Livery buttons date from the middle of the eighteenth century, and were actually an incorrect (in heraldic terms) use of family crests and less often, coats of arms, for their servants’ uniforms. The earliest were thin metal shells over molds. Later came one piece and then from around 1815, two piece versions. Many were silver-plated, but there were also brass, copper and non-metallic materials.
A couple of livery buttons made by Stokes & Sons of Melbourne have previously been featured.
The Heraldry Society of Australia shared an image of the first Governor-General of Australia, John Adrian Louis Hope, 1st Marquess of Linlithgow, 7th Earl of Hopetoun.
With snobbery alive and well in the colonies there were metal workers and importers ready to supply livery buttons.
In 1838 in Sydney, R. Bourne & Co advertised ‘fancy gilt and plated livery coat buttons’. So did John George Richardson of No.5 George Street, both ‘plain and convex’, in 1841.
In 1844 Kelk and Morton of Hobart Town were also able to supply “a large assortment of livery crest buttons.”
Livery buttons were still being advertised in 1917, but whether they were true livery, or simply livery-style fashion buttons it is not clear.
Perhaps it is just as well livery buttons were not too common here, as they were expensive!