Vinegar Valentines: for the one you love to hate?

The collection of greetings cards at BMAG includes a sample album marked ‘Comic Vals’, owned by a Victorian cardseller and probably dating from the 1870s. Most of the samples in the album are ‘Vinegar Valentines’: insulting cards mocking the recipient’s appearance, profession or behaviour and predicting a loveless future. 

Whether received from an embittered ex or a cruel practical joker, it would have been a nasty surprise to open any of these on Valentine’s day.






This card lulls the unfortunate recipient into a false sense of security with a pretty and sentimental cover, but when it’s opened there’s a sting in the tail:



Find out more about the history of Vinegar Valentines in this article from Brighton Royal Pavilion & Museums.


2 responses to “Vinegar Valentines: for the one you love to hate?”

  1. Anonymous says :

    Great post! I especially enjoyed the many examples of vinegar valentines. My grandmother kept a diary when she was a teen from 1911-14. She got really caught up in sending vinegar valentines. I’ve been posting her diary entries and background information a hundred years to the day after she wrote them.

  2. Anonymous says :

    Great cards! How did you find them? I love reading your “empress chronicles”. Where can I buy or read more? My mother would have been aghast!
    Love from your cousin, Barbi

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