You can’t always trust the information in old books and on old websites about antiques, particularly everyday items used in the latter part of the 1800s but not expensive or large enough to be of serious interest to collectors until the 1900s.
A double octagonal frame filled with a design made of seashells is still known as a “sailor’s valentine.” In the 1950s, research said that they were made by sailors on long trips. They made the frames and collected the shells that were artistically placed on a cotton batten background, then covered the work with a piece of glass to hold the shells in place. There were often words: “Love me,” “Home again,” “Home sweet home” or “A gift from Barbados.”
In 1961, a writer for Antiques Magazine proved that the valentines were made by women in Barbados to sell in a gift shop. A clipping, found when repairing an antique valentine, mentioned the store. The shells were from the West Indies, the wood was Spanish cedar or mahogany and hide glue was used. Further research found a mention of the shells and the work of the Barbados women in a 1750 source. A recent marine auction by Eldred’s sold this sailor’s “Love Me” valentine for $3,120. There are very similar modern ones being made, also in octagonal cases.
ers.org) and the International Society of Appraisers (isa-appraisers.org). They have lists of appraisers by specialty and location. You’ll have to pay for an appraisal, so be sure to find out the cost. Tell the appraiser what kind of appraisal you want, selling price or replacement value for insurance purposes. Any auction house that has had art pottery sales will also be able to give you an idea of value, and so can appraisers at some antiques stores.