Collectible Buttons

Hello, and thanks for looking at my vintage collectible button shopping site.
If you’re new to this site, please read quickly through the next couple of paragraphs and continue on down to the “good stuff” which includes some information on button collecting, along with dates and places for upcoming button shows.

I must apologize to each of you who’ve tried to find some newly listed button treasures. Even though my reputation for procrastination precedes this apology, this time there’s a REAL reason. Our home, (along with THOUSANDS in our beautiful city) was flooded in June when the Souri?>p>s River rose 5 feet higher than the 100-year flood stage. Even though we had less than 36 hours notice, we did get important stuff out: BUTTONS, legal papers, favorite furniture and some clothes. (Notice I mentioned buttons first ?!)

Now, I’ve been going through my collection yet again, finding more buttons with which I think (sob) I can part and ask you to bookmark my site for future reference. We have a long fall and winter ahead of us during which we won’t be enjoying our gorgeous winter scenery, including deer, birds and snow-drifts {:-D so I’ll be working on buttons while hubby watches sports on Direct TV !

Meanwhile the “store” is open; I have mailing materials at hand. I package buttons in small boxes within a padded envelope. U.S. Shipping is $2.00 for any size order; insurance extra and recommended. If you see a button or two you might be interested in, you may contact me by email at [email protected] If you’re ordering, please indicate the page(s) to which you’re referring and indicate button number and price. (I keep the buttons on cards by type which correspond with the pages on this site.) If you’re looking for a particular type of collectible vintage and/or antique button, don’t hesitate to email me; I might be able to help; I have types of buttons other than those shown. (I also have a few of the modern Czech glass buttons and can direct you to someone who imports them.)

Brief history of Collectible Buttons
Interestingly, it appears that the origin of buttons is rather obscure because of the lack of historical, written documentation. Buttons of a sort were used in Egypt at least 4,000 year ago and it’s been learned that Chinese Mandarins used buttons to identify their castes and status around 2,000. The earliest documentation of buttons were ornamental, found in a grave of a Bulgarian princess about 600 BC. It has been noted that loose flowing garments worn by the ancient Egyptians, Chinese and others were secured by clasps, buckles, sashes, etc.

Many of the buttons collectors seek are those having been used as decoration on garments worn by royalty. Additionally, people of status wore beautiful buttons as trim. There have been buttons found which tell a story of travels, each button having been hand wrought by an artist, depicting various scenes.

Button Collecting, Up Close and Personal
The National Button Society, an organization for collectors, formed in 1938. The NBS consists of members from all over the world, many of whom are dealers who come to the National Button Society Annual Show each year, open to the public, which was held this year in Michigan. In 2012 we’ll be meeting in Portland, Oregon ! Details can be found at the National Button Society WEB SITE where you can learn how to join NBS as well as find links to state societies, and details for upcoming button shows at Massachusetts, New Jersey, Washington, Ohio, New Hampshire, Michigan, WERBA (Western Region) Pennsylvania, and Massachusetts again.. AND the FLORIDA show in January, this year in Saint Pete Beach ! ! {:-D

Show and Tell
Collecting buttons became one of my passions in 1990, and perhaps you’d like to see some of the finds I’ve made; I call these buttons SHOW and TELL, but NOT to SELL. These buttons will give you an idea of how members of the National Button Society display our collectibles.

The bright colors of bakelite buttons caught my fancy early on, as well as did of various materials and subject matter.

Eventually I concentrated on buttons depicting heads of men, women and children; but that concentration didn’t last long. I soon found it difficult to concentrate on one particular topic, and learned that I couldn’t buy and collect every type of button. hobby. My mom collected elephant “knick-knacks”, so I bought a few elephant buttons for her. Soon I couldn’t help myself, so I began collecting elephant BUTTONS for myself.

Another thing I learned while persuing the hobby of button collecting is that glass and celluloid are probably the most plentiful of antique and vintage buttons. Like most who have found this wonderful hobby I try to sell and/or trade duplicate buttons as well as some I’ve decided to not collect. Once you visit the Wild site mentioned above, you’ll see some I’ve decided to sell or trade; many of us button collectors sell some buttons to buy more.

For FUN with celluloid buttons, I did THIS several years ago. My sister made one also, using bakelite and other plastics, and found it way to heavy, so ended up taking most buttons off the purse.
Another fun thing to do is a Button Bouquet with colorful buttons. Most serious button collectors study, mount according to NBS classification and compete at Button Shows. I don’t compete any longer, but still enjoy my correctly mounted buttons AND the fun stuff. I also buy more buttons, provided I sell some, of course.

Classifying Collectible Buttons
Moonglow buttons have been very popular in the collecting world. Many different colors, surface treatment and shapes as well as some pictorials can be found. I’m not sure how the term “moonglow” came to be, but there is a way to determine the difference between an “ordinary” glass button and a moonglow button. There is a discernable, though in many instances thin, layer of clear glass over the top of the button. By holding the button by the shank and shining a pen-lite against the edge of the top, you can see the thin layer of clear glass.

It’s difficult to explain here where I’m trying to give an idea of how we display and/or compete; once you attend a button show, you’ll see GORGEOUS, buttons of all materials and topics, properly mounted for both competition and preservation. This example shows black glass moonglows which have their own category as opposed to moonglows of all other colors. The base of these buttons is black, the tops may be almost any color and/or combination thereof.

Studio Buttons
Artists of varied media have found that button collectors admire their work and have pleased us enormously by sharing their talent in the form of gorgeous hand-crafted buttons. These buttons are strictly for “show and tell” as I would never consider selling them. However, these artists do sell their art to anyone interested.