Volume 5 Issue 2
VALENTINES & COLLECTIBLES
There are several legends that surround St. Valentine's Day. It has Christian, ancient Roman, as well as Pagan roots that date back as far as 270 A.D.
Some believe that the Christian church began celebrating St. Valentine's Day in mid February to "christianize" the pagan celebration of Lupercalia festival.
Lupercalia was a fertility festival dedicated to Faunus, the Roman god of agriculture and to the believed founders of Rome, Romulus and Remus. It began on
February 15th. February was the official beginning of spring in ancient Rome. It was a time for purification. Houses were cleaned by sweeping them out. Salt
and spelt, a type of wheat, was sprinkled throughout the house interior. Pope Gelasius declared February 14 as St. Valentine's Day approximately 498 A.D.
During the middle ages, France and England believed that February 14 was the beginning of the birds mating season.
The oldest Valentine known to still exist is a poem from Charles, Duke of Orleans to his wife while he was imprisoned in the Tower of London after his capture
at the battle of Agincourt. It was written in 1415 and is part of a collection of the British Library in London, England. King Henry V is believed to have hired a
writer, John Lydgate, to compose a valentine to Catherine of Valois.
During the 17th century, Valentine's Day popularity increased in Great Britain. By the 18th century, it became quite common for friends and lovers to exchange
small tokens of affection or handwritten notes. Due to the improvement of printing by the end of the century, printed cards began to replace the handwritten notes.
In the early 1700's, Americans began exchanging hand-made valentines. The first mass-produced valentine cards were sold by Esther A. Howland in 1840. She is
known as the "mother of the valentine". She made elaborate cards from real lace, ribbons, and pictures. Her company eventually became the New England Valentine
Valentines not only include post cards, cards, candy, and flowers, but other types of collectibles, as well. It can also include porcelain figurines, trinket boxes in
the shape of a heart, plush animals, heart jewelry, and music boxes. You can find them in just about any price range.
The History Channel
Schroeder's Antique Price Guide - 18th Edition
Garage Sale & Flea Market Annual - Third Edition
Warman's Americana & Collectibles - Eighth Edition
Warman's Antiques & Collectibles Price Guide - 32nd Edition
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