Valentine cards say the words we sometimes find difficult to voice.
When I was in grade school – not Little House of the Prairie days, but close – we had Valentine’s Day parties at school and gave our friends homemade cards. We made mailboxes from shoe boxes or decorated envelopes to collect our cards.
Those years helped form my love of Valentine cards and began my Valentine card collection. And, yes, I still have a few cards from that era. For sure, I’ve collected cards from those days.
Vintage valentines can be very valuable, especially Victorian-era pop-up honeycomb ones. Value varies and can range from the hundreds of dollars up to thousands. Check Kovels Valentine’s Day collectibles Pinterest board for examples and values.
Interested in becoming a Valentine card collector, here are some tips on how to start.
What to look for
- Cards that relate to the news of the day
- Valentines signed by someone known
- Older homemade cards
- Victorian three-dimensional valentines
- Postcard valentines
- Die-cut school-type valentines from the 1920s, 30s, 40s, and 50s
- Mechanical valentines with moving parts
Hairstyles, clothes, cars, or trains pictured in older valentines will help date the card.
Where should you look?
- Old scrapbooks
- Keepsake boxes for sentimental ephemera
- Old heart-shaped candy boxes
- Flea markets or ephemera shows
- House sales, garage/yard sales, and thrift shops
Are contemporary valentines worth collecting?
The simple answer is yes. According to Terry Kovel of Kovel’s Antiques, Inc., look for cards with certain characteristics:
- Current news, pop culture, and/or historical events.
- Cards depicting characters from Disney, children’s books, cartoons, movies, and television shows.
- Be cautious about modern technology cards. Those record-your-own-voice cards will stop talking as they age.
Learn more about Valentine collecting from these sites:
The Ephemera Society on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/TheEphemeraSociety
National Valentine Collectors Association on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/groups/126503137423748/posts/412749768799082/
National Valentine Collectors Association. Marketplace on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/groups/1411386215859744
Here’s a peek at some from my collection. I love displaying them for Valentine’s Day each February.