Saturday, April 17, 2010

I Saved The Best For Last!

Was I kidding?

010(2)When I saw this card, toward the bottom of the stack of cards, I literally gasped.  When people tell me they have buttons to share with me, this is the last thing I expect to see.


The first thing that caught my eye was this incredible large Satsuma.  This button was made in the Satsuma province of Japan in the late 1800’s to early 1900’s.  The material is a type of porcelain with a distinctive shank style and decorative style. (This is a very interesting subject.  I may have to write about these buttons in my Newsletter!)  This button is worth at least $150.00 on the open market.

 010(2) (4)  When I snapped these photos, I was in a bit of a hurry and so I did not think to document or even look very closely at these buttons.  I see at least one other small Satsuma (3rd button down on the left) and the top right button is a flat steel button with a yellow metal embellishment (hand holding flowers).  I think I will have to meet up with Barbara again and look this card over more carefully.  These were obviously her relatives’ “deluxe” buttons!

010(2) (3)

The buttons at the bottom of the card show at 2 enamel buttons (far left and right).  They are beautifully painted and show no wear at all!  The center button features a fan design on a “Japanned” brass button.  I believe there is a beaded button and several mirror backs, but I am only surmising.

 010(2) (2)

The buttons with the photographs are called Ferrotypes, or Tintypes, and were popular and inexpensive to purchase in the late 19th century.  The smaller Tintype button may have been a Civil War soldier’s mother or sweetheart and could have been worn on his uniform.  The button in the center has an unusual border for the period and I am thinking that this looks a lot like President U.S. Grant.  If this is the case, this may have been made as a campaign type button and mass produced, but I would have to do more research to be sure.  One thing is certain: it is a fabulous button!  010(2) (5)

The buttons to the left are Indian silver buttons.  The button to the right shows a bird with cut steel embellishment on a metal button.  Next to this is a mountain scene carved onto a material that was then set into a metal frame.  I will not even hazard a guess as to what this material is without closer inspection.

As you can see, Barbara is the custodian for a phenomenal collection of 18th, 19th and 20th century buttons.  We can learn so much about our past from these miniature works of art.  They certainly have given me cause to do some more research and learn more about some of these buttons.  Keep an eye on my Newsletter and this blog for the results of my educational pursuits!

Until then, Button Up!


  1. Wow--I see why my friend in Illinois was so excited to go to a button show. Great find, and very interesting.