Designs of the Heart for Valentine’s Day: Yenke Peddler Antiques

CLEVELAND, Ohio — This weekend offers several extra days to celebrate Valentine’s Day! Observed on February 14 since 496, this holiday honors a Roman high priest who served all with love and devotion. I wish you all a heart-filled day!

In the early 1900s, postcards were a great way to honor loved ones. Economic postage rates were also attractive. These feelings of caring were lasting and beautiful. The gathered theme of red hearts, Cupids, prose and poetry has traveled miles to convey a special intention.

In the postcard world, Ellen Clapsaddle (1865-1934) was famous for her American illustrations. Specializing in holiday themes, children were a featured topic. His classic presentations are still the first choice of many collectors. Blank, unmarked cards are the most valuable; however, the great calligraphy of senders is also admired.

Raphael Tuck & Sons published the works of Frances Brundage (1854-1937), another talented American artist. She was also known for her portrayal of children. Since Cupids are depicted as childish angels, his subject matter was particularly appropriate for Valentine’s Day. There were also themes for various other holidays. Each was complete with remarkable detail and some cards were embossed.

A perennial Pennsylvania Dutch design is the heart in hand symbol. Scherenschnitte valentines are quite intricate, with birds, cupids and floral motifs. This cutting technique requires a skilled craftsman to achieve the symmetry and crisp detail. The German communities passed on this craft from heart to heart. They are better supervised to preserve their fragile nature.

Hello Mrs Yenke,

These were given to my late father by his brother. I was wondering if they are genuine and if they have any value?


Hi Dave,

As with most Colombian art, your pieces are curiosities and very primitive. Most likely they were made for tourism and have a low value. They are formed from clay, without molds. Although wet, the indentations and facial features have been sculpted. Gray’s Auction House in Lakewood offers limited appraisals, as it is an international auction house with a wide reach.

If you have an item to appraise, send a clear photo with history to Yenke Peddler, Brenda Yenke, PO Box 361633, Strongsville, Ohio, 44136. You can also send photos and inquiries for Brenda to appraise at [email protected].

About Oscar L. Smith

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