Tell Her You Love Her with Collectible Vintage Valentine's Day Cards

Some of the earliest commercial Valentine's Day cards were introduced in the 18th century and were made by hand. Since then, many people have sent valentine cards to the ones they love, and children enjoy passing them out at school. You can find vintage collectible Valentine's Day cards on eBay.

How Did Valentine's Day Cards Change Over the Decades?

When you look at vintage valentine cards, you will discover that each decade has its distinct tone, including:

  • The 1920s - If you find vintage valentines on eBay from the 1920s, you may wonder if the red is love or blood because these postcard valentines often have disturbing overtones. Called vinegar valentines, most lampooned a man's profession or a woman's appearance.
  • The 1930s - Chubby children and puppy dogs were often found on lightweight cut-out valentines from this period. Many cards were created with honeycomb paper designs that puffed open when the receiver opened the card.
  • The 1940s - You can find many valentines with patriotic messages on lightweight cardboard cut-out shapes from the 1940s.
  • The 1950s - Most valentines from this decade were tall and narrow heavyweight paper with humorous love messages written on them.
  • The 1960s - Love birds, roses, space themes, and heartfelt messages of love made their way onto valentines in the 1960s. Many affordable vintage valentines from the 1960s were designed to move when you pushed or pulled part of them.

Manufacturers of Vintage Valentine's Day Cards

Until about 1910, most people made their own valentine cards, but then the production of vintage Valentine’s Day cards became a thriving industry. You can find vintage valentine cards for sale on eBay from 1915, which was the first year that Hallmark produced Valentine's Day cards. Until the 1940s, most Valentine’s Day cards were made in Germany. You may also find valentines for sale produced by New England Valentine Co. This company receives credit for printing the earliest valentine cards in the United States. Another early manufacturer of valentines in the United States that you may want to watch for is The Beistel Co. Their cards include the coveted honeycomb design.

Who Were Some Early Designers of Valentines?

If you look at reasonably priced antique valentine cards or vintage valentines’ cards closely, you can often spot the artist's name on them. Some artists you may want to watch for include:

  • Frances Brundrage - This artist drew many valentines featuring cherubs that were mainly published by the Dutton Publishing Company.
  • Ellen Clapsaddle - This artist designed about 3,000 postcards, including many featuring children for Valentine's Day.
  • Grace Drayton - This creator of the Campbell's Soup Kids also created many valentines with the same style of child on them.
  • Rosie O’Neill - This artist created many early tent-style valentines featuring a cupid on them.

How to Shop for Vintage Valentines

There are things you must be on the lookout for when shopping for vintage products. Below are some things you can do to make sure you get exactly what your significant other will love this Valentine’s Day:

  • The theme - There are many themes when it comes to Valentine’s Day cards, such as cartoon animals, poetry, elaborate stylings, etc. Look for the card that matches your significant other. Find one that signifies them and has that little bit of you in it as well.
  • Funny vs. serious - If your significant other takes Valentine’s Day seriously, it may not be the best idea to get her a funny Valentine’s Day card, like a cheesy Valentine’s Day card with pictures of cheese on it. It may lead to Valentine’s Day to remember, in a bad way. If that is the case then look for something more on the serious side, something possibly with a poem, or loving statement.
  • Significance - For a thoughtful card, look for something that reflects your life as a couple or your significant other’s interests or personality. Helpful hint, if your significant other is blonde and you are looking for something with a drawing or picture of two people on it, look for one with a picture of a blonde in it. If they are an animal lover, then look try to find one that has a animals on it.