“Our idea of Christmas is a nineteenth-century creation …This Christmas gift box is one of the earliest efforts by a publisher to exploit this new market,” according to the Heritage Auctions catalogue. Prang, a Prussian immigrant and master lithographer, went on to create the first American Christmas card a decade later.
As both a seasonal item and one meant for younger readers, the “Christmas Stocking Library” was by its very nature ephemeral—and now, rare. Only three other boxed sets are known to exist, those at the American Antiquarian Society, the Huntington Library, and Smith College. It sold for $5,750.