I was desperately looking for some other thing the other night and came across this tin of old buttons.   It had been a decade since I put them up after sorting things from my aunt’s estate.  She had been a pack rat and there’s all kinds of her bits and pieces that I, too, have hung on to.  Aunt Irma was born into an immigrant family and grew up in the depression when many things were recycled.  Only they didn’t call it recycling then; I think it was probably just called “thrift”.  I can just picture her dutifully cutting off buttons from clothing about to be discarded or perhaps cut down and turned into something else.

Here are some of my favorites from the tin.

This matched set had been saved in a glass medicine bottle.  How long has it been since your pharmacy dispensed pills in glass bottles?

These pretty glass ones have a metal fastener on the back.

I wonder why there were only pairs of some of these ceramic ones.

There were two sets of metal buttons.

These are so teeny I don’t even have a needle for them.

I’m guessing that these early plastic ones are from the 1930’s or 1940’s.

And some appear to be a natural substance such as shell.

I loved the colors and designs of these.

This pretty little set is my favorite – a simple design on white and even the fastener is pretty.

Here’s some miscellaneous ones with interesting designs.  I can’t make out what the character is on the largest button.  Can you?  Actually the more I look at him the more he disturbs me!

I wouldn’t consider myself a button collector.  I just happened to get this group thanks to Aunt Irma.  But…. now that I’ve enjoyed going through them I DO think I’ll pay more attention to buttons at antique clothing exhibits or even at the odd estate sale or thrift store!


Interested in antique buttons?  We found this great book on their history and tips on how to collect them!


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One Response to Antique Buttons

  1. What a great post! I have my mother’s button tin! She did a lot of sewing (as I do now) and as kids we always dumped out the tin and looked at the buttons. Don’t tell my husband but I love to look on Ebay for tins of buttons.

    Recently I remodeled an old and wonderful wool military jacket for my son and went all over to find buttons. Found some great vintage from an Etsy person in Finland!

    Buttons are history!

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