Antique Gifts for Valentine’s Day

Dr. Lori Verderame

Art & Antiques by Dr. Lori

By Dr. Lori Verderame

Valentine’s day honors the Christian martyr, St. Valentine as well as the Roman goddess of marriage, Juno. Together these two famous love figures have shown us mere mortals all about the ways of love. St. Valentine’s feast day, February 14, is highlighted with the gifting of flowers, sharing symbols of love, and sending romantic cards to loved ones. While St. Valentine presented the flowers from his garden to young lovers in an effort to promote the Catholic sacrament of matrimony, his February holiday has sparked the gifts old and new.   Here are some antique gifts that will warm up your Valentine’s day.

Valentine Cards. These small tokens are exchanged between childhood friends and star-crossed lovers alike. Examples from the early 1900s come in the form of post cards and are worth $5-$10. Vintage examples from the World War II era range in value from $10-$20 depending on condition, market, artist, and sentimental message.

Love seats and settees. While the Victorians introduced us to the rules and regulations of courting one’s lover, they also made seating furniture very cozy. The widespread use of love seats for two and settees was a Victorian stable in the world of antique furniture. Eastlake furniture named for Charles Eastlake, a British designer, was known for comfortable tufted seats and backs on love seats and intertwined courting seats featuring two chairs fused together with a bar in between the two seated lovers in walnut and upholstery fabric. Courting lamps. The Victorians gave us restrictions on courtship in the form of the courting lamp. The courting lamp had graduated markings on the glass to indicate minutes. The marks showed the amount of time left before the fuel source expired and your lover must be on his way home. Today, these rare Valentine’s keepsakes are worth $50-$150.
Candy. Russell Stover, Godiva, and Whitman candy in their characteristic embossed cardboard or lithographed tin boxes on a living room coffee table spoke volumes about this popular winter holiday. Once these delicious chocolates were devoured, the candy boxes were saved through the years. Today, candy boxes in the shape of hearts command $3 each at antique shops. Candy containers. Glass candy containers from the early 1900s came in all shapes and sizes. They are found in the form of animals, people, toys, and even historic buildings like the Philadelphia City Hall, U. S. Capital Building, and The White House. They are widely collected and range in value from $50 to $250. Chocolate molds. Chocolate molds are very popular, particularly on the day when an abundance of chocolate is consumed. Wooden and cast metal chocolate molds which date back to the late 19th Century are the most sought-after examples for collectors. But, be aware love isn’t cheap and these chocolate molds are expensive with values from $500 and $2000 for the finest examples.

If you are going out on the town with your honey, then you’ve got to look good. Vintage couture. Winter hats from that bygone night on the town in celebration of Valentine’s Day are all the rage. Look for period hats of faux fur and leather gloves with fanciful detailing at thrift shops. You will have to save your pennies to buy some of these name brand pieces ranging in value from $250 to $400 each. Jewelry. There is nothing quite like getting a piece of fine jewelry featuring gold, silver, or platinum with gemstones from your sweetheart. Costume jewelry is another popular Valentine’s gift by designers Weiss, Trifari, Coro, Monet, Maravella, Renoir, etc. The pieces are well made, low quality yet durable stones, and high-end period designs. A Valentine card or diamond bracelet are both fine ways to say I love you.

Dr. Lori Verderame is the award-winning Ph.D. antiques appraiser on History channel’s #1 hit show, The Curse of Oak Island and weekdays on the Doctor and the Diva. Dr. Lori presents her Antiques Appraisal Comedy Show to audiences nationwide. Visit or call (888) 431-1010.

Images: “Photo Credit: Staff photographer at”

  1. Dr. Lori’s headshot (on file)
  2. Philadelphia City Hall candy container, glass, circa 1900