Bodleian Libraries, University of Oxford
Contrary to popular belief, Valentine's Day was not fabricated by Hallmark to make everyone spend money and feel miserable. In fact, pre-Hallmark Valentines can be breath-taking beautiful - or garish, overwrought assaults on the senses - depending on your mood.
Perhaps the romantic side of the holiday has been unfairly maligned. If you look at Valentines from the early to mid-1800s, when the artistry of paper tokens of love reached its height, your hard heart has to soften just a little bit. Either way, it's amazing how much painstaking effort lovers put into these paper tokens in the 18th and 19th centuries, before we all had Facebook cat GIFs.