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Evolution of Valentine’s Day Cards: 20 Vintage and Modern Day Valentines (Photos)

vintage valentines day cards

Example of a vintage Valentine’s Day card

As holiday cards go, Valentine’s Day cards have evolved over the years, from vintage cards that either had a lovely sentiment or were just a darling reflection of the time, to mass produced cards that tie in with the hottest show/movie/toy.

Do you remember the Valentine’s Day cards you exchanged as a kid?

Depending on when you grew up, you might have passed along a Holly Hobbie card or a generic puppy valentine — but today’s kids swap cards that are typically tied to marketing a popular TV series or movie.

The first Valentine’s Day card was sent from France’s Duke of Orleans in 1415 when he was a prisoner in the Tower of London.

The cards became popular in the U.S. during the Revolutionary War and started to be mass produced in the 1900s, with Hallmark jumping on board in 1913. It was full steam ahead from then on.

Check out the evolution of Valentine’s Day cards in this look at 20 vintage, retro and modern day valentines:

nggallery id=’123903′

  • Victorian Valentine’s Day Card 1 of 20
    Victorian Valentine's Day Card
    Note the gorgeous detail with the lace doily and cut outs.
    Photo source: Etsy
  • 1800s 2 of 20
    1800s
    Moving towards more "modern" Valentine's Day cards.
    Photo source: Vintage Valentine Museum
  • 1900/1910s 3 of 20
    1900/1910s
    Simple card, with image of a boy blowing bubbles. Diggin' the short tie!
    Photo source: Vintage Valentine Museum
  • 1910/1920s 4 of 20
    1910/1920s
    A girl blowing bubbles, but the design here is a little more lively.
    Photo source: Vintage Valentine Museum
  • 1920s 5 of 20
    1920s
    Valentine's Day cards get a little upgrade in the cute department.
    Photo source: Vintage Valentine Museum
  • 1930s 6 of 20
    1930s
    A cute bear in a tub, with an equally cute sentiment.
    Photo source: Vintage Valentine Museum
  • 1940s 7 of 20
    1940s
    Puns and cutesie captions started to emerge.
    Photo source: Vintage Valentine Museum
  • 1940s 8 of 20
    1940s
    This card included a boy and a girl, with two panels that opened to reveal a message inside.
    Photo source: Vintage Valentine Museum
  • 1950s 9 of 20
    1950s
    "You suit me to a tea" featured adorable teacups in love.
    Photo source: Vintage Valentine Museum
  • 1960s 10 of 20
    1960s
    This TV themed Valentine's Day card reflected the popularity of television.
    Photo source: Vintage Valentine Museum
  • 1970s 11 of 20
    1970s
    Cute animals were a theme in 1970s cards. I can almost taste the glue on the envelopes.
    Photo source: Average Jane
  • 1970s 12 of 20
    1970s
    I think this may have been a card I exchanged back in the day.
    Photo source: Average Jane
  • 1980s 13 of 20
    1980s
    As the years passed, Valentine's Day cards started to tie in with popular TV shows and movies, as seen with these Care Bears cards.
    Photo source: Etsy
  • 1980s 14 of 20
    1980s
    Alvin and the Chipmunks were a popular cartoon of the time.
    Photo source: eBay
  • 1990s 15 of 20
    1990s
    Sonic the Hedgehog was a popular TV cartoon in the 90s.
    Photo source: Sonic Gear
  • 1990s 16 of 20
    1990s
    Buzz, Woody and the Toy Story gang made their way onto Valentine's Day cards (among other merchandise).
    Photo source: Pixar Collector
  • 2000s 17 of 20
    2000s
    Disney's Hannah Montana had huge product tie-ins for every occasion, including Valentine's Day.
    Photo source: Swag Bucks
  • 2000s 18 of 20
    2000s
    Bieber Fever took over Valentine's Day as well.
    Photo source: Bravado USA
  • 2000s 19 of 20
    2000s
    iCarly continues to entertain kid audiences, making it a popular choice for Valentine's cards.
  • 2000s 20 of 20
    2000s
    Phineas and Ferb is one of the most popular cartoons on TV right now.

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