Valentine’s Day cards began in 1700s

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This handmade 1930s card is made from store-bought paper lace and features small chromolithographed pictures of children and flowers. The printed cardboard background is made to fit in an envelope. A collector bought it for $25 about 1980 and felt the message “To Miss Nash” on the back added to the value. It would cost about $50 today.

Valentine’s Day is a holiday that has its roots in ancient times. But it was celebrated with gifts until the first cards appeared about 1760. Cards were made at home, with drawings, poems, cutouts and other ways of expressing love. Since then, valentines have changed with the fashions and technology, and they are a popular collectible.

In 1848, Esther Howland of Worcester, Massachusetts, started making valentines from pieces of fancy paper lace and printed pictures with handwritten messages of affection. Soon, she was selling valentines to friends, and started a business that lasted until 1880.

The style of the valentine can help tell its age. Mechanical cards with parts that could move so a pictured girl could wave her arm were the newest type in the 1890s. Embossing also was popular. In the early 1900s to 1920s, postcards were used. Postage was 1 cent. Die-cut cards that could be punched out of a single sheet of stiff paper were developed around 1900. These often came as a set with 25 cards for students and one for the teacher. Folded cards were in style by the 1930s and these, plus photographs and digital cards, still are sent today.

Vintage homemade lacy cards made from paper lace, “scraps” and small shaped and printed pictures sell today for $10 to $100 or more. Age, condition and beauty determine the value.

Q: I have a matching set of two High Point Bending & Chair Co. office-style walnut chairs labeled “Pattern No. 6711.” They are in good original condition. How do I determine their value?

A: This company started as Siler City Bending Co. in Siler City, N.C., in 1901. It made bentwood parts for carriages. In 1904, it was reorganized by Capt. Malvola Jackson Boling and renamed High Point Bending & Chair Co., after a nearby city. The company made bentwood chairs and other furniture. It became Boling Chair Co. in 1956. It remained open until at least 1999. Your chairs, with swivel seats and rolling casters, are called banker’s chairs. The price of your chairs is only about $15. They are not in a style that is popular today, and old office chairs are not wanted. Wooden chairs are not as comfortable as the new padded or mesh chairs.

Baby bonnet, tatted lace, ivory, circle netting pattern, flowerhead and intertwined loop design border, late 1800s, $60.

Night light, porcelain, figural polar bear, sulfur eyes, fragrance lamp, stamped, Bohne & Soehne, c. 1925, 10 x 7 inches, $410.

Pie slicer, Tiffany, silver, slice and serve, sinuous blade, ruffled tip, English King’s pattern handle, marked, c. 1880, 12 inches, $800.

Tip: Do not store paper collectibles in photograph albums with black pages. The acidic paper will cause damage.

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(c) 2018 King Features Synd., Inc.


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