NATIONAL BUTTON DAY
National Button Day on November 16th celebrates the function of buttons and the hobby of button collection. Step aside zippers, laces, and snaps. Honor the button.
Founded in 1938, the National Button Society recognized button collecting as an organized hobby. Both novice and advanced button collectors celebrate the enjoyment of collecting on this day.
Do you remember your grandmother or your mother snipping the buttons off shirts headed for the rag basket? Those buttons are often collected in jars or tins. Maybe you even played games or strung them for ornaments and crafts. The buttons were fun to stack into piles, sort by color or size, or scatter and slide across the floor or table making up different games each time.
Crafters across the country utilize buttons in creative ways, too. They are some of the best at finding new uses for old items. There are thousands of button collectors in the United States.
Humans have made buttons from a variety of materials. Ancient humans formed buttons from natural and readily available substances such as stone, shell, bone, clay, or wood. In more modern times, metals, plastics, resins, and acrylics have been used. While buttons were usually functional to fasten two pieces of cloth together, they also served as decoration.
While buttons today can be simple disks with two or four holes allowing a needle and thread to pass through, button makers create more elaborate designs. If you can imagine it, there’s probably a button like it. From animals and food to iconic buildings and famous people, button makers make them. They’re colorful and fun. While the fun ones may be less practical, they still function.
HOW TO OBSERVE NATIONAL BUTTON DAY
Do you have a fun button collection? Share it on social media. You can also:
- Start a button collection.
- Wear a button necklace.
- Design a craft using buttons.
- Make an ornament using buttons.
- Play a game with buttons.
NATIONAL BUTTON DAY HISTORY
National Day Calendar® continues researching the origins of this collector holiday.
Q. How big is the largest button collection?
A. In 2001, Guinness World Records certified Dalton Stevens’ collection in South Carolina as the world’s largest button collection in the world. His collection of 439,900 buttons contains no duplicates. He was also known as The Button King. His collection is housed in a museum in Bishopville, South Carolina. Another button collection can be found at the Waterbury Button Museum in Waterbury, CT.
Q. Do vintage buttons have any value?
A. Surprisingly, some antique buttons demand a hefty price tag before being shuffled off to the rag bin. Rare and significantly aged (more than 100 years) buttons have a market. If your grandmother left you her button jar, look for buttons made from just about anything but plastic to get started. Correction, we should say modern plastic. Early plastics like celluloid or Bakelite are both highly collectible. Other materials to look for include:
- Bone, stone, or wood
- Glass or metal
- Mother of pearl, shell, tortoiseshell
Q. What games can I play with buttons?
A. Buttons allow us to play simple games. Try these:
- Tic Tac Toe
- Matching games
- Replace lost pieces for board games