14 Vintage-Style Valentines to Send in the Mail
These cards come with old-fashioned charm—illustrated with hearts and sentimental sayings. Have them signed, sealed, and delivered to friends and family near and far.
There's nothing better than receiving snail mail from a loved one. We live in a world where it's so easy to simply fire off a text to a friend or family member, but going the extra step and sending a card is even more meaningful, and that's especially true right now when seeing loved ones is harder than ever before. In fact, studies show that one in six consumers have sent more cards during the pandemic than they did pre-pandemic. Sending and receiving letters can help us feel more connected during a time of anxiety and isolation. So, this Valentine's Day, instead of texting a series of heart eyes emojis, choose from one of these lovely vintage-style valentines to show your love.
But before we get to the cards, let's enjoy a quick history lesson: The first Valentine's Day cards were sent in the 18th century, and since store-bought cards weren't available yet, they were always homemade. These thematic holiday cards didn't really gain major popularity until the mid-1800s during the Victorian era, when Britain's industrialization made it possible to mass produce greeting cards. Then in 1913, Hallmark produced their first Valentine's Day cards, and well, the rest is history.
Our list includes all types of vintage-style valentines: romantic cards for your S.O., adorable cards for school kids, sweet cards for your best friend—basically whoever you want to show some love to. And whether you prefer the classic Victorian style or you want more of a retro 1950s vibe, we have vintage valentines from all different eras.
Ahead, see our 14 picks for the best vintage-style Valentine's Day cards.
If you're looking for an elegant valentine, this gold foil card from Rifle Paper Co. is classic but also bursts with vibrant color. And it's blank inside so you can customize a handwritten note.
Shop Now: Rifle Paper Co. Vintage Floral Valentine, $5, riflepaperco.com.
Whether your sweetheart is a King or Queen of Hearts (or if they're more of a Joker), give them one of these of vintage playing card valentines. Each deck comes with 10 assorted antique-style greeting cards.
Shop Now: The Best Card Company Vintage Playing Card Valentines, $10.98 for 10, amazon.com.
If you prefer a more traditional Victorian valentine, send these postcards picturing a cherubic child in festive Valentine's Day attire. Each card has pops of glitter, giving it a hint of modern flair.
Shop Now: Cavallini Vintage Valentine Postcards, $16.95 for 12, papersource.com.
This multi-pack of cards is a reproduction of valentines that were made in the 1950s and '60s. They're perfect for your child's classmates, or for your friends if you're nostalgic for your school days.
Shop Now: School Days Valentine's Day Cards, $21.90 for 30, vermontcountrystore.com.
This card may picture a retro couple, but the message is very... current. The dapper man suggests to his fashionable date that they go out for Valentine's Day. And she responds, "You mean around the block again? Sounds perfect!"
Shop Now: Let's Go Out Valentine's Day Card, $3.22, lilbitn.etsy.com.
The Cat's Pajamas
"The cat's pajamas" is a slang phrase from the 1920s Jazz Age. Calling something the cat's pajamas was the highest compliment, so this illustrated card makes a darling old-fashioned Valentine's Day greeting.
Shop Now: Rifle Paper Co. "You're the Cat's Pajamas" Card, $5, riflepaperco.com.
Flora and Fauna
You have the option personalize your card with a heartfelt message or receive an unsigned card to fill out at home. This Valentine featured hand lettering, blooming with buds, berries, and leaves.
Shop Now: Paper Raven Co. for Minted "Little Bloom" Card, from $6.98, minted.com.
Coming Up Roses
Flowers and cupids were the most common imagery pictured on Victorian Valentine's Day cards. The front of this hand-illustrated card reads, "Life is coming up roses with you in it." A sweet message for anyone.
Shop Now: Mr. Boddington "Life Coming Up Roses" Card, $5, mrboddington.com.
Send love from afar! This card features a peaceful bird surrounded by foliage in a pretty postage stamp design.
Shop Now: Eve Schultz for Minted "Postage Stamp" Card, from $12 for 10, minted.com.
Valentines with silly wordplay were hugely popular in the '50s, like this popcorn pun card. Sure, it might be corn-y, but that's what makes it so fun.
Shop Now: Retro Magic Shop for Zazzle Vintage Popcorn Valentine's Day Card, $3.45, zazzle.com.
Have a lot of loved ones on your Valentine's Day list? Buy a jumbo pack of cards like this one that comes with 36 valentines. Perfect for animal lovers, these vintage-style cards feature kittens, puppies, ponies, and other cutesy critters.
Shop Now: Sustainable Greetings Vintage Style Valentines, $14.99 for 36, amazon.com.
This book of press-out cards has 1940s-style valentines on each page that easily pop out along the perforated edges. This is a great pick if you want to get the kids in on a fun Valentine's Day activity.
Shop Now: Golden Books Vintage Valentines Press-Out Book, $4.99, amazon.com.
These retro Valentine's Day cards are mini (2.5" by 3.5"), so they're ideal for little ones who can only sign their name and don't need a lot of blank space for a long letter.
Shop Now: Hallmark Mini Vintage Valentines Day Cards, $5.99 for 12, amazon.com.
Hotdogs and Hearts
When it came to Valentine's Day cards during the 1950s, puns were all the rage. This card featuring a cartoon hot dog saying "Frankly speaking, I want you" is a perfect example.
Shop Now: Welte Vintage & Seasonal Art for Zazzle Retro Hot Dog Valentine's Day Card, $2.05 each, zazzle.com.