| ||What is the most exciting thing you can imagine about a collectible you may own? That it’s rare and worth tons of money? Well yes, but isn’t it a thrill to discover a "hidden" aspect of an everyday item that we had no idea was there? That is something, I think, that will always remain an enticing prospect to those of us who are enthused with old, previously owned things. A trunk with a hidden compartment, the walled off niche in an old desk, a music box with a surprise coffer. Anticipation, that there could be some forgotten treasure therein leads to suspense and sometimes, tho infrequently, satisfaction and reward.|
Buttons have secrets too. From early times till now, ordinary items that could function in other means than what they might appear, have been useful to those with felonious motive. Smuggling for instance. 17th century buttons of ornate and elaborate construction were used to stow opium or diamonds. Such buttons have also been said to conceal poison. Buttons you are more likely to find, however, have no such unpleasant taint attached to them. Buttons such as the Military Uniform Locket Button of WWII. Made by the Liberty Mfg Co of Los Angeles and bearing the Great Seal, they could pass muster on any Army uniform of the day. Some hinged at the side and some at the top and opened to reveal celluloid covered depressions into which one could place photos. The more difficult types of these buttons to locate are those with a compass inside and the rarest of all is a metal pictorial design locket button with "Little Miss Muffet."
A Victorian Stud Button that I was delighted to find on eBay has an "invitation" and makes no effort at concealing it’s compartment. A collar button for Children to wear declares, "Where I Live... See Inside." It’s top screws off to reveal a place to hold folded paper. Another charming compartment button that is not too hard to find is a colorful plastic button made by the Colt Mfg Co. Yes, the same Colt that made guns. This two-part button also has a top that screws off. The base is either black or white while the molded top, with it’s Cameo style design, is of various colors; blue, pink, red and green among them. Usually named as a Rouge Button, it could also contain a perfume paste. The short-lived novelty was made in 1945.
As you can see, there is no end to the fascination contained in buttons, and these few have a way to reveal a bit more of their stories and history. History we’ve always wished for, when we think to ourselves, "If only that button could talk."