Printed valentines became popular in the United States in the 1840s, and the early ones were engraved and hand painted. Today I'll be sharing seven cards from my collection that date from that early period. I've heard dealers refer to these cards, not as valentines, but as "sentiment cards."
If you were to see these cards in person, you would notice that the card stock is heavier and whiter than most other paper of the time, and has a gloss finish. That's because the 1840s saw advancements in papermaking which included the incorporation of white lead into the paper. The result was a luster not unlike fine china. Cards like these, and especially the first of the next three, are sometimes referred to as "porcelain cards."