MANCHESTER, N.H. — There will be thousands of special antique and collectible clothing and uniform buttons on display and for sale at the 2015 National Button Society’s National Convention and Show in Manchester, New Hampshire, from July 27-August 1, at the Radisson Hotel Center. The show theme is “The Buttons Are Coming,” incorporating New England’s patriotic history as the birthplace of our nation.
This six-day occasion offers educational programs and competition featuring antique, vintage and modern clothing buttons. The main attraction for attendees is the showroom concourse where over 50 dealers, coming from around the United States and abroad, are offering buttons for sale plus incredible displays of buttons that most people have never seen.
Special programs and presentations include: State Militia Buttons of New England; COLTS: Buttons from Guns; Making Pewter Buttons; and Searching the British Archives for Button History, plus many more special events featuring informative and entertaining presentations of various types of buttons, their history, usage and sometimes odd characteristics.
Why are buttons such an appealing collectible? Why would anyone want to collect plain old buttons?
For the uninitiated, when someone offers up the statement “I’m a button collector,” the image emerges of plastic shirt buttons typically used in the apparel industry. However, buttons are so much more; they are cultural bellwethers of trends, art styles and societal perceptions.
Name a material, any material, and it has been used in button production.
Subject matter is also varied and inclusive, including political statements, organizational affiliation, employer identification, cosmic links, religious overtures — Or, how about flowers, plants, animal life, hobbies, Eros, classical renditions? These subjects and nearly everything imaginable have been represented on clothing buttons.
The national society, organized in 1938, is structured around the study and dissemination of information about these fascinating and never ending items.
Buttons as a collectible are generally available and remain affordable. The basis of a collection can be started and developed on any budget. For example, individual prices at the national show will range from 50 cents to several thousand dollars, depending on age, quality of workmanship and scarcity. During the recent recession, values have remained relatively firm, especially in the upper end of the market. However, room remains for everyone at the button collecting table, with veterans welcoming and encouraging neophytes with pleasure.
More information about the depth and breadth of button collecting can be found on the National Button Society website at www.nationalbuttonsociety.org. Tidbits of button history, photos, connections to nearby clubs, and show schedules are provided there.
It is estimated that there will be 500,000 buttons available for public viewing when the showroom opens to the public at 10 a.m. on Thursday, July 30. This is an inclusive show attracting not only button collectors but also jewelry makers, crafters, quilters and other creative specialists who find great beauty, history and utility in these miniature works of art.
Showroom hours are 10 a.m.-5:00 p.m. on Thursday, July 30 and Friday, July 31. Hours on Saturday, August 1 will be 10 a.m.-3 p.m. Admission is $5 per day.