ART OF THE HEART VALENTINES

As seen in The Antique Shoppe Newspaper, February 2006 

If your special person loves antique objects consider some charming alternatives to the usual paper valentine, flowers or candy.  A great idea would be heart motif antique jewelry or other small, heart-shape antique objects. Antique shops, mall shows and even garage sales can yield affordable valentine possibilities. Antiques publications and price guides can give you an idea of what to look for and the cost.

Does he or she like to cook or collect kitchen objects? The heart motif was a favorite subject with 19th century folk artists and just plain farm folk who had to create utilitarian objects. Heart forms were added to such humble objects as trivets, forks and spoons.

For more cash are the colorful Pennsylvania Dutch small boxes and even frakturs. Late 19th century frakturs, with printing and art, were early birth and marriage certificates. They often had hearts trimming borders and the background. The earliest were first printed in black and white; blank spaces were left for names and dates. They were then hand-colored by whomever purchased them.

More elegant are the heart-shaped Victorian pins and tiny boxes, as well as heart-shaped rings and pins. What you pick depends on your budget since they can be adorned with pearls, precious and semi-precious stones, mounted on silver or gold.

There are also heart shaped Victorian lockets of everything from silver and gold to gold fill and brass. Quality of decoration is important and could be hearts and flowers or a simple repousse design. Be sure to put your own picture inside. There are also arrow pins in a variety of metals , with a heart.

You can still find silver and gold charms with tiny engraved inscriptions and precious stone decorations. If you are serious, consider beginning a tradition: a heart every year for a charm bracelet.

Does he or she like to sew? Heart-shaped Victorian pin cushions and fabric boxes are still around. The better the beadwork trim the prettier the item.

From the 1920s,30s, there are handkerchiefs embroidered with hearts. Or, bridge table linens with heart designs.

Quite affordable are heart-shaped silver and silver-plate spoons. Tea spoons with heart form bowls are made of Mexican silver and can still be found from $25 up-depending on where you discover one.

However, if only paper oldies will do there are old comic valentines from the 1930s, just for a laugh. Those that originally cost nickels and dimes are now from $35 up in shops. The earliest comic valentines date to the 1840s when they were made in large numbers. They were hand colored. By the end of the century they were color lithographed. Especially popular were those making fun of the self-styled lady killer and the crabby old maid. Know anyone who fits into those categories? Heavy drinkers might have received the following:


Two part round chair table. Base with lift top compartment. Courtesy: James D. Julia Auctions. Fairfield, ME

 

“Oh ! Horrid, frightful, stupid drunkard,
Receptacle of gin and beer
If e’er you pester me
My answer shall be simply, “clear.”

CLUES:  Whether you buy heart-shaped objects or supposedly antique paper valentines, the problem is reproductions. If you are spending big money be sure to get a written slip of authenticity.


If you have any questions, you can Email us at antshoppe@aol.com

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