Saturday, February 5, 2011
Pretty LADIES with CUPID on Antique VALENTINE Postcards
We begin this Valentine's Day post with a fantasy image of a Pretty Lady inside a rose. We have quite a collection of fantasies, and pretty ladies (or children) inside flowers constitute a genre by themselves. Here on this embossed postcard with a gold background, Cupid has arrived with a Valentine's card in an envelope, the heart peeking out at the top. This post focuses on combinations of lovely ladies with Cupid, with him sometimes shown offering advice to the love-struck. Of course, Cupid appears on Valentines in many settings; here he is a companion, advisor or - sometimes - an attacker!
This postcard has detailed embossing and 'silk' (the term for a smooth fabric added to an antique postcard) applied to the lady's coat and to red hearts. Cupid appears with a paintpot, apparently coloring the hearts red. He offers a big fabric one, in the role of a gentle helper. Nice gold swirls form a 'frame' around the central image and lavish applications of blue forget-me-nots add color contrast.
This antique postcard combines lots of blue forget-me-nots (perfect flowers for a Valentine!) with a wonderful open automobile that has gold added to the visible parts. Cupid, that rascal, is about to shoot an arrow that seems aimed at our heroine's neck...fortunately the mph in automobiles of this vintage hovered in the 20s...so the accident that appears about to happen may not cause much damage.
Here we have a calmer image, although Cupid has presented our Lady with a pierced heart - his favorite kind. She's wearing a truly fantastic outfit with a fashionable large hat. This postcard features a rose tree forming a 'frame' for the central image.
Below are images of Cupid offering advice, whispered in our Lady's ear. These are two embossed examples of Cupid as Advisor.
The colorful image below illustrates one of the challenges in classifying antique Valentine postcards...we have asked this question before: Isn't there just ONE Cupid? How are we to distinguish him from Angels? Sometimes Cupid is shown with wings and sometimes not. He usually has a quiver of arrows and a bow, sometimes a pierced heart as we see above. So we imagine that the winged companions on this Valentine's Day postcard are all Angels - the one closest to the Lady is blowing a bubble heart with a tiny bubble pipe...and you will note that s/he is perched inside a flower. A beautiful embossed image with fantasy elements.
On the left is another fantasy image - this time both the Lady and Cupid are inside flowers, Spring tulips in red and white with embossed details. A lovely design for Valentine's Day with the classic pierced hearts and a poetic greeting at the bottom.
Price estimates: Valentine Cupid postcards vary in value largely because of the intricacy and rarity of the design. Top quality artwork makes a big difference and a premium will be paid for Valentines from the top publishers: PFB, Nister, Tuck. All the postcards shown in this post are embossed and some have added gilding. The fashion in silk postcards ebbs and flows - these postcards are currently undervalued in our opinion. Prices for these postcards range from $5 to $15 at auction, somewhat higher in the eBay stores. Check the auctions and bid conservatively, or seek these at postcard shows - some dealers wll ask a lot, other dealers will be more reasonable. These prices are for postcards in EXCELLENT condition, and they are only estimates.