A visit to the National Button Society Diamond Jubilee

Posted by Jane Cruz
on Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Last Friday, Julia, Connie, and I attended the National Button Society’s Diamond Jubilee in Appleton, Wisconsin. It was an eye-opening and totally overwhelming experience. We saw thousands and thousands of buttons ranging in price from $.50 to $1,600! And the variety? Just pick a subject matter, and you can find a button depicting it.

Here is a sample of the train buttons we found.
When we arrived at the marketplace, the first buttons I spotted were railroad buttons. Julia wondered aloud whether there was a button from a Pennsylvania railroad from the 1950s. The seller was Johhny-on-the-spot and led her to a table loaded with books about buttons, where he explained that you can find that specific information in one of the massive tomes provided by the NBS. While she was otherwise occupied, I spied a tray of clasps and buckles, and my attention was riveted on this fantastic dog clasp. I don't know about you, but I can think of several ways to incorporate these little guys into my beadwork.
This fabulous dog-head clasp really caught my attention. I can just imagine using it in my beadwork!

As we wound our way up and down the aisles of vendors, we saw buttons made of metal, bone, wood, nuts, seeds, plastic, glass, antler, leather, Bakelite, shell, porcelain, clay, fabric, fossils, and I'm sure other materials I could not identify. I quickly realized how little I actually know about buttons and button collecting. I was amazed that I could purchase Victorian black glass button that were nearly 100 years old for $3 each! Some of them still had little bits of thread attached!

This little sewing machine button has moveable parts!

I love the detail in this etched button.

My niece would love this leather saxaphone button!

This was my favorite. I would wear this button every day, if I had it.
Overall, the vendors were extremely friendly, willing to impart their knowledge, and interested in getting others involved in button collecting. If you've never been to a button show, I highly recommend it!


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