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Fashion Buttons

Fashion buttons is a general term for non-uniform buttons used on garments. In 1918 the U.S. Government made an extensive survey of the international button market, which listed buttons made of vegetable ivory, metal, glass, galalith, silk, linen, cotton-covered crochet, lead, snap fasteners, glass, enamel, rubber, buckhorn, wood, horn, bone, leather, paper, pressed cardboard, mother-of-pearl, celluloid, porcelain, composition, tin, zinc, xylonite, stone, cloth-covered wooden forms, and papier-mâché. Vegetable ivory was said to be the most popular for suits and shirts, and papier-maché far and away the commonest sort of shoe button. Today, hard plastic, seashell, metals, and wood are the most common materials used in button-making; the other materials may be used only in premium or antique apparel, or found in collections.

In this category we offer vintage and antique fashion buttons of glass, shell, Bakelite, celluloid, and other composition, non-uniform types of buttons for sale.

Button types and parts

  • Sew-through buttons: buttons with buttons that pass through the front of the button.
  • Shank buttons: have a small ring, bar, or turret with a hole called the shank protruding from the back of the button, through which it is attached to the garment
  • Covered buttons: fabric-covered forms with a separate back piece that secures the fabric over the base.
  • Worked buttons: cloth buttons created by embroidering or crocheting tight stitches over a knob or ring called a form.
  • Mandarin buttons: sometimes called frogs, are knobs made of intricately knotted strings found on Chinese dresses.
  • Backmark: manufacturers mark on the back of a button

Some Glass and Porcelain Button Types

  • Jet Glass: A black glass or sometimes anthracite coal button that had considerable populatity on mourning garments during the late 19th and early 20th century.
  • Luster: Glass with an iridescent or metal sheen created by the application of special chemical during manufacture.
  • Molded: Fancy buttons of the late 19th century were molded clear with paint or transfer designs applied to the back giving them the appearance of a small paperweight.
  • Cut: Buttons with hand faceted or cut designs
  • Calico: Glass or porcelain buttons with painted designs
BU5144 Antique Rubber Button marked GOODYEAR'S P=T. 1851 N. R. Co.

Antique Rubber Button marked GOODYEAR'S P=T. 1851 N. R. Co.

This is an early rubber button, probably dating to before the Civil War. It is 11/16 inch in diameter, and is a cuff or vest size, The back is marked...
$3.99

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BU5145 Enameled brass and gold gilt fashion button roses

Enameled brass and gold gilt fashion button roses

This antique enameled brass button has a soldered shank and enameled with two little pink roses. The brass has gold gilt (covered thinly with gold...
$3.99

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BU5146 Three antique bone buttons, hand made

Three antique bone buttons, hand made

These three antique bone buttons, date from the 19th century. They are hand made and primitive. The pictures show each side.
$3.99

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BU5106 Other Vintage Pressed Hard plastic buttons, 1 inch tan

Vintage Pressed Hard plastic buttons, 1 inch tan

Item No.: BU5106 Description: Button(s): Vintage Pressed Hard plastic buttons Age: 40s or 50s Size: 1 inch Condition: Excellent, no problems, brass...
$3.99

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BU5111 5 Vintage Carved clear lucite buttons

5 Vintage Carved clear lucite buttons

Item No.: BU5111 Description: Button(s): Carved clear lucite buttons Age: 40s Size: 1 inch Condition: very Good, wear and light scuffs, no damage...
$4.99

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BU5109 Other 8 Sporrongs Sweeden Buttons, Crowned Phoenix

8 Sporrongs Sweeden Buttons, Crowned Phoenix

Item No.: BU5109 Description: Button(s): Sporrongs Sweeden Buttons, crowned Phoenix, Lot of 8 Age: 1930s? Size: 3 large (3/4 in) 5 small (9/16 in)...
$4.99

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BU5119 Six Antique metal fashion buttons - Tree branch

Six Antique metal fashion buttons - Tree branch

These 6 metal buttons have the same general design and manufacture, but 4 are 1/2 inch in diameter, and 2 are just over 1/2 inch and have a slightly...
$5.99

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