Author Archives: admin

30th April 2024

Coin Buttons

In the Big Book of Buttons there is a whole section devoted to ‘Coin and Coin-like’ buttons. In this section, they explain that silver coins have often been adapted for use as fasteners since the 18th century, if not earlier. Sometimes the coins were completely defaced, and merely used as  the basis for a button either with holes drilled or else a shank attached; at other times buttons have been made in imitation of coins merely as a fashion item.

Designed to look like an ancient Roman or Greek coin, but with a ‘Made in Australia’ symbol on the back.

The Woodend Star (Vic), 13th January 1900 page 2.

According to Wikipedia, during the first years of the colonisation of NSW, commodities such as buttons, wheat and rum, as well as the custom of bartering, were used in the absence of coins. As well as some George III one-penny coins, various ‘foreign’ coins were permitted as legal tender.

Coin like buttons have been described on fashionable clothing many times …

Clarence and Richmond Examiner (NSW), 12th July 1904 page 3.

The Tribune (Philippines) 8th November 1935 page 20.

“Gilt Roman-coin buttons are a youthful fashion note.”

William Smith, the proprietor of the Manly Merry-go-round in the early part of the 20th century was known as Sovereign Smith, due to his wearing clothes adorned with gold soveriegns in lieu of buttons.

Freeman’s Journal (Sydney), 10th February 1906, page 19.

And then are the times that buttons and other tokens were passed off as real coins …

Goulburn Evening Post (NSW), 19th February 1916 page 2.

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24th April 2024

New Finds

Opal-Glo Style 888

I was excited to find a Opal-Glo style I had not seen before, but when the partial card arrived (see below) it bore glass buttons! Presumably the card had been re-used to mount some matching buttons on. Although G. Herring did sell imported glass buttons from 1950, they were not mounted on Opal-Glo cards.

Does anyone have a card of Style 888 buttons? If so, please Contact me!

 

Embassy

Circa 1960. 6 pennies was the lowest pricing seen on these cards.

These cards all date post October 1967 (decimal only pricing) and before Embassy’s 1971 change of logo. They are probably all made of polyester.

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22nd April 2024

Unusual Beauclaire

These are 16mm diameter casein (probably) buttons with hand-painted highlights. The only other hand detailed buttons I have on a blue and white Beauclaire card are an example of the ‘Tiny Tots’ fish. Indeed, out of all the buttons made by General Plastics the Tiny Tots fish, duck, elephant and rabbit were the exception, until now. They are similar to, but not the same as some Coronet branded buttons. Could O. C. Rheuben & Co (predecessor to General Plastics) have supplied Coronet during the 1940s?

 

Buttons in the News

The Daily Mirror (Sydney), 7th July 1949 page 18.

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21st April 2024

New Finds

These were imported. I am puzzled that they were not mounted on ‘Beutron Originals’ cards, as most of the glass buttons they sold were. These yellow cards were meant to be for Opal-Glo (i.e. casein plastic) buttons, as below.

Early 1970s.

Mid 1970s.

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20th April 2024

Famous Collector

All the button collector’s I know are used to the incredulous looks and “You collect buttons?” question, with doubts about our sanity quite evident. Well, Bertie (King Edward from 1901-1911) was a serious fan of insignia, including buttons. If it was good enough for the King, who can cast assertions upon us?

Lithgow Mercury (NSW), 5th November 1909 page 7.

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17th April 2024

In the Pink, again

G. Herring

These date from 1949 to possibly the mid 1950s, so co-incided with the promoted ‘All Purpose Button’ cards with added thread. Do you think that mixing 2 shades of pink on the same card was a mistake?

In 1949 when these cards were introduced there was no pricing printed on them. From October 1951-March 1952, then also from April 1954- 1957 the price was 1’3.

Originals dated from 1950-1959. The card on the right was one of several types that replaced the “All Purpose” style from 1960.

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16th April 2024

In the Pink

General Plastics

The card on the left is part of a larger card that could be cut into four sections for individual sale in the mid 1950s. The small remnant on the right is from a short lived cross-promotion with Twinprufe wool during 1953-4.

A short lived style of card  circa 1957 before GP changed the branding to Leda.

 

D.C. Quinn

The partial card on the left dates 1952-4, before D.C. Quinn branded there buttons as ‘A Delphi Product ‘in 1954. A contract with E. Walker & Son Pty. Ltd saw the cards re-labelled Walkers in the same year.

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15th April 2024

New Finds

Embassy

Coles sold plain small (8.8-13.8) sew-through buttons numbering 6-9 buttons. Larger buttons numbered 1-5 only. I suspect the higher number of buttons was because they were intended for shirts/blouses and needed a couple for the cuffs.

 

Leda, circa 1959.

Another example of imitation faceted black glass buttons. See http://www.austbuttonhistory.com/25th-june-2021/

 

Is this an Australian Brand?

I have seen this brand only rarely for sale in Australia.

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14th April 2024

New Finds

Basic fish-eye buttons

The term is an old one, and somewhat misleading, as they don’t look like fish eyes at all! They are also known as cat eye, which is a better description. Cat’s Eye buttons were described in Australian newspapers in 1884. However, most sewers and collectors know the term, ‘fish eye”. The Royal Alberta Museum in Canada has a pearl fish eye button they date to the late 1800s, but no-one remembers when or where the term was coined, as described in the following article from Just Buttons magazine in November 1963.

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