans are known to have produced greetings cards using woodcuts. This was a time-consuming printing process: a design was carved into a block of wood and this was then used to print designs onto paper. These cards were mainly sent to celebrate New Year.

 

An example of a woodcut print   

In Italy, more delicate handmade cards were produced. In particular, Valentine's cards were made with intricate lace effects. These early Valentine's Day cards were very expensive and used predominately by the elite.

The first Valentine's message is thought to date back to 1415. It was sent from Charles, Duke of Orleans, to his wife while he was being held captive in The Tower of London. Charles was a french nobleman who was captured by the British during the hundred years' war. He wrote a poem for his wife that began 'I am already sick of love, my very gentle Valentine'.

Charles Ier d'Orléans.jpg

Valentine's cards were being exchanged in Europe during the early to mid 15th Century. The oldest Valentine's card still in existence was bought at an auction in 2019 by Jakki Brown, the editor of a greeting card magazine 'Progressive Greetings'.

Valentine card dating back to circa 1790

The message on the front reads "Farewell you sweet and turtle dove. On you alone, I fixed my love. And if you never can be mine, I never can no comfort find!".  It is believed to be 230 years old.

By the 1800s Valentine cards became more affordable due to cheaper printing methods and the arrival of the postal service. Before this time, greeting cards were expensive, handmade items that also had to be delivered by hand. 

Printing practices had advanced. Mechanised printing presses meant that greeting cards became much more affordable. Add to that the introduction of the postage stamp and suddenly sending a card became more practical and more affordable.

 

The postage stamp was introduced in 1840. This removed the need to hand-deliver a card and started the massive rise in popularity of greeting cards.

 

Just three years later, in 1843, Sir Henry Cole created the first commercial Christmas card. Sir Henry Cole was a civil servant and a great innovator. He was the chief organiser of the Great Exhibition, the pioneer of the penny post, as well as the founder of the Victoria and Albert Museum. Sir Cole had a long list of friends and acquaintances to send Xmas cards to. In order to reduce the time and effort required to send cards to this extensive list of people, he decided to create and print his own Christmas card.

  Sir Henry Cole     John Callcott Horsley

He hired artist John Callcott Horsley to design the card and had one thousand copies printed. The card depicted three generations of a family raising a toast to the recipient. On either side were scenes of charity showing food and clothing being given to the poor. After sending a card to all of his acquaintances, he sold the remainder. Thus, almost by accident, he had created the first commercial Christmas card.  At a cost a shilling each they were way beyond the reach of the average working man however. 

By the 1860's companies had started to produce greeting cards on mass. Further advances in printing resulted in lower prices and greeting cards became affordable to all. Lithography had transformed commercial printing by allowing high volume printing at relatively low cost.

A Victorian era Valentine's card located in the Museum of London

Humorous greeting cards began to appear in the 1940s and 1950s. Nowadays greeting cards cover a wide range of occasions and styles. As have have seen the early greeting cards rotated round New Year and Valentines. Now birthdays make up the bulk of greeting card sales worldwide but Christmas, Valentines and the more recent Mother's Day and Father's Day celebrations are important dates now too. Add to that Anniversary, Leaving, New Home, New Job, Get Well Soon, Thank you, Retirement, Wedding Day, New Baby cards among many other events and we see that there is a greeting card for every occasion. 

In the UK alone, we spend £1.7 billion on greeting cards each year, each of us sending an average of 33 cards per year. There are over a thousand card publishers in the UK. While there are some very large companies, employing many people and printing cards on a large scale, the majority of publishers are small, independent, with just a handful of employees. In recent times, the advent of digital printing has allowed individuals to complete with the big players. Digital printing allows for economic printing of small print runs, even to an 'on demand' level to fulfil retail orders.

Many expected the greeting card industry to decline with the rise of mobile phones, texting, email and social media. However, despite these new forms of communication, the greeting card industry has remained buoyant. It has been shown that a handwritten greeting card has much more meaningful impact than an electronic form of contact, and makes the recipient feel much more special.

From the earliest greeting card to the latest creation, the aim has always been the same: to send a direct, personal and loving message to a recipient. Long may it continue!

 

 

Visit the Comedy Card Company and continue this fine tradition.

 

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