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Collector displays evolution of Santa Claus through postcards

Greeting cards were not always the only form of communication among loved ones for the holidays. In the late 19th century, postcards were sent depicting archaic images of Santa Claus, giving modern collectors an image of the past.

John Wright, of Ocean Springs, Mississippi, is a longtime postcard and stamp collector and has amassed a collection of old Christmas cards from the late 1800s. He has collected them over the years from various antique stores, once paying $4 for a card that is now worth $100.

What most interested Wright about the Christmas postcards was the evolution of Santa's style and appearance. The change prompted Wright to display the cards at a local library.

"Santa did not always wear the red costume with white trim that is popular today," Wright told the Mississippi Press. "Earlier costumes included purple and white, and red and black. Knickerbockers on Santa were popular in the 1920s and the red and white outfit caught on in the late 1930s and 1940s."

The holiday season is a busy time of year for mail postage, especially postcards and greeting cards.

"The U.S. Post Office sells about 4 billion Christmas stamps a year," he added. "And nearly every country in the world issues a Christmas stamp."

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