Two Mystery Buttons

O’Half brought home some buttons from auction last
week and among them were these two mystery buttons:

Not that I can identify all of the others, but these two seem intriguing.
Does it bother you that I’m talking about TWO buttons and showing
FIVE?  Well, of this ONE, I have FIVE.  There.
They are metal, about 5/8″ and the girl in Victorian fashioned dress
is holding up a  . . .clown? doll? bouquet?  They look like they might
be copper–and seem of good workmanship.  Considered “picture
buttons”—but what is she holding?  (Click to enlarge photos)

Kate Greenway type metal buttons ©booksandbuttons

Kate Greenway type
metal buttons ©booksandbuttons

Debra J. Wisniewski, in her book, BUTTONS, has a similar type of
button—“Girl hoop rolling”:

Girl Hoop Rolling, from  Wisniewski's book

Girl Hoop Rolling, from
Wisniewski’s book

And an earlier book, published in 1941 CLASSIC BUTTONS by Couse
and Maple also show that pictorial:

pictorial "Hoop Rolling" from Couse and Maple book ©booksandbuttons

pictorial “Hoop Rolling”
from Couse and Maple book ©booksandbuttons

They pointedly say that this is not a true Kate Greenaway button, but
more of a “type”, popularized by the KG trends in children’s fashions.
It’s interesting to compare the prices over the years between publication

And the back of my buttons:

the back of my Victorian girl buttons©booksandbuttons

the back of my Victorian girl buttons©booksandbuttons

OK, mystery button number 2 is an odd duck.  I guess it’s celluloid,
is a little over an inch, black and white with a rusty metal loop shank.

four interlocking hands©booksandbuttons

four interlocking hands©booksandbuttons

It’s like the “two person arm carry with interlocking wrists.”–you
know, that Scout carry for an injured buddy with sprained ankle?  I
wish these looked a little more like HANDS instead of PAWS, but I
supposed I’ll get over it.  Here’s the back:

back of interlocking hands button ©booksandbuttons

back of interlocking hands button ©booksandbuttons

So? have you seen these before?

Aren’t we lucky?  Peggy Ann Osborne, author of Button, Button sent me
an email with information about the interlocking hands button!  And she
doesn’t think it’s ever been identified before.  We’re first!!  I quote from her

“This is a celluloid button from the mid 1920s.  I have always thought it was perhaps made in honor of the 150th anniversary of Independence celebrations in the States.

This was the first of the so-called insurance “Fire Marks” that Colonial-era folk had to display on the outside wall of their homes to identify to firefighters which company they were insured with, or if they were insured at all..

 Although this company (or organization, really) was the first such insurer, (it was called the Philadelphia Contributionship), there were many others, as other insurers got into business and made their own symbols, but this was the first of them.  The origin of the idea was from Ben Franklin!  .  Kind of cool!

I have one, but seldom see this button otherwise; I do not think it has ever been published as having a meaning, in button literature.”

Wow!  Thank you, Peggy Ann.  Thank you for sharing.


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