In the early days, buttons were employed as aesthetic ornaments and denoted position and riches. However, as decades passed, buttons developed from decorations into functional components.
The advent of the buttonhole in the Middle Ages changed clothing and prompted a little greater demand for buttons.
However, buttons remained a luxury for the wealthy and magnificent throughout the years that followed. It was not until mass manufacture was established during the Industrial Revolution that buttons became a widespread fixture.
While buttons nowadays are available in a range of forms and colors, collectors still favor antique buttons. The most costly and unusual antique buttons worth money $500 on the lower end and may reach $3,900 on the upper end.
In this exhaustive guide, we will help you with valuable old buttons identification. You will find pictures of valuable buttons which will help button collectors in their vintage button collection.
If you are a button collector, you are just at the right spot.
Table of Contents
Enamel & 18K Gold Cuff Buttons
These Enamel and 18K Gold Cuff Buttons were made in France sometime between the years 1819 and 1838. The handcrafted cuff buttons have a blend of 18k yellow gold and enamel in their construction.
The top sides of the buttons have been painted to seem like flowers, making them very appealing to the eye. The handcrafted buttons are rectangular in shape, weigh 3.89 grams each, and each has a ram’s head with its left side facing the front.
There is a price tag of $3,900 on these valuable buttons that are now advertised for sale on eBay. At this price, the customer will get two buttons with their order with maker’s marks.
Queen Victoria Wore Weed Coat Button
The production of the Victorian era marijuana weed coat antique button took place in the early 20th century in the victorian era. This button is quite unusual. On the upper portion of the button which is dark green, there is a depiction of marijuana leaves.
The button is round and, with the exception of minor dirt, seems to be in pristine shape. The vendor mentions that the button was intended to be used on a coat in his description.
These paste buttons, which were manufactured somewhere between the latter half of the 18th century and the beginning of the 19th century, are adorned with a variety of stones.
The vendor mentions that the buttons gleam just like diamonds thanks to the stones that were utilized to make them. The dealer emphasizes that the ancient buttons are still in superb shape despite the fact that their age spans more than two centuries.
Only one of the five ancient paste buttons that are now for sale shows any trace of deterioration; specifically, the button is missing two of its stones.
The antique buttons come in a total of five different shapes, with three of them being completely round and the other two being flattened.
William Spratling Sterling Silver Buttons
According to certain preconceived notions, males choose uncomplicated interior design while women go toward ornate furnishings. But back in the good old days, gentlemen could pull off some very dapper looks, particularly in the royal courts.
Even in the modern day, there is still a lot of room for expression within the gay spectrum. Nevertheless, these buttons have a more simplistic appearance.
They are in no way boring or uninteresting, but rather have a straightforward screw-head design that would appeal to anybody who favors understated aesthetics. And they have a glossy appearance!
These buttons come in a set of seven and are each stamped with the name of their creator, William Spratling, who is known for his expertise in Mexican silver.
Satsuma Chinese Button
The Satsuma Chinese Button is a big button measuring 2 inches in diameter and goes back to the 1850s. The vintage button, which was crafted out of porcelain, shows clear traces of its long history of use.
The button, on the other hand, has some quite stunning Chinese artwork on it, which has the potential to pique people’s interests.
Scarce Color Laminated Stardust Real Gold Vtg Bakelite Carved Buttons
People often have the misconception that gold is one of the most precious commodities in the world. However, in order for it to be useful, it is often combined with other metals since it is too soft on its own.
Alternately, gold specks might be smuggled into other products in order to increase their price and improve the visual appeal of other products.
These Bakelite buttons capture your attention not only because to the glittering karats that are blended into the completely synthetic plastic, but also due to their peculiarly curved design.
In addition, the fact that they are sold in sets of three makes the asking price much greater than that of standard plastic buttons.
These antique Victorian buttons date back to the 1860s but are over 150 years old. They were made in England. In order to create the buttons, the producers used a combination of silver and yellow gold that was 14K in quality.
The vendor of the antique buttons claims that they feature marcasite measuring 0.5 inches long and put at the center. The form of the buttons may be described as round, however, the circles are not perfectly symmetrical.
Baltic Amber Egg Yolk Collectable Buttons
On this list, we’ve said that early plastics had a combination of biological content and inorganic stuff. This is significant since purely synthetic materials, such as celluloid, are difficult to repair.
On the other hand, wood will disintegrate with time, so it’s possible that there won’t be as many antique wooden buttons around. But amber stays around for a little bit longer.
It’s possible that the Jurassic Park series triggered your memory of it. Or maybe from Fringe. This orange-colored substance with a transparent appearance is basically petrified tree sap. It is attractive and has the potential to be highly lucrative.
These flat buttons are made with amber of a lower quality, and they also have some mildew issues. Nevertheless, it is a charming package of seven items.
D Coat Button
This D Coat Button was made somewhere between 1861 and 1865, making its origins at the time of the American Civil War. The button has been around for more than half a century, yet it is still in pristine shape; there are no scratches or other signs of wear on it at all.
The diameter of this antique button is 23 millimeters, and it also has a shank attached to it. The vendor claims that the gold-colored button was made with 95 percent gold gilt in the manufacturing process.
The D Coat Button is the first expensive antique button to have a price posted on eBay that is less than $1000. The price of this button is $775.
HandPainted Buttons Of Children
The market economy places a premium on mass-produced goods, and buttons are no exception. A great number of the plastic and metal ones were completed on conveyor belts after being machine-molded.
Since they are reasonably priced, they have saturated the market. These hand painting art nouveau designs may take longer to produce, but each one is a one-of-a-kind creation.
Because they are one-of-a-kind, these buttons have a high value due to their unique characteristics and hand painting characteristics.
You also need to take into account the effort, time, and artistry put in by the artist. Craftspeople may get hundreds of dollars for their works of art because to the abilities they’ve acquired.
When sold in the capacity of an antique, that price may occasionally reach into a few hundred dollars. They are available for $1,250 on Etsy
Mother Of Pearl Shell Disk Buttons
Mother of pearl shells were used in the production of these buttons, which were produced at the end of the 19th century. The Himalayan areas of Afghanistan and Pakistan were the original users of the ancient shell buttons, and they were employed as ornaments at the time.
The vendor claims that there are 8 collect buttons included in the current offering that can be seen on eBay. There is a wide range of hues to choose from for the buttons.
The mother of pearl ancient buttons are offered for sale for a price of $8 despite the fact that they are still in excellent shape and exhibit very little indications of wear.
Micro Mosaic Buttons
There are a variety of materials that may be used in the production of antique buttons, including stone, cloth, wood, and even the shells of marine animals like mussels and turtles. You may also get bone buttons that are crafted out of horns, antlers, or other skeletal material.
Inlays of mosaic buttons often consist of a combination of the aforementioned organic components.
When you sell your buttons as part of a whole set, you can get a higher price for them. This set comes with five brass picture buttons that have mosaic work affixed to the top.
The picture is framed in black and brass, and it features brightly colored houses and picturesque surroundings. These buttons have a diameter of around 12.18 millimeters and are rather miniature portraits, which help in identifying valuable antique buttons.
These micro mosaic art buttons are available on Etsy for $485
Sterling Silver Buttons
The London Import Hallmarks are where the Sterling Silver Buttons got their start, and they date all the way back to 1904. Robert Friederich is the creator of these vintage buttons with an ancient look. These valuable antique buttons date back to a long time.
The ancient sterling silver buttons have a peculiar form and are crafted from silver; their total weight is 29.7 grams. These buttons are meant to provide a touch of artistic flair to any garment by incorporating elements of the Art Nouveau style into their appearance.
The vendor claims that the six vintage buttons have remained in the packaging in which they were originally sold.
The buttons are presently being sold on eBay with a listing price of $1,743, and they are in pristine condition.
Wonderful Antique Vegetable Ivory Button
It is difficult to make out what is shown on this button. It is unclear if the dog in question is a pug or a bulldog. We are aware, however, that it is an ivoroid button.
Ivoroid was created using a kind of vegetable ivory that is derived from corozo nuts. Their pulp has a similar appearance to that of animal ivory, and it is just as simple to carve.
When illegal ivory poaching became unacceptable, the market was quickly supplied by vegetable ivory. Tagua trees, which are a kind of palm tree, are the only trees that can produce corozo nuts.
Because it is more lightweight than animal ivory, it is more practical for use in jewelry and other little trinkets. It was first shown at an exhibition in Paris in 1862, and between 1870 and 1920, it gained widespread popularity.
These valuable antique buttons are available for purchase for $58
Men Fox Antique Buttons With Ruby Eye
These vintage buttons, which were made at the turn of the 20th century, include 14-karat yellow gold and ruby stones set in a ruby cabochon. The front of the antique buttons, which were made just for males, has some beautiful fox art.
The ruby stone was utilized by the creator of the button to construct the eyes of the fox, which helped to make the artwork seem even more lifelike.
The sizes of the round antique buttons range from 12 to 16 millimeters; two of the buttons have a diameter of 16 millimeters, while the other four buttons have a diameter of 12 millimeters. The vendor claims that the total weight of the six buttons is 24.1 grams.
These vintage buttons are now being offered for sale on eBay, with a price tag of $2,000 affixed to each one of them. The vendor, on the other hand, claims that there are no visible indications of wear or tear on the buttons.
Yellow Gold Antique Buttons
The Edwardian era gave rise to the design of the 9ct Yellow Gold Golf Buttons, which have a beginning date of about the year 1910. The buttons were crafted out of yellow gold and would go well on coats and jackets.
The antique buttons are spherical in form and gold in color. They each have a cast image of an amazing golf scene, which depicts a man executing a full swing with a golf course landscape in the background. In addition, each button has a split ring made of yellow gold.
The vendor emphasizes that each button is in pristine condition in their listing description. The vintage buttons are now being offered for sale on eBay at the price of $3,370.
The vendor states that in exchange for this sum, the customer would get six vintage buttons still encased in their original packaging. They have a uniform texture and present precious metals.
Black Natural Material Rare Metal Buttons
These fascinating little objects are valuable buttons with military symbols. Military buttons from military uniforms are such desirable collectibles, it is worthwhile to remove them from used clothing before donating them to a thrift shop. (However, you should purchase the fatigues first!)
It’s possible that some of them have inscriptions on them, such as the year, the unit, or the rank of the person who had them. Others will use symbols that your other employees will be able to interpret.
This button has what seems to be a relief picture of a sailor dressed in full maritime gear. The portrait appears to be detailed. However, the description clarifies that it is a black portrayal of Buster Brown, which refers to the comic strip and not the blues performer.
On the reverse of the button is a marking that seems to represent the year 1930, which indicates that it was patented in that year.
These most vintage metal buttons are available for $199.99
Red Carved Bakelite Hat Buckle
Bakelite was the first material that was created in a laboratory. Leo Baekeland is credited with the invention in the year 1904. Bakelite buttons had considerable popularity in the 1920s, and now they are consistently ranked among the most expensive antique buttons.
There is a possibility that you may see them classified as apple juice Bakelite or cream corn Bakelite. There is a natural color variation among these antique buttons.
Some of them started off transparent or white, but with time they became somewhat yellower or darker (thus the name apple juice).
Others were initially transparent but have now become lighter, earning them the name cream corn. If you submerge Bakelite in hot water, the material will take on the aroma of cod liver oil.
These antique style backelite buttons are available for $14.00
Vintage Plastic Lucite Buttons
Another ancient kind of first completely synthetic plastic is called lucite (meaning it had no organic matter). It is only a brand name in the same vein as Pyrex or Catalin.
Lucite is a kind of poly-acrylic resin that was first developed for use in the manufacture of buttons. Lucite may be carved in elaborate patterns and glitter embedded could be put inside of it.
DuPont Plastics developed the material, and beginning in the 1930s and continuing into the 1960s, it was used to make buttons in the form of flowers or animals.
There is a possibility that the lucite buttons may have embellishments such as rhinestones mounted and other decorative elements. In addition, Lucite was used in the production of reasonably priced jewelry that was hypoallergenic.
These lucite buttons have a value of $75.01
Vintage Bakelite Buttons Carved Large Size Marbled
There are several antique buttons that are mislabeled as being made of Bakelite while in fact, they are Catalin.
When the Bakelite patent lapsed, this business capitalized on the opportunity (1927). They used a technique that imitated Bakelite, although their buttons came in 15 more colors. You will be relieved to know that both Bakelite and Catalin are simple to validate.
The hot-water test is valid and results in the emission of a sickly sweet formaldehyde odor. However, you should remove the buttons as fast as possible to prevent doing any damage to them.
Rub the art deco style button with a Q-tip that has been dipped in Simichrome or cleaning solution for a more reliable test result. There will be a little transfer of a yellowish color to the Q-tip.
These rare examples of antique buttons cost $100.15