Last fall, he found a rusty red tin of buttons and gave them to me. The tin appeared to contain a lifetime of buttons, none of them newer than the 1960s I think. (Is there a button-dating resource? I'd like to know.) One night I sat down and separated the buttons into shank and flat jars:
Digging through the sediment, I found many striking old gems. Buttons today just don't measure up! I also discovered button tins are full of non-button things, such as belt buckles, bra backs, and beads. If you collect buttons, for the sake of the next generation, please keep your miscellany separate! The remnants:
I like the feeling of viewing a person's history (or a family's history) through the lens of a button collection. There are matching sets apparently cut from a garment, and covered buttons slowly disintegrating. I found several dozen clear flat buttons designed for utility's sake. Probably a third had been salvaged from clothing--the thread was still attached. This collection was a hard-times response: make do and mend. Today, maybe it'd be considered hoarding. It doesn't appear the collector wasted a thing, and I hope to do her thriftiness justice over the years. I will never, ever need to buy another button in all my years!
Here's the best part! My three favorite non-button finds, two bullets and a lapel pin named Don:
Another gift, found by said friend and given to my other half, guards our living room. I will let you decide whether it is treasure or something else: