Vintage Valentine Cards
I admit a love for paper and nostalgia. Vintage Valentine cards fulfil both of those loves. How appropriate!
Let's take a look at vintage Valentine cards. For starters, this isn't a "Hallmark Holiday" or a holiday created to sell greeting cards. Valentine's have been exchanged heavily in the printed form since the early 1800's when they began being made in factories in England. Factory workers would hand color them or add ribbon and lace to the really fancy ones. These are the kinds of valentines you still have a chance at finding at flea markets or in estates.
The founder of the vintage Valentine cards in the United States is attributed to Esther Howland in 1850. She was an American printer and artist and was one of the first to print and sell the cards. As you can imagine, cards from this period are hard to find and one made by Esther Howland is even more difficult.
In 1910, Hallmark Cards was established and quickly became a big player in the Valentine's Day card circuit. They had a deal with Disney that began in the 1930's and Hallmark was the first company to display cards in such a way that you could see them all on the rack at once.
Other popular companies were Raphael Tuck & Sons, Gibson, Whitney, Norcross, A-meri-card, Marcus and Ward, Quality Art, Prang & Co., Carrington Co., MW Taggart, OBP, Louis Katz.
In the 1960's the sports trading card companies got in on the game and Topp's and O-Pee-Chee put out Valentines. These are pretty collectible today.
There are hundreds of ways to collect these. You can collect by era, company, style, subject, country of origin, great sayings, the possibilities are endless.