After long resisting the siren song of collecting postcards, I recently decided to collect a narrow niche of cards with art by Bernhardt Wall and published by Valentine and Sons. Although this is not a card published by Valentine, it does show off to good effect the artistic sensibilities of Bernhardt Wall. Let me tell you, finding any Halloween cards published by Valentine is tough going. Thanks to my long-time friend, artist-extraordinaire and evil genius, Matthew Kirscht, I have now embarked on a tough quest to the postcard equivalent of Mount Doom in Mordor.
OK, why in tarnation am I profiling a Valentine's Day item on my Halloween blog? The answer, faithful reader, is that I have long been puzzled and bothered about the fantastic and ultra-rare Rosen mechanical "Pops" boxes you can find on pages 116-118. For what purpose were these sold? Because of their rarity and the number of suckers each could hold, I thought they must have been retail countertop displays. However, I suspect now, thanks to this Rosen Valentine Pops box, that reasonable conclusion is wrong.
Some good friends acquired this box. Like virtually all of the Pops boxes I have seen, the graphics are interesting and the mechanical feature fun. One spins the dial at top and possible names of your Valentine appear in the small space at the end of one of the boy's hands. (One of the dog's eyes change, too.) While spinning, instead of the constellation of old-timey names like Ethel, there is one blank space. Now, look at the photo taken of the bottom of the box. You can see that it suggests, "If your pal's name does not appear on Dial, you can print the name in blank space." This instruction would not appear if the Valentine Pops box was meant to be a retail countertop display. Based on this, I think all similarly constructed Rosen mechanical boxes were meant to be sold to the end-consumer, not to be used as a retail countertop display.
Unfortunately, this find sheds little light on when these boxes were produced. I am still assigning a production date of the mid-1930s to the earliest boxes.