Valentine Cards

Valentine's day gifts logo


Valentine cards/Valentines are an integral part of the Valentine’s Day celebration. Cards are just the right things to help convey your feelings for your beloved. They can brighten up his/her day and make them feel extra special. They strike a chord in the heart and remind them that that someone out there cares and loves them enough to think of them on this wonderful occasion.

Whether hand made or ready made, for some, it just wouldn't be Valentine's Day without a card from a loved one.


Legends cite that St.Valentine (the martyred priest in whose honor we celebrate Valentine’s Day) fell in love with the jailor’s daughter. Before his death, he is supposed to have written her a note and signed it off with the immortal phrase ¡¥Love From your Valentine¡¦. This note set off the custom of exchanging love notes on February 14.

However, the credit of creating the first ever modern valentine card goes to young Frenchman, Charles, who was the Duke of Orleans in 1415. He was imprisoned after the Battle of Agincourt in the Tower of London and wrote romantic verses, poems or rhymed love letters to his beloved wife.

Commercial valentines were made in the 1800s with Kate Greenway (1846-1901), a British artist, being one of the forerunners in the field. And the credit of selling mass produced cards in America goes to Esther A. Howland in the 1840s.

Today, close to a billion cards are sent out on Valentine’s Day every year. It is the second largest card-sending holiday of the year after Christmas.


Written valentines have evolved through the ages. They have transformed significantly but remain enormously popular even to this day. Let’s take a brief look at the developments of credit cards, through the ages.

Valentine greetings were prevalent even in the middle Ages, when lovers read out or sang their Valentines. However, Written Valentines began to appear only after 1400.

It became a common practice among friends and lovers to exchange gifts or handwritten notes in the seventeenth and eighteenth century. But most of the valentines of this age were hand made and took weeks to make. Some of the popular types of valentines in this era were:

Acrostic V these valentines contained verses and the first line of the verse usually spelled-out the name of the loved one.

Cutout ¡V they were created by folding papers and cutting-out lacelike design with scissors.

Fraktur - These valentines were written in an ornamental style called Fraktur. This font type was commonly used in manuscripts during the middle Ages.

Pinprick valentines - They were created by pricking minute holes in a paper with a pin or needle. This creation had the look of lace.

Theorem or Poonah valentine’s ¡V this style originated in Asia. They were painted through a stencil that was cut in oilpaper.

Puzzik or Puzzle Purse ¡V these unusual valentines contained a folded puzzle to be read, solved, and then refolded. This valentine contained several folds of verses that had to be interpreted by reading them in a certain sequence. This was popular among lovers who wanted to convey secret messages to their beloved and were not easy to decipher.

Rebus - These valentines were also extremely popular and common. They were written in ink and contained romantic verses with certain words epitomized by tiny pictures.

Mirror Valentine: This valentine, as the name suggests, contained a small mirror that was positioned in the center to reflect the face of the recipient.

True & Endless Love Knot: These cards were hand drawn and comprise of a sequence of zigzag and intertwining loops with no beginning or end. They are supposed to symbolize everlasting love, and contained messages that could be read from any point.

Beehive, Flower-cage, or Cobweb Card: The center of these cards contained cut paper threads that could be lifted to reveal a cage/cobweb. Below the web, you could find romantic messages, drawing of flowers or pictures of a couple. These cards were extremely popular in England. .

Busk Valentines: These valentines were sent by sailors to their sweethearts. They were made from rounded long sticks created from ivory or wood, somewhat akin to a tongue depressor but approximately five times longer. Upon these sticks, the sailors would carve hearts or create hearts, flowers, and other designs with seashells of various sizes. The sailor's sweetheart would wear these ¡§Busk Valentines¡¨ inside her corset.

Religious Cards: Religious valentines were made by nuns who would cutout the paper lace with scissors. They often contained depictions of the "Sacred Heart" and angels. Many believe that the "Sacred Heart" often eventually developed into the "Valentine Heart" and the Angels in due course became "Cupid."

Soon the handwritten letters were replaced by printed cards. These printed cards were an effortless way for people to convey their passion.

Window Card: This evolved during the Civil War (1861-1865) and often portrayed sweethearts parting, or a tent with flaps that could be opened to reveal a soldier. These were called "windows." This concept remained popular even after the war, but the "window" transformed into a church door opening to reveal a bride and groom.

Proposal valentines: These valentines contained an illustration of a church or a ring and were very popular.

Marriage License: These cards were shaped in the form of a marriage license and were signed by Reverend Tie-Them-Tight. They were popular in England.

Overly ornamental Cards: These cards were lavishly ornamented with garish spun glass, imitation gems, mother-of-pearl, or even silk fringes.

Lithographed valentinescards slowly began to appear during the mid-eighteenth century. Theses hand-colored lithographed valentines, usually had a space for personal messages.

Photographic postcards: These were real photographs prepared with a postcard-printed back. The black-and-white images were hand-tinted and colored. These cards originated from Germany.

Daguerreotype: This type of card was made through a photographic process using customary tintype in the middle of a card bordered by an ornamental wreath.

Love notes: Valentines that were designed to look like currency was popular during the mid-Nineteenth Century but were banned because of their uncanny resemblance to genuine currency.

Penny Postcards: These valentines were very popular from around 1890 to 1917. They were called thus because they were mailed using a one-penny postage stamp.

Mechanical valentines/ three-dimensional fold out cards were invented in Germany. They were available in the price range of five cents to one dollar. Most of them were Pop-ups. While others were three-dimensional cards. They were made by sticking layers of thin paper together and the figures on the card could be made to move by pulling a tab.

Braille Cards: They are in Braille language and are made for the visually impaired.

Modern Day Cards

Scratch-and-sniff cards: A scratch and sniff card, as the name suggests, releases a fragrance when scratched. They can be laced with your beloved’s favorite perfume for that personal and special touch.

Musical Cards: Music lover or not, these cards that play romantic music are extremely brilliant and popular.

Movie valentines: You can even make and send a movie valentine to communicate your love.

E-cards: With the advent of internet, most people are expressing their love through e-cards.

Dreadful Valentine Cards

Vinegar valentine: These were less attractive and shoddy-looking cards that created by John McLaughlin, a New York printer. They usually contained messages that poked fun at people.

Penny dreadfuls: They were dreadful looking cards that sold for a penny.

These cards led to the production of obscene number of valentines, which instigated a ban on the practice of exchanging cards through the mail in several countries for some time in the early 19th century.


Valentines are sent to¡K

» Sweethearts

» Spouses

» Parents

» Grandparents

» Children

» Teachers

» Friends

» Family members

» Relatives » And even to Pets

A survey reveals that most Valentine's Day cards are sent to teachers and parents every year, while sweethearts receive the least number of cards.