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Rare and Unusual Clothing Buttons of the 19th and 20th Centuries

Updated: Jul 28, 2021

This journey began as a 10-year-old, probably even sooner. Dragged through flea markets and antique shops the adventure was really not for me, until one day when my father handed me a $20 dollar bill and well, the rest is history. That purchase was a large, square New York State Tin filled with Victorian picture buttons and an 18Kt gold thimble. As I proudly carried my purchase down the aisle, a dealer offered me the price that I paid for the entire collection, for just one button. I declined and knew that this next chapter was going to lead to something big. 38 years later, here we are.

Buttons were plentiful, they were useful, they were decorative and some were extraordinary. The detail that went into manufacturing and handwork along with materials, help to create wonders. Images and designs elevated the ordinary into brilliant fashion statements that expressed creativity and showed off artistry and place in society. Hand blown acorns with brass loopbacks, silver stylized Art Deco Frogs, tiny glass jewels with blown heart centers worn on gentleman’s waistcoats, Large enameled Peacock Feathers on French Art Deco Coats, and 18kt gold and enamel buttons that were on the most spectacular Italian gowns of the 19thc were just a few examples that highlight the vast range of what was and what I chose to share from my collection. I hope it inspires each of you to look at antique buttons in a whole new way.

Almost 40 years later, I am as active as I have ever been. Acquiring some of the best examples that I have ever seen. The knowledge that is shared is never-ending and while many of the button experts and pioneers have passed, there is still energy on a national level, that certainly continues to thrive.

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