Valentine’s Day gives us the opportunity to show the people in our lives how much we really care about and love them. We often do this with lots of hearts, sweet treats, affectionate greetings, and gifts.
Heartfelt gifts and decorations are an Annalee specialty, which make them perfect for sharing on Valentine’s Day. It didn’t take long for Annalee to debut its first Valentine designs. Since those first designs, the Valentine collection has grown and evolved. In 1976 there was just one Sweetheart Mouse in the collection. The 2017 Valentine’s Day Collection features 12 unique designs and two favorite product bundles.
So what did the early designs look like, and how did they evolve into the collection we love today?
The Early Years
There were not many details kept on designs from the 1950’s and 1960’s but we have located a few historic pieces that made their debut in the 1950’s. These are among the earliest Valentine’s Day-inspired Annalee designs.
This sweet and popular 7″ grey mouse was a featured design for nearly 12 years with minimal changes.
The Sweetheart ‘70s
In the 1976 all-season catalog, Annalee introduced the 7-inch Sweetheart Mouse. She was made of gray felt and featured an eyelet skirt. This big-hearted design was a favorite in the A Mouse for Every House Collection.
In 1977, Sweetheart Mouse upgraded her outfit. The new design featured a white pinafore dress. This sweet mouse touched the hearts of many Annalee fans and it remained a staple of the Annalee line for nearly 10 years.
Spreading Love in the 80’s
It wasn’t until 1984 that a more official Valentine’s Day Collection made it into the Annalee product line. Cupid arrived on the scene in two-different designs first: a 7-inch Cupid Kid and a 7-inch Cupid Kid in a hanging heart. Both designs had wings, bows, and arrows. The collection also contained some other critters including a 7-inch Valentine Bunny and a 5-inch Sweetheart Duck. These original Valentine’s Day designs were outfitted in a classic red and white motif and carried a lace-trimmed heart.
The Valentine’s Day Collection was updated annually during the late 1980s—the beginning of the Annalee collectability era. Cupid was a staple year to year whether he was in a hot air balloon or standing on a cloud. New animal designs were released including a bunny, cat, bear, and panda.
Here is a look at a few of the collections from the 1980s.
1984: 7” Cupid Kid, 7” Cupid Kid in Hanging Heart, 7” Valentine Bunny, 5” Sweetheart Duck
1985: A heart Pin, 7” Cupid Angel, 7” Cupid Angel in Hanging Heart, 7” Valentine Bunny, 18” Valentine Bear, and 18” Valentine Cat
1986: 7” Cupid Angel, 7” Cupid Angel in Hot air Balloon, 18” Valentine Cat (same), 10” Valentine Panda, same 18” Valentine Bear (and the grey mouse)
1987: 7” Flying Cupid, Hot Air Balloon with 3” Cupid; 3” Cupid and the grey mouse
Changing Times to Modern Day
The 1990 Sweetheart Mouse was amber and wore a gathered skirt printed with dusty rose hearts. She carried a sweet valentine, also in a dusty rose shade. Surprisingly, a heart-adorned 5-inch Valentine Dragon was her companion in the 1990 Valentine’s Day Collection.
The Annalee Valentine’s Day Collection has certainly changed and developed through the years. But one thing remains a constant: Much like the original Valentine’s Day designs, the 2017 Collection is all about inspiring smiles, brightening up days, and spreading love and good cheer. So whether you are a seasoned collector or a first-time buyer, we encourage you to discover the tradition of Annalee magic.