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February 2021: everything’s rosy – vintage valentines

One of my favorite tea cups Royal Albert Enchantment.  This particular cup and saucer has always reminded me of a valentine. 

I love vintage valentines. It really just started with one or two – their sweet messages, charming pictures, and embellishments are not something we typically see in our modern versions. 

And oops…after a while a it became a collection…

I try to limit it to the pieces that really speak to me. Doing a bit of research, I found that several eras, each with very distinct characteristics. This site was very helpful:

This one is not vintage, but it reflects many of the elements in the vintage versions

A silver-plated ink well stand seemed like an ideal place to display them.

Early Victorian 1850-1880s: Die cut paper lace, bits and pieces of ribbon or silk, flaps that could be opened. This Valentine has the die-cut paper lace characteristic of this era, along with the clothing.  It looks like it was a pop up at one time, which could make it the later Victorian era. 

Looking at the valentine, you can see that it had small paper blocks that originally would have given the die-cut lace some depth or a pop up look.

Later Victorian Era 1880 – 1900: This later part of the era introduced the pop up features as well as the paper honeycomb. In addition, hearts, flowers, birds, and cherubs were particularly popular.  The age of these valentines has not been authenticated, but the unique features are certainly present. The honeycomb on this valentine is pretty tired, but the cherubs and ethereal background are so sweet.

Here is another example of the honeycomb and cherubs.  This one is in better condition, but the red is pretty faded. The little note says “rush,” so cute!

Early 20th century 1900 – 1930s: children were very popular.  Look at their little faces, so sweet! You can also see early mechanical elements.

Mid 20th century 1930 – 1950s introduced mechanics and moving parts.  This little cutie has a moving parasol, and is one of my favorites.  You can see the small silver button on her dress that made her parasol move-able. 

 I’m thinking that her other hand had more flowers at some point, but they have appeared to have been damaged.

This is my newest find! It is dated by the original receiver: 1909. I just found this on NOWVI an Etsy shop with great vintage items, and a few more valentines for sale:

This is a pop-up valentine, you can see the remaining red honey-comb at the bottom, and its colors are still quite vibrant.

If collecting vintage valentines are not in your top ten list, consider returning to a more nostalgic form of correspondence.  Personally, I’ve made a commitment to writing more notes and sending out actual invitations rather than relying on social media.  There is beautiful, contemporary stationary available. I have found several sources on Etsy with artists making beautiful, custom stationary sets and monograms.

Finally, consider a small investment in wax seals.  The wax comes in many colors and its fun to combine them, though I’ve also found it to be a small fire-hazard.  The seals themselves also come in a variety of stamps.  This set includes six stamps: a crown, bee, rose, heart, laurel wreath, and tree. I have not looked for any vintage seals yet…hmmm. I see some future sleuthing ahead.

Want to bring the past into the present? I’m going for more of this, and less of Who doesn’t love getting something nice in the mailbox!

Thank you for visiting today! I hope you enjoyed a look at the vintage valentines. Here is a peek at the next update: a valentines sweetheart table.

Hope you enjoy something beautiful today! Please comment or share your valentines memories. Enjoy, ~d

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