UPCOMING EVENTS

  • 10/20/14 - John M. Hess Auction Service...   10/20/14 - Hartzell's Auction Gallery, Inc....   10/20/14 - C & M Auctioneers...   Online Auction Ends 10/20/14 - Locati Auctions...   10/20/14 - John M. Hess Auction Service...   10/22/14 - Cabin Fever Auction...   10/22/14 - Nico Auctions...   10/22/14 - Pandur Auction Service...   10/23/14 - John Hums Auctions...   10/23/14 - Alderfer Auction & Appraisal...   10/23/14 - Probst Family Auctions...   10/24/14 - Carl E. Ocker...   10/25/14 - Dockey Auction Service...   10/25/14 - Rick Kress...   10/25/14 - Concepts 1 Auction House...   10/25/14 - Crocker Farm...   10/25/14 - Estate Auction Company...   10/25/14 - Maurer's Auctions...   10/24-25/14 - Roan Inc., Auctioneers & Appraisers...   10/25/14 - Mott Parks Auction Services...   10/25/14 - Conestoga Auction Company...   10/24-25/14 - Michael J. Stasak, Jr. & Laurel Fox...   10/25/14 - Ken Reed Auction Company...   10/25/14 - Hartzell's Auction Gallery, Inc....   10/25/14 - Pa. OnSite Auction Co....   Now thru 10/25/14 - Hurley Auctions...   10/25/14 - Cindy Fenton...   10/25/14 - Robert H. Clinton & Co., Inc. & Hahn Auction Company...   10/24-25/14 - Paisley Auctions...   10/25/14 - Scott A. Young...   10/24-25/14 - Yingling's Auction Service...   10/25/14 - Howard B. Parzow...   10/25/14 - Probst Family Auctions...   10/25-26/14 - Morphy Auctions...   10/26/14 - Ron Rhoads...   10/26/14 - Costea's Auction Gallery...   10/25-26/14 - Gallery at Knotty Pine Auction Service...   10/27/14 - Mosby Auctions...   10/27/14 - Chris Doerner...   10/27/14 - Toomey Auction Service, Inc....   10/28/14 - Traver's Auctions...   10/28/14 - William H. Bunch Auctions Appraisals...   10/29/14 - Embassy Auctions International...   10/29/14 - Maurer & Wilson...   10/28 & 10/30/14 - Alderfer Auction & Appraisal...   10/31/14 - Hartzell's Auction Gallery, Inc....   11/01/14 - Ed Shoop...   11/01/14 - John Carl Auction Company...   11/01/14 - Horst Auctioneers...   11/01/14 - Blums Auctions...   11/01/14 - PA OnSite Auction Co. ...   11/01/14 - Kerry Pae Auctioneers...   11/01/14 - John M. Hess Auction Service...   11/01/14 - Wehrly's Auction...   11/01/14 - Gilbert & Gilbert Auctioneers, Inc....   11/01/14 - Howard B. Parzow...   11/01/14 - Howard B. Parzow...   11/01/14 - Donald Roan...   11/01/14 - Probst Family Auctions...   10/31-11/02/14 - Morphy Auctions...   11/01-02/14 - Jessica Shaub Meyer...   11/04/14 - William H. Bunch Auctions Appraisals...   11/07-08/14 - Garth's Auctioneers & Appraisers...   11/08/14 - Concepts 1 Auction House...   10/22-11/8/14 - Jason Berger (Awsum Auctions)...   11/08/14 - Jessica Shaub Meyer...   11/08/14 - Hardy's Auction Service...   11/13/14 - Donald Roan...   11/18/14 - Gilbert & Gilbert Auctioneers, Inc....   11/22-23/14 - Fontaine's Auction Gallery...   
  • 10/20/14 - John M. Hess Auction Service...   10/20/14 - Hartzell's Auction Gallery, Inc....   10/20/14 - C & M Auctioneers...   Online Auction Ends 10/20/14 - Locati Auctions...   10/20/14 - John M. Hess Auction Service...   10/22/14 - Cabin Fever Auction...   10/22/14 - Nico Auctions...   10/22/14 - Pandur Auction Service...   10/23/14 - John Hums Auctions...   10/23/14 - Alderfer Auction & Appraisal...   10/23/14 - Probst Family Auctions...   10/24/14 - Carl E. Ocker...   10/25/14 - Dockey Auction Service...   10/25/14 - Rick Kress...   10/25/14 - Concepts 1 Auction House...   10/25/14 - Crocker Farm...   10/25/14 - Estate Auction Company...   10/25/14 - Maurer's Auctions...   10/24-25/14 - Roan Inc., Auctioneers & Appraisers...   10/25/14 - Mott Parks Auction Services...   10/25/14 - Conestoga Auction Company...   10/24-25/14 - Michael J. Stasak, Jr. & Laurel Fox...   10/25/14 - Ken Reed Auction Company...   10/25/14 - Hartzell's Auction Gallery, Inc....   10/25/14 - Pa. OnSite Auction Co....   Now thru 10/25/14 - Hurley Auctions...   10/25/14 - Cindy Fenton...   10/25/14 - Robert H. Clinton & Co., Inc. & Hahn Auction Company...   10/24-25/14 - Paisley Auctions...   10/25/14 - Scott A. Young...   10/24-25/14 - Yingling's Auction Service...   10/25/14 - Howard B. Parzow...   10/25/14 - Probst Family Auctions...   10/25-26/14 - Morphy Auctions...   10/26/14 - Ron Rhoads...   10/26/14 - Costea's Auction Gallery...   10/25-26/14 - Gallery at Knotty Pine Auction Service...   10/27/14 - Mosby Auctions...   10/27/14 - Chris Doerner...   10/27/14 - Toomey Auction Service, Inc....   10/28/14 - Traver's Auctions...   10/28/14 - William H. Bunch Auctions Appraisals...   10/29/14 - Embassy Auctions International...   10/29/14 - Maurer & Wilson...   10/28 & 10/30/14 - Alderfer Auction & Appraisal...   10/31/14 - Hartzell's Auction Gallery, Inc....   11/01/14 - Ed Shoop...   11/01/14 - John Carl Auction Company...   11/01/14 - Horst Auctioneers...   11/01/14 - Blums Auctions...   11/01/14 - PA OnSite Auction Co. ...   11/01/14 - Kerry Pae Auctioneers...   11/01/14 - John M. Hess Auction Service...   11/01/14 - Wehrly's Auction...   11/01/14 - Gilbert & Gilbert Auctioneers, Inc....   11/01/14 - Howard B. Parzow...   11/01/14 - Howard B. Parzow...   11/01/14 - Donald Roan...   11/01/14 - Probst Family Auctions...   10/31-11/02/14 - Morphy Auctions...   11/01-02/14 - Jessica Shaub Meyer...   11/04/14 - William H. Bunch Auctions Appraisals...   11/07-08/14 - Garth's Auctioneers & Appraisers...   11/08/14 - Concepts 1 Auction House...   10/22-11/8/14 - Jason Berger (Awsum Auctions)...   11/08/14 - Jessica Shaub Meyer...   11/08/14 - Hardy's Auction Service...   11/13/14 - Donald Roan...   11/18/14 - Gilbert & Gilbert Auctioneers, Inc....   11/22-23/14 - Fontaine's Auction Gallery...   
  • 10/20/14 - John M. Hess Auction Service...   10/20/14 - Hartzell's Auction Gallery, Inc....   10/20/14 - C & M Auctioneers...   Online Auction Ends 10/20/14 - Locati Auctions...   10/20/14 - John M. Hess Auction Service...   10/22/14 - Cabin Fever Auction...   10/22/14 - Nico Auctions...   10/22/14 - Pandur Auction Service...   10/23/14 - John Hums Auctions...   10/23/14 - Alderfer Auction & Appraisal...   10/23/14 - Probst Family Auctions...   10/24/14 - Carl E. Ocker...   10/25/14 - Dockey Auction Service...   10/25/14 - Rick Kress...   10/25/14 - Concepts 1 Auction House...   10/25/14 - Crocker Farm...   10/25/14 - Estate Auction Company...   10/25/14 - Maurer's Auctions...   10/24-25/14 - Roan Inc., Auctioneers & Appraisers...   10/25/14 - Mott Parks Auction Services...   10/25/14 - Conestoga Auction Company...   10/24-25/14 - Michael J. Stasak, Jr. & Laurel Fox...   10/25/14 - Ken Reed Auction Company...   10/25/14 - Hartzell's Auction Gallery, Inc....   10/25/14 - Pa. OnSite Auction Co....   Now thru 10/25/14 - Hurley Auctions...   10/25/14 - Cindy Fenton...   10/25/14 - Robert H. Clinton & Co., Inc. & Hahn Auction Company...   10/24-25/14 - Paisley Auctions...   10/25/14 - Scott A. Young...   10/24-25/14 - Yingling's Auction Service...   10/25/14 - Howard B. Parzow...   10/25/14 - Probst Family Auctions...   10/25-26/14 - Morphy Auctions...   10/26/14 - Ron Rhoads...   10/26/14 - Costea's Auction Gallery...   10/25-26/14 - Gallery at Knotty Pine Auction Service...   10/27/14 - Mosby Auctions...   10/27/14 - Chris Doerner...   10/27/14 - Toomey Auction Service, Inc....   10/28/14 - Traver's Auctions...   10/28/14 - William H. Bunch Auctions Appraisals...   10/29/14 - Embassy Auctions International...   10/29/14 - Maurer & Wilson...   10/28 & 10/30/14 - Alderfer Auction & Appraisal...   10/31/14 - Hartzell's Auction Gallery, Inc....   11/01/14 - Ed Shoop...   11/01/14 - John Carl Auction Company...   11/01/14 - Horst Auctioneers...   11/01/14 - Blums Auctions...   11/01/14 - PA OnSite Auction Co. ...   11/01/14 - Kerry Pae Auctioneers...   11/01/14 - John M. Hess Auction Service...   11/01/14 - Wehrly's Auction...   11/01/14 - Gilbert & Gilbert Auctioneers, Inc....   11/01/14 - Howard B. Parzow...   11/01/14 - Howard B. Parzow...   11/01/14 - Donald Roan...   11/01/14 - Probst Family Auctions...   10/31-11/02/14 - Morphy Auctions...   11/01-02/14 - Jessica Shaub Meyer...   11/04/14 - William H. Bunch Auctions Appraisals...   11/07-08/14 - Garth's Auctioneers & Appraisers...   11/08/14 - Concepts 1 Auction House...   10/22-11/8/14 - Jason Berger (Awsum Auctions)...   11/08/14 - Jessica Shaub Meyer...   11/08/14 - Hardy's Auction Service...   11/13/14 - Donald Roan...   11/18/14 - Gilbert & Gilbert Auctioneers, Inc....   11/22-23/14 - Fontaine's Auction Gallery...   
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Valentines Of The 1880s And 1890s - Can You Tell The Difference?
Valentines Of The 1880s And 1890s - Can You Tell The Difference?
Valentines Of The 1880s And 1890s - Can You Tell The Difference?
Valentines Of The 1880s And 1890s - Can You Tell The Difference?
Valentines Of The 1880s And 1890s - Can You Tell The Difference?
Valentines Of The 1880s And 1890s - Can You Tell The Difference?
Valentines Of The 1880s And 1890s - Can You Tell The Difference?
Valentines Of The 1880s And 1890s - Can You Tell The Difference?
Valentines Of The 1880s And 1890s - Can You Tell The Difference?
Valentines Of The 1880s And 1890s - Can You Tell The Difference?
Valentines Of The 1880s And 1890s - Can You Tell The Difference?

February 1, 2011

Valentines Of The 1880s And 1890s - Can You Tell The Difference?

by Barbara Johnson, Ph.D.

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Valentine collectors will profess that the most elegant of all examples in their collections would definitely be the ornately decorated Victorian valentine. No matter if the Victorian valentine was gilded, ornamented or dripping in paper lace, this fanciful concoction of color and embellishments has never ceased to delight 19th-century society, as well as collectors today. The loveliest of all Victorian examples are three-dimensional cards with multi-colored embossing, scraps, paper lace and raised layers - thanks to paper spring hinges. Such cards proliferated during the 1880s to the 1890s, uniquely characterized by pastel coloring and white, gold or silver paper lace frames. Collectors have always faced the difficulty of properly dating and identifying them, as most were unsigned and undated. Without any clues, collectors must rely on their eyes, and consult the latest documented and reliable information available to help date and identify these beautiful and mysterious cards.
Unlocking the mysteries of the 1880s - 1890s valentines, my book, Valentines, A Collector’s Guide, 1700s - 1950s, provides painstaking research on these and other antique and vintage valentines. Collectors can see sender-dated cards in a visual timeline and use thoroughly researched design trends and subject lists to help date, identify and value their valentines. My evidence indicates that the late 1880s to 1890s dimensional valentines changed distinctly in their appearance almost annually. Different artistic designs, edge cuts, shapes and embellishments are evident in examples of sender-dated cards. Each valentine is an historical artifact that should be treasured and respected by collectors and enthusiasts. Enthusiasts should desire to know everything about their valentines to enrich their collecting experience, and pass on accurate information about the cards to future generations.
Dating three-dimensional valentines from the 1880s and 1890s can be quite difficult for the unseasoned collector. Design trends might not appear to change much to the untrained eye. Traditional subjects like cupid and children remained steadfast through the 1880s - as well as many varieties of flowers, each with a hidden meaning used to yield secret messages to recipients. During the 1890s, traditional 1880s subjects remained popular alongside new subjects, such as adult figures, naturalistic flowers and scenery without people. The use of paper lace embellishments is evident in both 1880s and 1890s dimensional valentines. Cards from the 1880s generally favored large, white paper lace frames, while cards from the 1890s featured small paper lace frames in gold, silver, white or a combination of them. Another useful clue to separating the valentines between the two decades is to look at the font styles of the interior and exterior verses. Script styles with rounder, curly “q” style features usually mean an 1890s valentine, as opposed to more angular and “Eastlake,” or Aesthetic style lettering dating to the 1880s.
Visually examining 1880s and 1890s dimensional valentines will enable the collector to observe different design trends, edge cuts and card shapes. Sender-dated examples show card shapes changed dramatically on an annual basis during the late 1880s through the 1890s. Using these features, collectors can date their valentine down to an exact year. A valentine from the year 1880 might have oval corners cut with a saw tooth edge. Seven years later, valentines from 1887 have a flat centered top, an indent left to right with a leafy shaped corner and an oval pointed top. Valentines from 1888 have a scalloped, jagged edged top, but also have a rounded side. In contrast, valentines of 1891 and 1893 are rectangular and have minor scalloping of saw-tooth edge cuts. The valentine shape of 1896 has an arching top and corners that come to a point. Valentines from 1897 have very intricately scrolled cutwork with multiple points. Although two-layered horizontal valentines were popular in 1887, the 1893 and 1895 horizontal versions had three layers. Collector will also note that 1880s valentines tend to have two layers of paper lace on the card base, while 1890s valentines tend to have three-dimensional layers of paper lace frames, a middle layer oftentimes in a contrasting pattern, and finally the card base.
Colors offer another clue as to the card’s decade. While pastel shades are very popular during this twenty year period, the 1890s cards are almost predominantly soft and bright pastels. Positions of chromolithographed scraps on cards are also uniquely different between the two decades. Valentines from the 1880s placed scraps at the top, bottom, and two sides of the central scrap. During the early 1890s, valentines had scraps at four squared off corners around the central scrap. By the end of the 1890s, the rise of the Art Nouveau movement caused dimensional valentines to wane. These cards stood alongside new flat and fold out cards that reflected the realism of Art Nouveau floral designs.
Collectors can purchase Victorian valentines from the 1880s and 1890s from various sources. They may search for them in antique shops and from antiquarian book dealers. Enthusiasts can uncover hidden collections at estate and tag sales. Many beautiful examples are plentiful on Internet auction sites and through Internet paper ephemera dealers. Wonderful finds are available for collectors who travel to paper ephemera and postcard shows and antique auctions.
Being a valentine detective does not have to be difficult or unpleasant. Collectors can now enjoy dating and identifying their valentines using practical identification tips and thoroughly researched reference materials. Unraveling the mystery behind these special valentines acknowledges the anonymous designers and artisans who made them.
Knowledge will enrich your valentine collecting experience and offer a clearer picture of these and other unique cards for generations of future collectors. Valentine collectors can feel the reward and fulfillment of knowing more about these mysterious 1880s and 1890s three-dimensional valentines. Enthusiasts will always consider these valentines the crowning jewels of their collections because of their remarkable artistry, beauty and elaborate designs.
Editor’s Note: Barbara Johnson has a Ph.D. in history and is the author of Valentines, A Collector’s Guide, 1700s - 1950s (ISBN 1574326422) and Antique & Vintage Fashions, 1745 to 1979, a Collector’s Guide (ISBN 1574326163) both by Collector Books, available online, in bookstores and through the publisher at www.collectorbooks.com.