Button Collecting: The Whole World in Miniature (Discover Vintage America)

A delightful antique button - steel cup with cut steels and pearl background

Leigh Elmore from “Discover Vintage America” visited the National Button Society Convention in Springfield, Missouri last month and came away convinced that button collecting is a spectacular hobby.

From her article:

When someone offers up the statement “I’m a button collector,” the image emerges of plastic shirt buttons typically used in the apparel industry. But buttons are so much more – cultural bellwethers of trends, art styles and societal perceptions. Name a material, any material, and it has been used in button production. How about political statements, organizational affiliation, employer identification, cosmic links, religious overtures? How about flowers, plants, animal life, hobbies, Eros, classical renditions? These subjects and nearly everything imaginable have been represented on clothing buttons.

We couldn’t have said it better ourselves!

Who gets attracted to button collecting? People who sew, quilt and knit. People who enjoy research and learning. People who enjoy the hunt for that special button to complete a tray and who can afford a button, which can cost as little as $1.00 on eBay, at a button show, or in your local fabric store. In the article, Millicent Safro, owner of Tender Buttons, perhaps the most famous button store in the world,  is quoted as saying:

At first it was an interesting odd thing to do,” she said. “But as I dug into the history I wanted to learn about the things that we had. Collectors seek out everything about a button from the maker, and the materials which are endless. It’s a constant act of scholarship,” she said.

For the complete story on the writer’s national convention experience and some great pictures of buttons and button people, click here.

Speaking of conventions, don’t forget to mark your calendar for the next North Carolina State Button Society Show – our own mini-convention. It’s right around the corner in May 2015. For more information, click here.