Antique Christmas cards exhibit an era of elegant graphic design

Antique Christmas Cards

This Swedish Christmas card displayed at the Crestview Public Library, left, was originally sent in December 1904. Right, Victorian dolls decorate Lynn Lee's exhibit of antique holiday cards.

BRIAN HUGHES/ News Bulletin
Published: Tuesday, December 3, 2013 at 05:25 PM.

CRESTVIEW — Crestview resident Lynn Lee has collected Victorian greeting cards since she was 12 years old.

"I started just by buying a box of junk when I was 12 and the cards were in the bottom of the box," she said.

Now, more than 50 years later, she shares a selection of late 18th and early 19th-century Christmas cards with Crestview Public Library patrons.

Today's graphic design programs, such as Adobe PhotoShop and InDesign, coupled with digital printing and laser cuts, can't produce cards with the warmth of the lithography, delicate die cuts and embossing Lee has displayed.

 Though she only purchases cards that interest her, several of the exhibited cards are from the Raphael Tuck and Sons printing company in London.

The firm, which produced cards for Queen Victoria, lost its original dies and plates in the London Blitz during World War II, Lee said.

"It was so amazing," Lee said. "His son took over after the war, and some of his grandchildren are still in the business. I found it so interesting that he still kept going after the war."

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