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24 Collectible Buttons

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Christen Carter has accumulated thousands of historic buttons over the years. Beautiful ones. Hilarious ones. Crafty ones. Below, you'll find two dozen of the best, but there are many, many more over at the ButtonMuseum.org. Tell us your favorite in the comments!

This button was available in the 60s-70s in head shops, record shops and ephemera shops.

This is famous saying started by Rube Goldberg. Most people think of Rube Goldberg as the guy behind Rube Goldberg machines, but he's also famous for his illustrations of crazy inventions, as well as a founder of the National Cartoonist Society, which helped connect all the great cartoonists from the 1940s until now.

Likely issued by laundry-related sponsor in the 1930s but without any sponsor's name. Under magnification, those in the front rows have tiny blue legs and feet and near the back of the group a tiny flag protrudes.

Drawn by Basil Wolferton, illustrator known as the Michelangelo of Mad Magazine. He's known for his grotesque illustrations, like a man with 7 noses!


The Whitehead & Hoag  Co. Newark, N.J. with union bug and three patent dates: July 17, 1894, April 14, 1896, July 21, 1896.

This one is almost 100 years old and was functional; it can make your car lights work!

From the 1980s; features Epcot's Spaceship Earth, where people ride through a timeline of human communication. Not only inspired by Buckminster Fuller, with the geodesic dome shape, but also Ray Bradbury helped come up with the concept and the story of the ride through time.


Image of Yellow Kid to sell cigarettes! This is an early button from the late 1800s. Unreal, right?


If you were fortunate to see the sneak preview of ET, before it officially came out, you got this button.

1960's button, sold at gift shops.

From the early '70s, when different V.D.s were being talked about.

Contest button that the New York Evening Journal newspaper ran to give away prizes with matching numbers on its funny pages.

ca. 1930s

This is from the streaking sensation of 1974. They must have left the buttons on their clothes while streaking, but it's fun to imagine where they'd wear 'em otherwise.



The detailed illustration counters the actual crude stylings of the original video game, if you remember it.

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Ape Meets Girl
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Pop Culture
Epic Gremlins Poster Contains More Than 80 References to Classic Movies
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Ape Meets Girl

It’s easy to see why Gremlins (1984) appeals to movie nerds. Executive produced by Steven Spielberg and written by Chris Columbus, the film has horror, humor, and awesome 1980s special effects that strike a balance between campy and creepy. Perhaps it’s the movie’s status as a pop culture treasure that inspired artist Kevin Wilson to make it the center of his epic hidden-image puzzle of movie references.

According to io9, Wilson, who works under the pseudonym Ape Meets Girl, has hidden 84 nods to different movies in this Gremlins poster. The scene is taken from the movie’s opening, when Randall enters a shop in Chinatown looking for a gift for his son and leaves with a mysterious creature. Like in the film, Mr. Wing’s shop in the poster is filled with mysterious artifacts, but look closely and you’ll find some objects that look familiar. Tucked onto the bottom shelf is a Chucky doll from Child’s Play (1988); above Randall’s head is a plank of wood from the Orca ship made famous by Jaws (1975); behind Mr. Wing’s counter, which is draped with a rug from The Shining’s (1980) Overlook Hotel, is the painting of Vigo the Carpathian from Ghostbusters II (1989). The poster was released by the Hero Complex Gallery at New York Comic Con earlier this month.

“Early on, myself and HCG had talked about having a few '80s Easter Eggs, but as we started making a list it got longer and longer,” Wilson told Mental Floss. “It soon expanded from '80s to any prop or McGuffin that would fit the curio shop setting. I had to stop somewhere so I stopped at 84, the year Gremlins was released. Since then I’ve thought of dozens more I wish I’d included.”

The ambitious artwork has already sold out, but fortunately cinema buffs can take as much time as they like scouring the poster from their computers. Once you think you’ve found all the references you can possibly find, you can check out Wilson’s key below to see what you missed (and yes, he already knows No. 1 should be Clash of the Titans [1981], not Jason and the Argonauts [1963]). For more pop culture-inspired art, follow Ape Meets Girl on Facebook and Instagram.

Key for hidden image puzzle.
Ape Meets Girl

[h/t io9]

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Kehinde Wiley Studio, Inc., Wikimedia Commons // CC BY-SA 3.0
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presidents
Barack Obama Taps Kehinde Wiley to Paint His Official Presidential Portrait
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Kehinde Wiley
Kehinde Wiley Studio, Inc., Wikimedia Commons // CC BY-SA 3.0

Kehinde Wiley, an American artist known for his grand portraits of African-American subjects, has painted Michael Jackson, Ice-T, and The Notorious B.I.G. in his work. Now the artist will have the honor of adding Barack Obama to that list. According to the Smithsonian, the former president has selected Wiley to paint his official presidential portrait, which will hang in the National Portrait Gallery.

Wiley’s portraits typically depict black people in powerful poses. Sometimes he models his work after classic paintings, as was the case with "Napoleon Leading the Army Over the Alps.” The subjects are often dressed in hip-hop-style clothing and placed against decorative backdrops.

Portrait by Kehinde Wiley
"Le Roi a la Chasse"
Kehinde Wiley, Wikimedia Commons // CC BY 3.0

Smithsonian also announced that Baltimore-based artist Amy Sherald has been chosen by former first lady Michelle Obama to paint her portrait for the gallery. Like Wiley, Sherald uses her work to challenge stereotypes of African-Americans in art.

“The Portrait Gallery is absolutely delighted that Kehinde Wiley and Amy Sherald have agreed to create the official portraits of our former president and first lady,” Kim Sajet, director of the National Portrait Gallery, said in a press release. “Both have achieved enormous success as artists, but even more, they make art that reflects the power and potential of portraiture in the 21st century.”

The tradition of the president and first lady posing for portraits for the National Portrait Gallery dates back to George H.W. Bush. Both Wiley’s and Sherald’s pieces will be revealed in early 2018 as permanent additions to the gallery in Washington, D.C.

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