Buttons have been present on clothing for literally thousands of years, making them fascinating, interesting, and, of course, collectible. The oldest button that has been found was dated at over 5000 years old! Buttons this old were typically made of seashell, and were carved into different shapes and attached to clothing as ornamentation – to make it look pretty – as opposed to being a functional fastening tool. It wasn’t until the 13th and 14th centuries’ tight-fitting fashions that clothes with buttons and buttonholes used for fastening became commonplace. Needless to say, with a history like that, there are countless buttons out there with interesting histories waiting to be collected!
Before you start a button collection, you’ll want to know what actually makes a button “collectible.” Let’s take a look at a few that are currently in other people’s collections as a guide to help you start your own.
The button pictured above is from the victorian era, making it nearly 200 years old. Buttons will typically outlast the clothing that they were on, so one can only imagine the history of many antique buttons! Like anything collectible, the age of a button often affects its value, making antique buttons a popular choice for any collector.
Buttons don’t have to be particularly old or valuable to make a great addition to your collection. Some buttons contribute wonderfully to a collection purely because of how unique or interesting they are in appearance. Buttons come in a wide variety of colors, shapes, and textures. The button below is new, and available for sale, and would make a wonderful addition to any collection, especially a cat-lover’s!
Well-known, high-end fashion labels will often use their buttons as an opportunity to show off the quality, detailed craftsmanship that goes into constructing a garment. This can also carry over into a sense of pride for the person wearing the garment. The buttons pictured below are Chanel, and would have been used on an authentic Chanel garment so that anybody looking at that garment knew exactly who designed the beautiful, authentic piece of clothing in front of them.
A button doesn’t have to be rare, old, or valuable in order to be worthy of making it to your collection! For many, a source of pride comes just from having many buttons, so feel free to get buttons from wherever you can think of! Perhaps your grandmother has a collection of buttons, or you might be able to find some really wonderful buttons on an otherwise unappealing garment at the thrift store. Don’t be afraid to simply accumulate buttons from wherever you can find them. Happy button hunting!