One of the world’s oldest surviving Valentine’s cards has been auctioned for more than £7,000.
Derbyshire-based auction house Hansons said the approximately 230-year-old card – dating back to around 1790 – smashed its estimate of £200-£300.
The card sold on Valentine’s Day morning after a battle between two phone bidders and would-be online buyers from Europe and America, going for £5,800.
With buyer’s premium and VAT, the total price paid will be £7,192.
Love can be infectious. Whilst I am in bed with flu this valentine card set temps soaring at £5800 . Love clearly is all around. Happy Valentine’s Day all and share that love pic.twitter.com/gMdfXAOJyq
— Charles Hanson (@HansonsAuctions) February 14, 2019
Hansons said the unusual lot was bought by Jakki Brown, from London, who had fallen in love with its historical significance.
The 54-year-old, editor and co-owner of London’s Progressive Greetings, a trade magazine for the card industry, said: “I’m so happy. I was convinced I would be outbid. I was so nervous about the sale, I hardly slept the night before.
“I’ve bought this because I really believe in the art of card sending and to buy this on Valentine’s Day makes it extra special.
“For me, this Valentine is a wonderful example of an enduring British tradition. I will never sell it.”
Experts at Hansons, based in Etwall, said the card – bearing a drawing of hearts and a dove carrying a sealed envelope – was in keeping with the types of message sent during the Jane Austen era.
A handwritten verse inside the card is thought to have been sent to a woman named Ann, who was living in Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire, in the late 18th century.
The lot was part of a collection which belonged to Lawrence Randle, a keen philatelist and card collector who died at the age of 88 in 2009.