Valentine's Day started as a Victorian British tradition but really began to take off in America around the end of the nineteenth century. By 1910, the tradition of bringing Valentines to school to distribute to classmates began and created a long-running tradition here in the United States for school kids of all backgrounds. Most of us recall toting a brown paper bag full of Valentines which were then given out to all students in the class, often with those godawful candy hearts that tasted like chalk.
One of the traditional themes of the Valentine's Day card was fishing. Based on original Victorian designs which often showed Cupid fishing for hearts, by the 1920s it had morphed into one of the most common motifs. What follows are 25 representative American valentines from the 1890s to the 1970s.
Believe it or not, Fishing-themed Valentines are quite collectable. I was able to purchase a number of these for $2-$5 each, but some of them -- especially those showing actual tackle like a rod, reel, or lure -- can bring twice as much. And of course, the older ones and the colorful ones tend to be more valuable, as long as they are in good shape.
So this Valentine's Day, print out a fishing-themed Valentine to share with your sweetheart! They will thank you for it!
-- Dr. Todd