Written by Jean-Paul Michael


Everyone has their own favourite greeting card that they have received from a loved one over the years and oftentimes it has the Hallmark Cards stamp on the back. Whether it's one of your birthday cards, thank you cards or Christmas cards, or one given to you for your anniversary or wedding, have a look on the back and see if it's one of Hallmark's. Hallmark has gone from strength to strength over the years, since being formed all the way back in 1910, and is still an infamous household name with a longevity in the greeting card business that is a hard act to follow and has few comparisons. 

We recently published an article entitled, 'The 10 Coolest Greeting Cards You Can Buy on Amazon', and even just there, three of the ten amazing cards we selected are ones that have been published by Hallmark themselves. 

From Valentine's Day to Birthday Wishes - Hallmark The Early Days

More than a century ago, 18-year-old entrepreneur Joyce Clyde Hall sold picture postcards in Kansas City to make a living and after being joined by his brother Rollie, Hall Brothers was created. Several years later, deeply in debt after their inventory was destroyed in a fire, Joyce and Rollie floated a loan and bought an engraving firm, which was their first step to creating their very first Hallmark card designs. From 1915, they began to offer high-quality Christmas and Valentine's Day cards that could be mailed in envelopes, by 1917 they had invented modern gift wrap - and the rest is history. 

The Cards...

While Hallmark has produced countless fantastic designs over time, we found ten of the most iconic ones to share with our readers, from a 1920 Valentines's Day greeting to a modern-day Snoopy card.

Hallmark watercolour pansies

1. Hallmark's Pansy Card debuted in 1939, has been labelled as 'the best-selling greeting card in history' and is still going strong today. It was first used for a Mother's Day card but has been a 'thinking of you' card since ever since 1941. While the original watercolour version was particularly pretty, today's laser-cut version features an embossed design and foil accents, and the colours are vibrant and striking.

Little Bo Peep
2. In the 1940s, Hallmark created the Land of Make Believe series of doll cards for children, with each one featuring a feather and a sequin. The cards stand up, as you would expect from a normal greeting card, but were often displayed in albums instead. This Little Bo Peep card (number one in the series) is a wonderful addition, with the back of the card showing the entire back of the character and the inside including an extract from the story. If Hallmark ever decides to reissue this series, I'm sure they would be a big hit with both children and adults alike.

sweet valentines day
3. This sweet card was produced by Hallmark in 1930, when there were only a few hundred Valentine’s Day designs available. These days, Hallmark has many, many more on sale around the world, and with this holiday being a lucrative business, it's not too surprising that people often say that 'Valentine's is a holiday made up by Hallmark'! The company says they can't take credit for creating holidays, however, and while it is frequently said that Valentine's is overly commercial, it's lovely cards like this that show that it's all about showing your loved one that you are thinking of them.

parking permitted valentines
4. Another vintage Valentine's card we found is this beauty from the 1920s, featuring a cute and coy girl. Its simple albeit clever message inviting the recipient to take a seat and colourful illustration attracted me to add it to this list and no doubt attracted many men to buy it for their lady friends way back when too.

I like you best
5. The final Valentine's card in this list, from the 1930s, has this adorable image on the cover of a little boy with his arm around a little girl and a loving message, which together may well bring a lump to your throat. It's unpretentious and frill-free and just overall super-cute, which is why it made this list. As Hallmark stated, "Even with patched pants, love prevailed in this Depression-days Valentine".

RCMP with feathers card
6. With Northern Cards being a Canadian company, I was delighted to see this Royal Canadian Mountie card that also featured in Hallmark's Land of Make Believe series of doll cards. This colourful card, number 22 in the series, features a cute Mountie who is suitably dressed for catching criminals in the snow! As the inside reads, 'John's a little Mountie, so of course you probably know his home is up in Canada, where there is lots of snow'. On the back of the detailed card, the sack even shows the letters RCMP.

Santa 1920 Classic
7. You may know that Hallmark also has its own range of ecards, where you can send animated greetings online. On the Time Machine page, their range of retro and vintage designs includes a recreation of this classic old festive card of theirs, 'A Christmas Remembrance', which is from the 1920s. The jolly Santa and traditional additions to the card like holly and snow make it a timeless design that will have been loved by many in years gone by.

flying witch

8. This gorgeous 1930s Halloween offering, 'Witch You', is another of Hallmark's old designs that has been transformed into a modern ecard on the Time Machine page. The inside continues with another pun - 'That anyone from ghost to ghost has almost ever seen!' I love the original card's simple design, vivid orange colour and sweet illustration; it's just spooktacular!

Snoopy on his dog house

9. Last but by no means least is the one and only Snoopy, one of the infamous Peanuts characters. The characters are all licensed to appear on Hallmark cards and Hallmark Cards stores sell Peanuts merchandise. This card is an iconic classic, with Snoopy the lovable pet beagle on top of his dog house, where he often sleeps. He's an instantly recognizable character the world over, loved by many still after all these years, and perfect for this article about iconic Hallmark cards. 

Author Bio

Jean-Paul Michael has spent his entire adult life in the greeting card industry. He co-founded Northern Cards when he was 18 years old and over the last 3 decades, he has held many varying positions in the company. Today, he is proud to be Northern Cards' Publisher and a lifelong greeting card geek.

Jean-Paul Michael painting

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