Buttons, etc.

Buttons, fastenings and cufflinks come in many shapes and sizes and are usually pewter, silver, or brass. Sometimes they are gold-plated, which always makes the weebler's heart beat just that little bit faster for a moment, as dreams of golden hoards arise. Here's a selection.


Decorative Buttons

Some of the buttons that turn up are extremely ostentatious; detailed decoration, gold plating and so on. These date from the Tudor period (in the mid 1500's) to the late Georgian period.

Livery Buttons

During the last several hundred years, the aristocracy have spent much of their time wandering around the country attending house parties at the great stately homes. Being totally useless and therefore entirely incapable of doing anything for themselves, they had to be attended by hoards of servants. During the Georgian period (1700's) it became fashionable for those servants who would be seen in close proximity to the, er, great lords and ladies - coachmen, footmen, butlers and so on - to wear a distinctive uniform called 'livery', the buttons of which usually carried a design derived from the family coat of arms. The examples of livery buttons shown above may have been lost on hunting expeditions, as none were found anywhere near a large mansion. The one in the centre appears to show the head of a black slave, while many show mythical beasts. The one in the lower left corner shows a bishop's mitre. Huntin', shootin, fishin' and... prayin'?

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Military Buttons

Regimental buttons are fairly common finds, as are those of other branches of the armed and civil services. Here is a selection ranging from the Crimean War to World War II, including buttons from the Grenadiers, the Royal Navy and the Coastguards.


This clothing fastener - or rather, this half of it - dates from the mid-1600s. The slot at the top is shaped to hold the hook on the other half, and the three loops around the edge enabled it to be sewn into place. The decoration on this example makes it quite unusual. Quite a delicate item, it was found in a fairly uneven pasture field which has probably only rarely been ploughed, if ever.

Victorian Cufflinks

The single piece at the back was found during the summer of 2003, and then in early March of 2004 I found two more which were connected by a silver link - nearly a mile away from the first. I think the chances of this actually being the other half of the same set are small. Probably they just happened to be popular in that area at the time, and my finds actually come from two separate sets. The stones are quite large, nearly 1cm across, and are cut rock crystal.

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