For Sale: Collection of Vintage Valentines

Courtesy of PBA Galleries

A ship-shaped valentine from the late nineteenth or early twentieth century, within a set of four. Estimate: $200-300

Forget your simple Hallmark card because a spectacular trove of vintage valentines and trade cards heads to auction in California just in time for Valentine’s Day.

Courtesy of PBA Galleries

An early twentieth-century valentine in the form of a 3-D pop-up airplane.

The collection, formerly owned by Frank Graff, comprises more than 125 lots. Vibrant in color, these Victorian- and Edwardian-era cards present the bulbous hearts, red roses, and cherubic faces we’ve come to associate with the holiday. Perhaps unexpectedly, many also feature all manner of transportation—boats, carriages, cars, trains, and planes! What can be the correlation?
The variety of design and the creative use of dimension throughout the collection is worth noting. There are fold-outs, die-cuts, and “beehive” honeycomb structures made of crepe paper that provide a ‘pop-up’ element. Some are fan-shaped or lace-trimmed, and some have movable parts; in the end, each one stands out.