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DRLORIV.COM Vintage Valentine’s Day cards vary in value based on their age, condition, artist and message.

Valentine’s Day falls on Feb. 14 and honors the Christian martyr, St. Valentine, who was persecuted by the Roman Emperor in 273 A.D.

St. Valentine’s feast day is now highlighted with the gifting of flowers, sharing symbols of love and sweets like candy and cakes and sending romantic cards.

While St. Valentine presented the flowers from his garden to young lovers in order to promote the sacrament of matrimony, the Feb. 14 holiday that bears his name has sparked the exchange of various works of art and antiques over the years. Some of the most popular valentine keepsakes from the antiques and collectibles world are.

Valentine cards

These small tokens are exchanged between lovers and childhood friends alike. Examples from the early 1900s come in the form of postcards and are worth $5 to $10. Vintage examples from the World War II era range in value from $10 to $20, depending on condition, market, artist and sentimental message.

Courting lamps

Courting lamps. The Victorians gave us restrictions on courtship in the form of the courting lamp. The courting lamp had graduated markings on the glass to indicate minutes.

The marks on the lamp showed the amount of time left before the fuel source expired. Once the light went out, your lover was supposed to be on his way home.

Today, these rare valentine keepsakes are worth $75 to $100 in good condition.

Candy containers

Candy containers. Glass candy containers from the early 1900s came in all shapes and sizes. They are widely collected and range in value from $50 to several hundred dollars.

For some, the Teuscher, Godiva G, or Jacques Torres boxes from these great chocolatiers are as desirable as the candy itself.

Chocolate molds

Chocolate molds are very popular, particularly on the day when an abundance of chocolate is exchanged and consumed. Metal chocolate molds that date back to the late 19th century are the most sought-after examples that collectors look for and they are expensive — valued between $500 and $2,500 for fine examples.

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Jewelry is a popular Valentine’s Day gift and collectible.


There is nothing quite like getting a piece of fine jewelry featuring gold, silver or another precious metal and gemstones. Costume jewelry is also a desirable Valentine’s gift by makers such as Sarah Coventry, Kenneth Jay Lane, Weiss, Trifari, Coro, Monet, Maravella, etc.

Some jewelry items are desired Valentine’s Day gifts for their color, such as ruby or garnet gemstones. Pearl necklaces are also popular valentine gifts. It is believed that pearls must be given as gifts as it is bad luck to purchase pearls for oneself. Fine jewelry holds its value over time and is a coveted collectible.

Candy and candy boxes

Valentine candy comes in heart shapes and in heart-shaped boxes, too. Valentine candy made by Russell Stover, Godiva, Whitman and others are a welcome addition to any living room coffee table. The quality of the candy spoke volumes about the lovers as they exchanged gifts.

Once the delicious chocolate-covered cherries and other candies were devoured, the decorative heart-shaped candy boxes of decorated, embossed cardboard were saved through the years as keepsakes.

Today, candy boxes in the shape of hearts command $2 to $5 online and at local antique shops.

Hair crafts

From about 1850 to 1890, weaving human hair was a popular craft project. Women would save their hair from a hairbrush, place it into a hair receiver on a dresser trinket tray and use it later to weave watch fobs, bracelets and framed flower pictures. These woven hair items were given as gifts to loved ones on Valentine’s Day as a remembrance.

Dance cards

In the early 1900s, a dance card was a coveted and highly personal object. Some cards were worn like oversized lockets around the neck of the prettiest girl at the party. For some valentine sweethearts, dance cards were a metal cover with thin sheets of bone or ivory, and were used like paper to write a future dance partner’s name upon promising him the next dance.

These rare pieces of Americana are not easy to find and range in value from $75 to $100, depending on the materials, age and condition.

Vintage couture

Winter hats, coats, scarves and formal long gloves from that bygone night on the town in celebration of Valentine’s Day are all the rage. Look for period hats of fur, faux fur or felt.

You can collect leather or textile gloves with fanciful detailing at thrift shops, antique stores, estate sales and flea markets. You will have to save your pennies to buy some of the name-brand pieces, with highly sought-after examples ranging in value from $250 to $500 each.

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Flowers and flower vases

When you receive that wonderful valentine bouquet of roses, it is wonderful to enjoy the blooms and the fragrance.

However, once the roses wilt, the vase from the florist becomes a cherished keepsake. Many of these florist vases from the 1920s to the 1950s have stood the test of time and remain popular with collectors.

Ceramic pieces by Royal Haeger, McCoy, Roseville and other firms are cherished Valentine collectibles today and, in good condition, they are valued from $75 to $250.

This Valentine’s Day, as you make new memories, don’t forget to cherish the old ones with art, antiques and collectibles.

With a Ph.D. from Penn State University, Lori Verderame is an award-winning antiques appraiser on History channel’s hit show “The Curse of Oak Island” — highlighting the world’s oldest treasure hunt, For information about your antiques and collectibles, visit www.DrLoriV.com and www.YouTube.com/DrLoriV.

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