WTF Vintage Valentines

February 13, 2018 | by Katie Baird

Valentine’s Day is just days away, so you may be pondering what to get that special someone in your life. If you really want to take their breath away perhaps consider a quirky and cute vintage card! Vintage Valentine’s cards have an undeniable nostalgic charm. We actually designed a Vintage Valentine campaign for RCN a while back, and it’s an office-wide favorite!

However, not all vintage Valentine’s are cute and charming. It seems a good portion of them are silly, strange and DOWNRIGHT TERRIFYING. After all, what says ‘I love you’ like processed meats, demonic cats, car accidents and viral infections?

The first paper Valentines were exchanged in Europe in the 18th century. These early  cards were handmade from paper and decorated with romantic hearts, flowers and poetry. In the mid-19th century, giving Valentines cards traveled across the ocean from England to America. Cards gained quick popularity in America, and because of new technologies much more elaborate cards were produced cheaply, encouraging their popularity even further. And that’s when stuff got WEIRD.

We’re going to look at some prime examples of Vintage Valentines in all their weirdness. I’ve noticed a few puzzling common trends for these tokens of love.


Vivacious Vegetables



Fishing for Love



Romantic Felines for You


Meating your Match




Dying to Be With You


Feeling Love Sick



My Not-So-Funny Valentine



Now, I’m sure my perception of these unsettling cards is mostly due to changes in humor and evolving illustration styles over the decades, but it’s still fun to look back on these in wonderment and try to imagine a time when these were an acceptable thing to hand to someone you LOVED. Or maybe there was a whole slew of youngsters out there just scaring people into going on dates with them…



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