Sunday, September 20, 2009

How Did You Start Collecting Buttons?

Do you remember how you came to collect buttons? Was it a gradual thing or a sudden passion? For me, it was gradual.  I can remember being a child and stringing together the buttons in my mom's button box, pausing to look at the sparkly (rhinestone) ones.  As an adult I saw a box of buttons at an auction and it sparked that old memory. On a whim, I bought them.  Bringing them home, I happily dumped them out and began examining them.  Part of the fun of button collecting is that feeling of a "treasure hunt".  Each box or jar of buttons just might have the "treasure" you're looking for!  Oh, it might not be a rare George Washington inaugural button worth thousands, but it may be just perfect for your collection.  That single box soon led to more and more buttons.  Those found online, at auctions and in dusty little antique shops.  You never know where they'll turn up.

As my button collection grew, I soon turned to internet sources and books to help me learn to identify my buttons.  Then there was the day I learned about button jewelry.  I was well and truly hooked.  Now, not only could I collect, I could create wearable art of vintage buttons! 

Most collectors I know have personal favorites in button styles.  If I'm hunting for buttons to make jewelry, I'm looking for mostly metal or bakelite.  If it's for my own personal collection then it would have to be metal, Victorian black glass, or celluloids.  I'm particularly fond of celluloid carved wafers and luckily for me, that's one area of button collecting where prices are still low.

So, how'd you start collecting and what's your personal favorite style to collect?


  1. I have always had a lot of buttons around. Cans and boxes full, actually. But I never did anything much with them - except keep them excessively well-organized. Then one day my sister saw them and said, "you know people collect those things.", and I thought, "you're kidding?" Suddenly my little obsession became a bigger obsession. Research in books, on the internet, and talking with other button lovers. Constantly waving some button or other in the face of my long-suffering husband and saying, "Do you KNOW what this IS? It's a china IGLOO! and I found it!!" The excitement of discovery. The history, craftsmanship, the beauty of these little treasures.

  2. Ooh, button jewelry sounds cool. My mom has quite the button obsession and she's recently begun dragging me in.