Sailors’ Valentines were originally made by artisans in Barbados during the 1800’s as romantic tokens from the sea. They were purchased by homesick sailors as gifts for loved ones back home. Each intricate seashell Valentine was encased in an eight-sided hardwood box.
In recent years there has been a revival in the art of Sailors’ Valentines. The colorful and imaginative designs of contemporary artists have inspired collectors of a new era. Undoubtedly, these too, will eventually become treasured antiques.
Antique Sailors’ Valentines from the 1800s have sold at auction for as much as $20,000-$25,000.