We are always buying postcards and photos from before 1950 - email us at circa1910@tampabay.rr.com.




Thursday, February 18, 2010

Valentine CUPIDS





Valentines come in many forms; this post shows some Cupids as illustrated on turn-of-the-century Valentine postcards.  Our little love-cherub is portrayed in three different roles here.   Hard-working Cupid tries to mend hearts, forge them, stitch them, catch them as they drift away on the wind or warm them up.  Confidante Cupid is shown with pretty ladies, whispering romance wisdom in their ears, or trying to get couples together.   Classic Cupids are showcased in pretty settings, equipped with their traditional Valentine's Day tools - a bow and quiver of arrows.   The Cupid on a gold background inside a circlet of roses above is a Classic Cupid.

Here we have two Hard-working Cupid postcards from the same set, decorated with a swag pinned at each corner of the top edge with fringed silky bows.  Above, Cupid puts down his bow to mend a big red heart with bandages - a lot are required to hold the broken heart together...on the right, Cupid holds a frozen heart above a warming fire - his arrow is in the brazier and perhaps even creating the flames...magical powers to melt the coldest heart!



In this design, Cupid is dressed as a clerk, wearing spectacles and a cap, weighing hearts for a little angel who has brought them in for measuring.  The background is especially nice, with wooden drawers and cupboard, and a wood counter.  We don't see Cupid's bow and arrows in this image, which brings up a question on Valentine artwork:  How do we differentiate Cupid from Angels on Valentines?  Some folks called all winged wonders "Cupid" but this card illustrates why that causes confusion.  Isn't Cupid an individual?  If so, what are we to make of this design?  My theory is that Cupid is usually identified by his bow and arrows - however, he can also be identified by his position of power, authority and responsibility, as in this antique Valentine postcard. 






A different kind of Hard-working Cupid writes a poetic message on the blackboard, educating lovers about the joys of romance.  This card has Cupid 'dressed' for work with his quiver of arrows but no clothing.  The colors are very vivid, and the addition of the forget-me-nots adds both bright blue and a symbol of the desire for undying affection.

Cupid as Confidante is one of the prettiest styles of postcard Valentines.  In this post, we have three examples.  This is an opportunity for Cupid to show off his flirtatious and mischievous side - he does like the ladies! 
Price Estimates:  Prices on the Valentines shown, all of which are embossed, are quite modest.  Any can be acquired for $3.00 - $10.00 at eBay bidding or postcard shows.  For some reason, perhaps because their original popularity means there are a lot of them, Valentines seem to be undervalued.  Artwork on Valentine postcards can be elaborate and elegant.  The one of Cupid with the pretty lady on the left, for instance, is embellished with lots of shining gold highlights and has very detailed embossing.  Today's low prices give you the freedom to be selective about which Valentines to add to your collection - there are some fine bargains to be had!

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