Button Collecting as a Passion

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Button collecting is a fascinating hobby that has been gaining popularity over the years. Collectors of all ages and backgrounds have found joy in the pursuit of these small, often overlooked treasures. From antique buttons to modern designs, there is a wide variety of buttons to collect, each with its unique history and charm.

Understanding button collecting involves more than just admiring the beauty of these small objects. It requires knowledge of their history, materials, and designs. Button collecting is not only a fun and engaging hobby, but it is also an opportunity to learn about different cultures, fashion trends, and historical events. In this article, we will explore the world of button collecting and provide insights into how to start, maintain, and expand your collection.

Key Takeaways

  • Button collecting is a fascinating hobby that provides insights into history, culture, and fashion trends.
  • Collectors should have an understanding of the history, materials, and designs of buttons.
  • Starting, maintaining, and expanding your button collection requires patience, research, and a passion for the hobby.

Understanding Button Collecting

Button collecting is a fascinating hobby that has been enjoyed by people of all ages for many years. It involves collecting buttons of various shapes, sizes, and materials, and learning about their history and craftsmanship. Here are a few things to keep in mind if you’re interested in starting a button collection:

  • Buttons come in all shapes and sizes. Buttons can be made from a variety of materials, including metal, plastic, wood, and even bone. They can be round, square, or any other shape, and can range in size from tiny shirt buttons to large coat buttons.

  • Buttons have a rich history. Buttons have been used for centuries as a way to fasten clothing, and their design and construction have evolved over time. Collecting buttons can be a great way to learn about different periods in history and the fashion trends of the time.

  • There are many different types of button collectors. Some collectors focus on collecting buttons from a particular era or region, while others collect buttons made from a specific material. Some collectors even create their own buttons by hand.

  • Button collecting can be a social activity. Many areas have local button collecting clubs where collectors can meet and share their collections. These clubs can be a great way to learn more about button collecting and to meet other people who share your passion.

  • Caring for your buttons is important. Buttons should be stored in a cool, dry place to prevent damage from moisture or insects. It’s also important to handle buttons carefully to avoid scratching or chipping them.

Overall, button collecting is a fun and rewarding hobby that can provide hours of enjoyment and learning. Whether you’re just starting out or have been collecting buttons for years, there’s always something new to discover in the world of button collecting.

History of Button Collecting

Early Beginnings

Button collecting dates back centuries, with buttons being used for both practical and decorative purposes. The ancient Greeks and Romans used buttons on clothing, and in the Middle Ages, buttons were often made from precious metals and gemstones. However, it wasn’t until the 18th and 19th centuries that buttons became more widely accessible to the general population, leading to an increase in their popularity as collectibles.

The first known button collectors were members of the French court in the 17th century, who collected buttons as a sign of their wealth and status. By the 19th century, buttons were being collected by people from all walks of life, with many collectors displaying their collections in cases or albums.

Modern Evolution

Button collecting as a hobby really took off in the United States during the Great Depression of the 1930s. A radio show called “Hobby Lobby” featured a different hobby each week, and in 1938, Gertrude Patterson brought her passion for button collecting to the show. The response was overwhelming, and the National Button Society was founded later that year.

Since then, the hobby of button collecting has continued to evolve, with collectors using the internet to connect with each other and share information about their collections. There are now countless websites, forums, and social media groups dedicated to button collecting, and many collectors attend national and international button shows and conventions.

In addition to collecting buttons for their historical and aesthetic value, many collectors also use them for crafting and jewelry-making. Buttons can be made from a variety of materials, including plastic, metal, and wood, and can feature intricate designs and patterns.

Overall, button collecting is a fascinating and rewarding hobby that allows collectors to connect with history and express their creativity.

Benefits of Button Collecting

Button collecting is a hobby that can bring a lot of benefits to those who enjoy it. Here are some of the advantages of this passion:

Cognitive Advantages

Collecting buttons can have cognitive advantages, such as improving memory, attention, and problem-solving skills. The process of organizing and categorizing buttons can help exercise the brain and keep it sharp. Additionally, learning about the history and origins of buttons can expand one’s knowledge and curiosity.

Emotional Rewards

Button collecting can also bring emotional rewards, such as a sense of accomplishment, satisfaction, and pride. Finding a rare or unique button can bring joy and excitement to collectors. Moreover, the act of collecting can serve as a stress-reliever and a way to unwind after a long day.

Social Connections

Button collecting can also create social connections and foster a sense of community. Joining a club or organization, such as the National Button Society, can provide opportunities to meet like-minded individuals and share knowledge and experiences. Additionally, attending events and conventions can be a chance to network and make new friends.

In conclusion, button collecting can offer many benefits to those who partake in this passion. From cognitive advantages to emotional rewards and social connections, this hobby can be a fulfilling and enjoyable experience.

Types of Buttons to Collect

Button collecting is a fun and exciting hobby that can be enjoyed by people of all ages. When it comes to collecting buttons, there are many different types of buttons to choose from. Here are some of the most popular types of buttons to collect.


One of the most popular ways to categorize buttons is by the material they are made of. Some common materials used to make buttons include metal, plastic, wood, and shell. Collecting buttons based on their material can be a great way to appreciate the different textures, colors, and patterns of buttons.


Another popular way to categorize buttons is by their age. Collecting vintage or antique buttons can be a fascinating way to learn about history and fashion. Some collectors focus on buttons from a specific era, such as the Victorian era or the 1920s. Others collect buttons from specific events, such as World War II or the civil rights movement.


Buttons can also be collected based on their design. Some collectors focus on buttons with specific designs, such as animals, flowers, or sports teams. Others collect buttons with unique shapes or patterns, such as geometric shapes or abstract designs. Collecting buttons based on design can be a great way to appreciate the creativity and artistry that goes into button-making.

In conclusion, there are many different types of buttons to collect, and each collector can choose the type that interests them the most. Whether you prefer material-based, age-based, or design-based collecting, there is something for everyone in the world of button collecting.

How to Start Button Collecting

If you’re interested in starting a button collection, there are a few things you should consider before diving in. Here are some tips to get you started:

Identifying Your Interest

The first step in starting a button collection is to identify what type of buttons you’re interested in. There are many different types of buttons, including antique buttons, military buttons, and novelty buttons. Some collectors focus on a specific type of button, while others collect a variety of buttons.

Once you’ve identified your interest, start researching to learn more about the buttons you want to collect. Look for books, online resources, and local collectors who can provide information and guidance.


Button collecting can be an expensive hobby, especially if you’re collecting rare or antique buttons. It’s important to set a budget and stick to it. Determine how much you’re willing to spend on each button and be mindful of your spending.

Consider buying buttons in bulk or from garage sales, thrift stores, or online marketplaces to save money. You can also trade buttons with other collectors to expand your collection without spending money.

Storage and Organization

Proper storage and organization are essential for maintaining the quality of your button collection. Invest in storage containers that are specifically designed for buttons, such as plastic bags or trays with dividers.

Label each container with information about the buttons it contains, such as the type of button, date, and any other relevant information. This will make it easier to find specific buttons in your collection.

Regularly clean and maintain your buttons to prevent damage and preserve their quality.

By following these tips, you can start a button collection that brings you joy and satisfaction. Happy collecting!

Maintaining and Expanding Your Collection

Cleaning and Preservation

Proper cleaning and preservation of your button collection is crucial to ensure its longevity. Here are some tips to keep your buttons in top condition:

  • Use a soft-bristled brush or a microfiber cloth to gently remove any dirt or dust from the buttons.
  • Avoid using harsh chemicals or abrasive materials that can damage the buttons.
  • Store your buttons in a dry, cool place, away from direct sunlight and moisture.
  • Consider using acid-free paper or plastic sleeves to prevent discoloration and deterioration of the buttons over time.

Trading and Buying

One of the most exciting aspects of button collecting is the opportunity to trade and buy buttons with other collectors. Here are some tips to help you expand your collection:

  • Attend button shows and events to meet other collectors and browse through their collections.
  • Join online forums and groups to connect with other collectors and participate in trading and buying opportunities.
  • Research the value and rarity of the buttons before making a purchase to ensure you are getting a fair deal.
  • Consider trading buttons with other collectors to acquire new and unique pieces for your collection.

Remember, the joy of button collecting is in the thrill of the hunt and the satisfaction of adding new pieces to your collection. With proper care and maintenance, your button collection can be enjoyed for years to come.

Button Collecting Communities

Button collecting is a passion that many people share, and it is always more fun to share your interests with like-minded individuals. Fortunately, there are several communities for button collectors to connect with others who share their passion.

Online Forums

Online forums are a great way to connect with other button collectors from around the world. These forums allow collectors to share their knowledge and expertise, ask questions, and show off their collections. Some popular online forums include:

Local Clubs

Local clubs are a great way to connect with other button collectors in your area. These clubs often have regular meetings where members can share their collections, learn from each other, and participate in group activities. Some local clubs even organize trips to button shows and conventions. To find a local club near you, check out the National Button Society’s list of affiliated clubs.

Whether you prefer to connect with other collectors online or in person, there are plenty of communities for button collectors to join. By sharing your passion with others, you can learn more about button collecting, make new friends, and have fun along the way.


Button collecting is a fascinating and rewarding hobby that has been enjoyed by enthusiasts for generations. Whether you are a beginner or an experienced collector, there is always something new to learn and discover in the world of buttons.

One of the great things about button collecting is that it is a hobby that can be enjoyed by people of all ages and backgrounds. It doesn’t require any special skills or equipment, and it can be done on a shoestring budget or with a more substantial investment.

Joining a local button club or attending a button show can be a great way to meet other collectors and learn more about the hobby. Many clubs sponsor competitions and events that provide opportunities to see and learn about rare and unusual buttons.

Button collecting is also a hobby that can be enjoyed alone or with others. It can be a relaxing and meditative activity that provides a welcome break from the stresses of daily life. And it can also be a social activity that brings people together and fosters new friendships.

So, whether you are interested in the history of fashion and design, the artistry of button craftsmanship, or simply enjoy the thrill of the hunt for rare and unusual buttons, button collecting is a hobby that is sure to provide many hours of enjoyment and fulfillment.

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Frequently Asked Questions About Button-collecting

Is it hard to get started with Button-collecting?

Not at all! Button-collecting is a fun and easy hobby to start. All you need is a little bit of knowledge about buttons and a passion for collecting them. You can start by browsing online or visiting antique shops and thrift stores to find unique buttons to add to your collection.

Is Button-collecting a hobby?

Yes, Button-collecting is a popular hobby that has been around for many years. People collect buttons for a variety of reasons, including their historical significance, their unique designs, or simply because they enjoy the thrill of the hunt for new additions to their collection.

Why do people love Button-collecting?

There are many reasons why people love Button-collecting. For some, it is the thrill of finding rare or unique buttons to add to their collection. For others, it is the historical significance of the buttons and the stories they tell about the past. And for many, it is simply the joy of collecting and the satisfaction of having a beautiful and unique collection to display and admire.

What are some tips for starting a Button-collecting hobby?

Some tips for starting a Button-collecting hobby include researching the history of buttons and the different types of buttons available, setting a budget for your collection, and finding a place to display your buttons. You can also join online forums or local Button-collecting groups to connect with other collectors and learn more about the hobby.

What are some common types of buttons that people collect?

There are many types of buttons that people collect, including antique buttons, military buttons, political buttons, and novelty buttons. Antique buttons are often made from materials like glass, metal, or porcelain and can date back to the 18th and 19th centuries. Military buttons are often used on uniforms and can be highly collectible. Political buttons are often used to promote political campaigns or causes and can be highly sought after by collectors. Novelty buttons are often designed with fun or unique designs and can be a fun addition to any collection.


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