For Kathy Boyle, the best part of looking at vintage valentines is reading the old messages written to loved ones.
“They’re not blank. They were sent, and you read them and see what people say to each other and where they’re from,” she said. “That’s just the neat part. It’s history that isn’t around anymore.”
Over 30 years ago, Boyle started collecting postcards, specifically those related to black cats. Since then, the collection has grown quite a bit.
“I have hundreds of cards, not only Halloween, but Christmas, New Year’s, any vintage postcard with a black cat on it was something that I collected,” she said. “I like vintage paper like that, I’m really drawn to it.”
A few years ago, Boyle was helping her husband Matt Rosengrant’s parents clean out an old house on their property that was set to be demolished. On the floor in one of the rooms, they found a pile of old valentines.
Rosengrant gathered up the valentines, and Boyle cleaned and aired them out before adding them to the collection.
Just by looking at them, they guess the collection of 56 valentines dates from the 1920s to the 1950s, with the graphics being a big tell.
Looking at the old stamps and postmarks could also add some detail about their origins.
“Some are a little newer, but they’re certainly not new, and that might be the ‘50s,” she said.
“We’ve done a fair amount of traveling in Europe and it’s neat to see something that kind of relates back to what you’ve visited,” he said.
The couple used to frequent postcard shows, but not so much nowadays. At these shows, Boyle said vendors have boxes upon boxes of cards for people to go through.
She has also brought a book of her collection to shows, which others have found impressive.
Boyle and Rosengrant have been married for 16 years and met on the bus while living in Alexandria, Va., when they would both commute into Washington, D.C. for work.
Until the end of February, the collection of vintage valentines is on display at the Tunkhannock Public Library.