I’ve always thought that to be a good dealer, you don’’t just sell your merchandise, you know your product and help the customer learn about what they are purchasing.
To that end I hope this workshop will further that interest.
I invite you to ask questions and learn to date buttons as to their era, material and value. They have very finely painted designs with gold outlining.
Along the way it is my hope to save valuable buttons from being used for craft projects and to encourage others in the collecting of buttons. Realistic: Buttons In the "shape" of the object they represent. Steel: Material was used extensively on 19th century buttons.
Start sifting through the button boxes of the past and you may find some treasures worth saving or selling. Uniform Buttons: These can include Military and Non Military.Grandma's buttons may be dusty and smelly but washing them is not always an option, if anything polish them with a non abrasive cloth. Black glass imitates it but is much heavier and glossier. There are many types from Transportation to Scouting. Victorian: A term which could loosely apply to buttons made from 1850 to 1900 Bakelite does not have a huge variety of shanks.Metal buttons, buttons with cardboard in them, also some wood and fabric buttons will not take kindly to the water. Vegetable Ivory: A natural material from the nut of the Tagua or corozo palm. There are drilled sew thrus, drilled self-shanks and metal loop shanks "Bakelite" is one of the most mis-used keywords in online Button sales.Sort the buttons by material and store them in breathable (not airtight) containers. It seems everyone would love their buttons to be of this material, even though it is primarily the realistic bakelite buttons that have the value. An alternative is to make a small amount of paste out of comet or any cleaning powder.Metal and some older plastics, particuarly celluloid, do not mix well. Dampen a white cloth ..some paste.polish in an unobtrusive spot on the button.Chemical reactions will disintegrate the plastic buttons and turn the metal buttons green. This may be sued in relation to Silver buttons Horn: material from the hoof and horns of animals. If the color comes off yellow then you have bakelite.Set aside the more interesting finds from the old boxes and then take the time to learn more about them. The Chemical residue of the button is on the surface.There are some wonderful books available to help with your research. I do not suggest cleaners with chemicals like 409 or scrubbing bubbles.It is often quite useful to have some terms handy when you are researching, sorting or conversing about your buttons with dealers or other collectors. Then used for a multitude of buttons in molded, carved and sheet designs. Author Peggy Ann Osborne has done research for an upcoming book on plastics and after much discussion with chemical researchers and laboratory technicians she has concluded that one can't gage the long term effects introducing such a chemical as that in scrubbing bubbles could have on your buttons.This list is a general compilation of many types of buttons most often referred to. Finely painted porcelain buttons of Japanese origin. Bakelite: A synthetic phenolic, thermoset plastic invented between 19 Black glass. Most all black glass buttons are glass and not 'Jet'. They give off a carbolic acid or mothball smell (camphor) and the shanks are distinctive. This research also brought to light that the deterioration of celluloidbuttons may be because of a chemical in the glue used to attach the shanks.Many faceted designs are found and are quite common. One may have also seen larger items of this material. Calico: China buttons with tiny decorative transfer patterns. Cameo: Broadly used by collectors to include buttons with a cut or molded raised design. Ceramic: can include Pottery, jasperware, porcelain and Satsuma. Carved laquer combined materials buttons from China. Some types of enamel are Basse-taille, Champleve, cloisonne and emaux peints. The crazing and crumbling of old celluloid buttons usually begins in the shank area. Buttons with a strong odor of mothballs and sticky to touch are also suspect.