One Man's Vintage Valentine Collection

Views of Valentine's Days past through the camera lens



Image courtesy of Thom Hindle

Thom Hindle is a collector of photographica —which is anything and everything related to photography — and he’s been collecting it for more than 40 years.

A professional photographer himself (you might have seen him roaming the streets of Dover with a camera in each hand) and photo historian (he has an extensive collection of original glass plate negatives), Hindle over the years has built an impressive collection of valentines, mostly vintage, that have a camera pictured on them.

Because of his passion for photographica, people would send him birthday cards showing a camera, and one day he was given a vintage valentine with a camera. That started a whole new venture for him — collecting “camera valentines.” Now he has more than 150 of them.

But Hindle says it’s getting harder to find early valentines in good condition: “They haven’t survived. Some of the early turn-of-the-century cards are very ornate and delicate, designed to fold open or pop up. Some are mechanical, allowing parts to move, like arms or eyes.”

For a serious collector like Hindle, the challenge is finding a valentine that’s truly unique and different. “Unfortunately, those early cards can be quite valuable,” he says. Some of the early ones in his collection would cost more than $100 to replace. But, for him, the value isn’t what’s important. “We don't do it so much for the value; it’s the fun of collecting and finding one that you haven’t seen before,” he says.

Of all the different types of valentines he has, Hindle says, “It’s really hard to pick a favorite. There are so many that are just really unique.”

In addition to his collecting, Hindle is past president of Dover's historical society and the curator of the Woodman Institute Museum. He has also published a collection of stark images from the past in his hometown of Dover.


Preserving History

Valentines aren't Thom Hindle's only passion. He also has a collection of more than 100 thousand original glass plate negatives that photographers produced from the mid-1800s to around the turn of the century. They represent the work of 35 New England photographers, many of them from New Hampshire.

His collecting began in the late 1960s when he was offered some that had been stored in a Dover attic. He says, "I didn't know what I was going to do with them, but I didn't want to see them destroyed."

What he did was create his Images of the Past Gallery in Dover, where he offers  framed prints of historic photographs, either hand-colored or sepia-toned, reproduced from his extensive collection of glass plate negatives.

Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleEdit ModuleShow Tags

Calendar

Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags

Popular Articles

  1. Winter Fun on the Lakes
    Our iconic summer destinations — the Lakes Region and Lake Winnipesaukee in particular —...
  2. Where to Find Poutine in NH
    We're not just talking about traditional poutine. Our intrepid Cuisine Editor went on the hunt...
  3. More and more seniors are going mobile
    You can take it with you after all, just as long as your recreational vehicle is your house
  4. The Man Who Mapped NH's White Mountains
    Bradford Washburn — renowned explorer, pioneering cartographer and mountain photographer —...
  5. How To Organize and Get Rid of Clutter
    The new year is a great time to tackle the clutter in your home. Here are some easy (and thrifty)...
  6. Zach Harvey the Man Behind the Bitcoin ATM
    Manchester, NH's Zach Harvey, along with his brother Josh, created the company Lamassu, which...
  7. Skiing, Cooking and Winter Fun in the White Mountains
    Good food and good skiing — what better combination for a wintry weekend in the White Mountains?
Edit Module
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags