04 April 2007

The Big Book of Buttons

Elizabeth Hughes & Marion Lester.THE BIG BOOK OF BUTTONS. Boyertown Publishing Co., USA 1981. ISBN 0962904600

Current Selling Prices
$350-$750 / £200-£400

The bible of American button identification. 800+ pages. Reprinted in 1991 and again in 1993 but hard to find, like many definitive collectables books. Copiously illustrated in colour and black and white throughout. Hard to tell whether button collecting is waxing or waning. Seems to be reasonably strong with much interest on ebay in the vintage sewing section and a few major button dealers and even a promised news sheet called 'The Daily Button'. Doesn't seem to need a jacket.

VALUE? No copies available for less than $500 but not worth a lot more than that, the claim that 'for years now button collectors have been trying to get their hands on this book!' is used by a chap asking $1200 for his. He obviously belongs to that old school of seller who believes that if a book is wanted the price should be so high that nobody can buy it. A not uncommon but mystifying and mildly annoying ploy. Schadenfreude = the elated feeling one gets when a foolishly overpriced book is reprinted in a better, enlarged edition at a tenth of the price. Sadly it's not going to happen this time. A copy just sold at Ebay with 32 bids taking it to $309. The seller barked:
Presented for auction is this MUST HAVE book for anyone who collects buttons. This book is in great shape and has hardly been opened. FILLED with lots of photos of buttons and descriptions and history of the various types of buttons. This book is due to go for reprint sometime in 2008 with up-to-date button values, but the retail price will be around $500. This is your chance to own this book at a more realistic price. This would also be a great gift for the collector or enthusiast. Why not place your bid now?
Possibly button collecting is a cut throat world, full of collectors who would betray a lifetime's friendship for the chance of a rare bakelite fancy. Not unlike the bookplate world.

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