Collecting Buttons

If you want to be a collector and only have a small budget you might want to consider collecting buttons.  Many households have a button bag or box where discarded buttons are kept.  In thriftier times no garment would have been thrown out without removing the buttons first and keeping them for future use.  On examination you might find that you have buttons that belonged to your grandmother or great-grandmother and your buttons do not only cover three or four generations, but they are also a fascinating insight into the history of fashion.

The first buttons in Britain were made in the Shaftesbury area of Dorset around 1620, they were made out of ram’s horn and covered with fabric and were then embroidered with undyed linen or cotton thread.  The buttons were stitched onto cards and were exported to Europe and America between the late 18th century and the middle of the 19th century, it was a very lucrative business.  Then, at the Great Exhibition in 1851, John Ashton exhibited a machine that could cheaply produce fabric-covered buttons and that was more or less the end of the demand for Dorset buttons. Continue reading “Collecting Buttons”

Collecting Vintage Teddy Bears On A Small Budget

People are often not aware that collecting vintage teddy bears is not as expensive as they think and it is quite possible to put together a nice collection on a small budget.  Only a handful of bears will be sold at auction for six figure sums and the bear must be in perfect condition or come with very important provenance.  The majority of old teddies sell for much more modest prices and are often not much more expensive than a manufactured limited edition piece.

Many collectors of bears start with the modern, limited editions of Steiff.  Everyone has heard of the name and is aware of the history and the quality.  A really early Steiff, even in poor condition, would cost hundreds of pounds but, fortunately, there are cheaper alternatives.  The Zotty, one of Steiff’s most popular designs in the post war era, is constantly overlooked by collectors and can usually be found in good condition at affordable prices.  Zotty was introduced in 1951 and with his eager, open-mouthed appearance was designed to appeal to children.  He was a huge success and Steiff made him in varying styles and sizes well into the 1990s.  Collectors tend to go for the earlier examples, such as the 11inch (28cm) one and if you are lucky you might be able find one for under £100.

If Zotty isn’t your thing there is another cut-price vintage option, an Original Teddy, introduced by Steiff in 1950 and made in large quantities and a variety of sizes and styles.  The Original Teddy was made from high quality materials and that is one of the reasons why so many are still found in good condition. Continue reading “Collecting Vintage Teddy Bears On A Small Budget”