Button Collecting

I bet you didn’t know that buttons were collectibles. We use them every day on sweaters, pants, shirts, etc. Buttons stashed away in drawers, sewing kits, purses, jars. They are everywhere. They come in all styles: plain, simple buttons to the other end of the spectrum, a work of art. They are a popular collectible.

During the 17th and 18th Century, most buttons were worn by men. Starting in the 18th century, buttons were becoming larger and more elaborate. New techniques for production came about and new synthetic materials were developed and soon buttons were by women and everyone.

Black jet buttons became popular when Queen Victoria wore them to mourn the death of her husband Albert. It was very expensive, and so black glass was used so the rest of the population could take part in the new fashion statement. Black glass buttons are still very common.

Almost anything you can imagine has been pictured on a button. Animals and plants are extremely popular over time. Although most are stamped or engraved, some buttons have very detailed miniature paintings on them. If you come across something like that, you know you have found something valuable and most likely an antique. You will also find buttons that have a metal back and a dome shaped glass or plastic cap. Under the dome you might find dried plant or animal material to make up some sort of natural looking scene. Others have insects under the dome. If you find one in good condition – you don’t need the lottery because those buttons go for hundreds and hundreds of dollars.

Buildings, bridges and monuments were also popular collector buttons. Movie stars, political candidates, fair tale characters and other famous people are very popular. One of the most famous collector buttons were the ones created for George Washington’s inauguration as 1st President of the United States.

When you think of uniforms you think of the military. But other departments have them as well. The Fire Department and Police department have uniforms. Uniform buttons are quite popular to collect. Airlines and even schools have uniforms with buttons. If you find one with the family’s coat of arms – that is always a favorite.

Vintage dresses often have buttons that interest button collectors. I had the pleasure of checking out the dresses and their beautiful buttons as I was helping guests in and out of their limo service in Miami Beach at a Vintage prom fundraising event. If you are a button collector make sure you stop by a vintage store to check out the buttons on dresses, sweaters, jackets and more.

Buttons are fun to collect for many reasons. One of the many reasons is that they are typically priced lower than many other collectibles. They range from a few cents to some over $800. If you search the internet, you will find collectible buttons priced anywhere from a couple of dollars to maybe $30.

If you would like to look into a club check out the National Button Society at this link nationalbuttonsociety.org/Home.html