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VALENTINE'S DAY / THE VALENTINE CARD

THE VALENTINE CARD

Valentines are thought to be the first greeting cards ever sent; the paper valentine dates from the 16th century.

By the 17th century, handmade cards were oversized and elaborate, while store-bought ones were smaller and costly.

But printers were already beginning to produce a limited number of cards with verses and sketches.

The real revolution came in the early 19th century with a reduction in postal rates. This helped to establish the custom of sending anonymous messages or cards to those one admired.

The United States Post Office in Loveland, Colorado, USA, creates a special and one-of-a-kind cancellation stamp every year in order to celebrate Valentine's Day and the romantic name of Loveland, Colorado. The Post Office is now averaging greater than 300,000 Valentines emailed annually including 104 foreign countries and all 50 United States. The cancellation stamp sample shown here is from 1995.

Today, about 1 billion Valentine's Day cards are sent each year. The holiday ranks second (after Christmas) for the number of cards sent. According to the latest US Census data (which is from 2000), Americans spend about $277 million on cards each.

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Valentine Traditions Valentine Day Around the World THE VALENTINE CARD
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