11 buys for a romantic Valentine’s Day

Beautiful old and new finds to make your Valentine's Day an event to remember

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The month of romance is upon us and stores are piled high with all the predictable offerings – teddy bears, bouquets of roses and boxes of chocolates wrapped in red ribbon. Of course we do love these things, but if you’re looking for something more original to give (or receive) this Valentine’s Day, why not take some inspiration from our pick of unique old and new romantic gifts?

A (very) brief history of Valentines Day

The history of Valentine’s Day is somewhat of a mystery but the earliest accounts date back to the Ancient Roman festival, Lupercalia. Far from the lover’s holiday it is today, during this celebration, shepherds sacrificed elderly goats to bring health and fertility to their new livestock.

Some thank Geoffrey Chaucer, the mouthpiece of courtly love, for the creation of February 14th in his famous poem The Parliament of Fowls.

However, the most popular account of the holiday’s origin is certainly more romantic. In 270 AD, a priest named Valentine was executed on 14th February by Emperor Claudius II for performing secret marriage ceremonies on Roman battlefields. During his time in prison he healed the jailer’s blind daughter and on the night before his execution gave her a hand-written letter, signed ‘From your Valentine’.

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Valentine typewriter, c1960s

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£489, Pamono

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030 809 5205 55; Pamono.co.uk

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ON-OFF neon sign, c1930s

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£2,011.37, Architectural Anarchy

224 677 2206; 1stdibs.com

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Set of antique cranberry glasses, c1910

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£301-£500, Grimes House Gallery

01608 651092; grimeshouse.co.uk

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Red leather covered sewing box

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£395, The Old Cinema

020 8995 4166; theoldcinema.co.uk

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Heart coin purse

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£55, Aspinal of London

01428 648 180; aspinaloflondon.com

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Illuminating letter U, c1970

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

£221, Pamono

030 809 5205 55; pamono.com

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Close to my heart Eau de Parfum

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£95, Bella Freud

020 7291 4330; bellefreud.com

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Red heart chair, c1950s

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£506.60, Vintagerie

+43 699 11 44 1967; 1stdibs.com

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Lip stripe print make up case

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£45, Lulu Guinness

0800 044 374; luluguinness.com

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Vintage industrial ‘Liebe’ letters

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£450, Pamono

030 809 5205 55; pamono.com

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Posy court square tray

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£42, Kate Spade

0800 240 4320; katespade.co.uk

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Words: Hebe Hatton