Faeroese Postal History
Dutch Silver Stamp
A Jewel on a Stamp
Canadian Nat. Symbols
Private - Personalized
Philatelic Art Mews
Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek
St. Valentine's Day is celebrated on
February 14 by the custom of sending greeting cards or gifts to express
affection to a chosen partner. The cards - valentines - are generally sent
anonymously and are often designed with hearts to symbolize love.
holiday probably derives from the ancient Roman feast of Lupercalis (February
15). Originally a festival for shepherds, it was celebrated in honour of
Faunus. Its primary purpose was to secure fertility for the fields, the
flocks, and the shepherds themselves.
| The festival gradually became
associated with the feast day (February 14) of two Roman martyrs, both named St.
Valentine, who lived in the 3rd century, but about whom nothing specific is
known. The above image show an early mosaic by an anonymous artist, of Saint Valentine.
- Belgium 2003. Valentine Stamp
In Japan, the object of a person's
affections is not given a bouquet of flowers by her admirer. In fact,
ladies working in companies present the men (their superiors, whether they like
them or not ...) with chocolates. This custom appears to have been
introduced by department stores with a good eye for business after World War II.
Japanese men return the compliment one month later, on 14th March, which is
called White Day.
- Sweden 1997. Valentine Stamp.
- Korea 2000. Valentine Stamp with simulated
- Norway 2000. Valentine Stamp.
The practice of calling oneself a
"valentine" and asking one’s beloved to be the same, is referred
to in the Paston Letters, the largest surviving collection of 15th-century
English correspondence written by the Paston family and their neighbours in
This is described very nicely on the stamp to the left, issued by
France 1985, and designed by the French artist and cartoonist Raymond Peynet
(*1908), probably the world's first St. Valentine Stamp.
An early reference to Saint Valentine's Day is found in
the works of Geoffrey Chaucer (ca. 1343- 1400), who states that birds pair on
This may have been the idea behind the souvenir sheet
to the right, issued by Denmark in 1999 for St. Valentine.
The sheet is designed by the Danish artist Sonia
The first heart-shaped stamps for St. Valentine were issued by France in 1999.
At that time they were a true sensation. Oddly
shaped stamps were already on the market; Olympic circular or oval
football stamps, banana-shaped stamps, bottle-shaped stamps, fish-shaped
and many more, but the French Valentine-greeting was the first of its
kind. No sheet containing these 2 stamps was issued.
The stamps were not self-adhesive, but had to be licked the traditional
way, and they were difficult to separate from the sheet without damaging
There are two stamps in the set, the one
shown to the left, saying "Je t'aime", and another one with a
rose inserted in the heart.
Here is a nice cover with a French heart-shaped stamp
(the rose) postally used.
Although it was not sent at the occasion of St. Valentine, I liked the
cover, and decided to keep it in my collections.
- France 1999. Cover sent 9th April 1999 to Denmark, and franked with the
first heart-shaped stamp that France issued for Valentine's Day in 1999.
In the years to come France followed up on her success with heart-shaped
stamps, and the first "designer-stamps" appeared on the market.
Left and right: France 2000. Close-ups of stamps from the above French souvenir sheet designed by
Yves Saint Laurent.
2001. Heart-shaped Valentine stamp on the background of a full
sheet. The sophisticated French text "Le coeur est le timbre du
corps" means in English "The Heart is the Stamp of the
Body". Very appropriate for a heart-shaped stamp issued for St.
the tradition from earlier years, France has launched an annual "fashion
show" on stamps, by letting fashion houses design the Valentine stamp of
the year. Here are but a few examples.
France 2003. Valentine stamps designed by the House
France 2004. Valentine stamps designed by the House
border is not black, but has a very fine pattern in monochrome colours that
is difficult to scan properly.
Valentine-stamps are now issued by practically every country around the
Although St. Valentine has traditionally been
regarded as the patron saint of lovers, this was not the case on the infamous
St. Valentine Day of 14th February 1929 in Chicago, when a mass murder of a group of unarmed bootlegging
gang members in Chicago took place. The bloody incident dramatized the intense
rivalry for control of the illegal liquor traffic during the Prohibition Era in
the United States.
Disguising themselves as
policemen, members of the Al Capone gang entered a garage at 2122 North Clark
Street run by members of the George “Bugs” Moran gang, lined their opponents
up against a wall, and shot them in cold blood. The victims included gang
members Adam Heyer, Frank Gusenberg, Pete Gusenberg, John May, Al Weinshank, and
James Clark, as well as a visitor, Dr. Reinhardt H.Schwimmer.
The St. Valentine's Day Massacre
and other gangland killings, frequently portrayed vividly by the mass media
throughout the world, came to symbolize the violence of the Prohibition Era in
spite of the bloody events in the past I wish all of you a Happy Valentine.
Valentine To You All :)