BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) – Valentine’s Day gets a reputation as a “Hallmark holiday”, but the exchanging of valentines predates the card company, which was founded in 1910.
This season, you can check out a collection of hundreds of antique valentines at the Buffalo Transportation Pierce-Arrow Museum, 263 Michigan Avenue.
The exhibit, dubbed “Tokens of Affection”, will be on display at the museum through March.
The museum’s founder and executive director James T. Sandoro began collecting antique valentines when he met his wife Mary Ann in 1969.
“Then, every year I would buy her another antique valentine, because you could go to a drugstore and buy one and they’re all the same, but these are special,” Sandoro said.
The Sandoros have amassed a collection of over 300 vintage valentines, the oldest of which dates back to 1859, Sandoro said. The newest valentines in the collection are from the 1960s.
Many of the valentines feature transportation- old-style automobiles, bicycles, and airplanes.
“Of course, that was so important to us because we’re car people,” Sandoro said.
Many of the valentines look different than the cards you see in stores today- the collection features cut-outs, 3D details, and lace. Most of them were sent to loved ones and bear inscribed messages.
The Buffalo Transportation Pierce-Arrow Museum will be open for special days 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Feb. 14-17 (Friday through Monday).
The museum is open for winter hours (11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays) starting Feb. 22.