Birmingham & Black Country

Valentines letter from 1818 sells for £1,300

Letter Image copyright Mary Evans Picture Library
Image caption The letter features hearts, flowers, Cupid and lovebirds

A 202-year-old Valentine's letter which is thought to have "worked its magic" to bring a couple together has been sold at auction.

The rare hand-painted Georgian-era letter, featuring hearts, flowers, Cupid and lovebirds, fetched £1,300.

An amateur historian found a marriage between a couple matching the names and details of the sender and recipient.

Birmingham stationer and bookbinder Edmundus Burn married Lydia Shafe a year later and they had five children.

The missive, posted on 14 February 1818 to a Miss L Shafe of White Row, Spitalfields, east London, has been sold at Hansons auctioneers in Etwall, Derbyshire, to an international internet buyer.

On reading the story of how the letter, titled An Affectionate Pledge of Unfeigned Attachment, was coming up for auction, amateur historian Brenda Piper set about finding out more.

"When I saw there was a name and address in an area of London I knew well, I couldn't resist seeing if I could find her," she said.

"I looked for the marriage of Miss L Shafe and found Miss Lydia Shafe, who married Edmundus Burn at St Leonard's Church, Shoreditch, on December 28, 1819."

They went on to live in Brighton.

An Affectionate Pledge of Unfeigned Attachment

From him who upon the return of another Valentine's Day, looks forward with pleasure to the time when his hopes may be realised.

And at the altar of Hymen [Greek god of marriage] he shall receive the hand accompanied with the heart of her for whom he feels - not a wild and romantic love, which abates after a short acquaintance - but an affection which time increases rather than diminishes.

Jim Spencer, an expert at Hansons auctioneers said there was "a very good chance his message worked its magic".

However, he said "admitting you don't feel a wild, romantic love" may have been "a dangerous move.".

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