I have curated a gorgeous collection of retro happy Valentine’s day images to download and print for free.
Valentine’s day falls on the 14th of February. It is an extra special day in my household as it also happens to be my Birthday.
Did you know that after Christmas, Valentine’s day is the second biggest card-giving event in the yearly calendar? Valentine’s cards have been around a lot longer than Christmas cards.
The first Christmas card was created and sent in 1843. The valentine industry grew throughout the 1800s, and up to 60,000 cards were sent in 1836 even though postage was really expensive.
According to History.com, the oldest Valentine recorded being sent was a poem written by a French medieval duke named Charles to his wife in 1415.
Charles penned this sweet note to his lover while he was imprisoned in the Tower of London at just 21 years old. One of the lines in the poem? “I am already sick of love, My very gentle Valentine.” Swoon!
The exact origins of Valentine’s Day are unclear. February, however, has long been associated with romance, a month thought to mark the beginning of the mating season for birds.
One of the many legends about the origins of valentine’s day involves Valentinus, a theologian and teacher. In 269 AD Valentinus was imprisoned for his Christian beliefs and sentenced to death. It was whilst he was in jail according to the Roman legend Valentinus restored the eyesight of his jailer’s blind daughter.
The night before his execution Valentinus wrote a goodbye note to the jailer’s daughter which he signed as “From Your Valentine.” He was then executed the next day, Feb. 14, 269 A.D. Whether or not this was a romantic gesture is up for debate. Nevertheless, the signature caught on and is still used to show affection.
Many of the Valentine cards sent over the centuries contain familiar themes shown here with these vintage Happy Valentines Day images. These popular symbols of love include images such as red hearts, cupids, flowers and lace.
There are some interesting vintage maps of love and matrimony that you might want to also check out.
To download the Happy Valentine’s day images of your choice, just click the title above the image. The Valentine’s picture should open up on your desktop in a new window. You can then save the Valentine’s image to your hard drive or print it out.
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The Happy Valentine’s Day Images
1. Prang’s Valentine Cards
Advertisement for Prang’s greeting cards, showing a woman holding a group of tethered cherubs, who float like a bunch of balloons above her. Printed in 1883.
2. Antique Happy Valentine’s Day Image 1909
A 1909 Valentine’s day postcard of 2 cherubs painting a red heart. The card has the simple greeting “To My Valentine”.
3. To My Valentine 1910
A vintage Valentines day postcard, showing a cherub and a big red heart.
Red has long been considered the color of passion and sexuality. The colour also symbolizes confidence, spontaneity, and determination, all important factors in a romantic pursuit.
This has all been proven by a study by the University of Rochester. Psychologists at the University discovered that men viewed women wearing red or standing in front of a red background as significantly more attractive and sexually desirable than women wearing or standing in front of different colours. Women felt the same way about men wearing red.
4. Cupid With A Heart
A Norwegian Happy Valentine’s Day image (1912) showing cupid with a red heart.
Cupid is a very popular icon of Valentine’s Day. Cupid is a character from classical mythology, he is the god of desire, erotic love, attraction and affection.
5.Cupids with Sedan Chair
Another Norwegian Happy Valentine’s day card with three cupid figures as a sedan chair and hearts.
6. A Valentine Reminder
Happy Valentine’s day image with a sweet poem, “Wether (sic) you be near or far. This Valentine will find you. And of my love, so great and true. The message will remind you.”
7. Happy Valentine’s Images from – A collection of Valentines ancient and modern (1)
Valentine’s day image extracted from The Quiver of Love. A collection of Valentine’s ancient and modern. With illustrations, in colors, … by W. Crane and Kate Greenaway. Published in 1876.
8.The Surprise 1876
Another Valentine’s day image extracted from The Quiver of Love .
9. Armstrong Nurseries – Valentine Plant
A Valentine’s image from the Armstrong Nurseries Catalog of the Valentine plant.
If you notice there is a heart-shaped box of Chocolates behind the plant. The heart shape Chocolate box was created by Richard Cadbury, son of Cadbury founder John Cadbury, who started packaging chocolates in fancy boxes to increase sales.
He introduced the first heart-shaped box of chocolates for V-Day in 1861, and today, more than 36 million heart-shaped boxes of chocolates are sold each year.
10.Lace Valentines Card 1860
Happy Valentine’s day images of a cotton lace 19th Century Valentine’s card.
11. To My Valentine, Fresh flowers
A Valentine’s day card with a sweet little poem.
Fresh flowers and a little line, To greet by dearest Valentine
12. To My Valentine. ‘Tis a lemon
Another vintage Happy Valentine’s day images with a not so happy little ditty!
“To My Valentine. ‘Tis a lemon that I hand to you and bid you now ‘skidoo,’ Because I love another – there is no chance for you!”
13. Cupids Message
Vintage happy valentine’s day images 1910.
14. This Heart of Mine
“Please Accept This Heart of Mine, Ten Thousand Joys It Will Be to Greet You My Loving Valentine. “
15. A Token of Love
Vintage happy valentine’s day images from 1909.
If you liked these retro happy Valentine’s day images from old cards then you might some of these other collections on Pictureboxblue.
Wednesday 8th of February 2023
Thank you so much for sharing with Whimsy Home Wednesday, I am in love with your valentine images! I recently found some vintage valentine's, they stole my heart. I can't wait to print these and see what I can make!
Thursday 9th of February 2023
Thank you, I'm please to hear you like them; I'm sure you'll make something lovely.
Easy Valentine's Crafts That Will Make Anyone Feel Loved
Tuesday 2nd of February 2021
[…] Source […]
Thursday 9th of January 2020
Thank you! Super great post! Loved reading and seeing the images!
Friday 10th of January 2020
Thank you, glad you like the images.
Tuesday 7th of January 2020
Thank you for these awesome freebies and the Valentine’s history lesson. Pinning for later!
Wednesday 8th of January 2020
Thank you, it's fun researching the background to images.