G. J. Coles/ Embassy brand: 1929-1994

G. J. Coles

George James (G. J.) Coles opened his first variety store in 1914 in Collingwood, Melbourne.  During the 1920’s more stores were opened.

Embassy brand

In 1929 the ‘Embassy’ brand was launched, initially for gramophone records, but over the years extending to hundreds of products. The brand was discontinued in 1994.  See  https://www.coles.com.au/about-coles/centenary  At some stage in the 1980-90s Coles sold cards of buttons under the name ‘Haby Habits”. These, like the Embassy buttons, were labelled as being made in Australia. Over the years various logos were used.  You’ll notice the changes in the examples to follow. The buttons were supplied by General Plastics initially, then G.Herring after the merger.

This re-order card shows that Embassy branded buttons were supplied by General Plastics up until the merger with G. Herring.



Note that although this logo was used from 1947, the cards of buttons probably date from a couple of years later.


Most of the cards had the brand name printed upon it, but some just had ‘Fashion Buttons’.

These glass buttons are marked West Germany, and the clear, Czechoslovakia.



1959- early 1960s







The first cards featuring the map of Australia had rounded corners and no prices printed upon them.







The card on the right is a hybrid between the previous Embassy cards with rounded corners, and those to follow with squared corners and Beutron type added cotton.

Early-mid 1960s

Prices are printed onto the cards.

Some of these styles appear on Leda and Kencrest cards.

The famous ducks.


Dual pricing (imperial/decimal) printed on the cards. The buttons are stapled instead of sewn onto the cards. Thankfully, this was a short lived trend as the staples get rusty.













Transfer printing on ‘water-white’ ?cellulose actetate.

Figural Buttons:

Beauclaire Tiny Tots design elephant and ducks from the 1950s.


New Finds:















Early 1970s

These date around 1969 when dual imperial/decimal pricing was no longer mandated.

Faux leather.

Haby Habits: 1980s-1994

Both Embassy and Haby Habit branding were discontinued in 1994.

These three designs all hark back to the 1950s, even 1940s.