Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Collecting Antique Buttons - How It All Started

My journey into button collecting began 20 years ago. My husband and I were living in Bucks County, PA. We had regular 9-5 jobs, but because of the area we were in, we just loved to go auctioning and antiquing. We quickly acquired lots more Stuff than we could ever use – those box lots at auctions are very addicting, and so began selling collectables at the antique flea markets on the weekends.

A family friend needed some help, and asked us if we would be interested in selling antique buttons. His mother was a button collector and he had a large quantity of buttons to sell. Neither of us knew that buttons were even collectable. Well, actually, that’s not true. My husband knew that military buttons were collectable because he was a civil war reenactor with his father, when he was a boy. But since there were no military buttons in this group, neither of us paid much attention to what was in the box. We purchased a big pizza box full of loose buttons from him and the next day we were off to the antique market.

Vaguely aware that a price guide for buttons existed (but the book was much more expensive than the box of buttons we purchased), we decided to forgo the research and put the buttons out on the table for sale. We priced them at $1, .50, and .25, basically based on size. We were swarmed with customers in no time, and lots of questions – do you have more at home, will you bring more tomorrow, do you want to sell the whole box? Fully aware that it is never that easy to sell anything unless you are selling it way too cheaply, we shut the box (still half full) and shoved it back in the car.

I spent the next couple of weeks sorting through what was left of the box, becoming more intrigued every minute. I soon had two piles on my desk – one pile of buttons to sell (it was a pitifully small pile) and one to keep. I was hooked!!!!

That’s where the journey began. Now my husband and I are both avid collectors. I love the pretty buttons; he collects uniform buttons of all types, steamship, railroad, military, and political. I am currently the President of the National Button Society, have amassed a substantial collection of my own, and am blessed by being able to make my living selling something that I love – buttons. And I am left wondering what wonderful treasures I sold that very first day.

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