55¢ Victorian Love
Issue Date: January 28, 1999
City: Loveland, CO
Printed By: Avery Dennison
Printing Method: Photogravure
Perforations: Die cut
The first ever United States stamps cut to the shape of the images depicted are the 33-cent Love (U.S. #3274) and its 55-cent companion (U.S. #3275).
Victorian artifacts were used to create each stamp. The floral-heart design featured on both denominations was taken from a valentine greeting card decorated by an unknown German artist in 1895. The background of the 33-cent stamp was designed after a turn of the century American chocolate or biscuit paper-lace box liner. On the 55-cent stamp, the background was taken from an English paper lace valentine, circa 1885.
Valentine’s Day evolved from a combination of many sources. Some trace the holiday to Lupercalia, an ancient Roman festival with a similar date and a connection with fertility. Others link it to the old English idea that birds choose their mates on February 14. Still others believe the day is in celebration of one or more saints of the early Christian church.
Valentine’s Day customs of long ago involved ways single women could discover who their future husbands would be. In the 1700s, English women wrote men’s names on paper, rolled each paper in a ball of clay, and dropped them in water. The first paper to rise to the surface supposedly named the woman’s true love.