Disney buttons have been produced in Australia in two eras. Unfortunately, the manufacturers’ identities have not been uncovered.
Buttons like this were featured in ‘Just Buttons’ (an American magazine) in 1950, where they were described as from ‘overseas’. They are also seen in Peggy Osborne’s book ‘About Buttons. A Collector’s Guide 150 AD to the Present.’ on page 171. There they were described as Australian made from the 1930s. Whether this date is correct or not I have not been able to tell. There is advertising for Disney buttons dating to the 1938, but for the flat plastic cut-out type (see below). None-the-less they are most probably vintage Australian made buttons, and probably rare.
I have been told these buttons were sold on Coronet cards, perhaps the partial card below is an example. Carol has a card of Bambi buttons on a ” distributed by Rex C. Norris card”. Either way, in both cases, the buttons were distributed, not manufactured, by the firms.
In her book ‘ About Buttons. A Collector’s Guide, 150 AD to the Present’ Peggy Ann Osbourne reports the Coronet buttons ( Donald, Chip, Goofy and Bambi) as being made in Australia in the early 1940s. I think they were actually produced from 1948-1953 as that’s when they were advertised.
Notice that some metal buttons are further mounted in a plastic surround to make a more fancy button. The Donalds with the white surround show variation in the painted finish, as one has an orange bill whilst the other has yellow. This kind of variation is due to the painting being done by hand. The variation in amount of detailing, as well and the changing type of plastic indicates that these buttons were made over a period of time. Hand painting was labour intensive, and therefore became too expensive.
These are glass Mickey Mouse buttons on an Embassy card that dates from around 1947 to 1952. Being made of glass at that time, they probably were made in West Germany.
Of course, Disney buttons were made under license in the USA and elsewhere.
In 1985 Belgian designer Marcy Szwarcburt founded Donaldson, who marketed clothing,embroidery,toys, clocks and art-work, under licence from The Disney Company. Donaldson became insolvent in 2008.