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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November 7, 2011 - 5:57am
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