Button Gallery

A Visual Guide to Classifying Buttons

The purpose of this gallery is to provide insight for new collectors on how buttons fit in the National Button Society classification system. The examples shown are from the collections of National Button Society members who have collaborated in this educational effort. Each thumbnail below is labeled by NBS material or type. Clicking on the thumbnail will take you to examples of buttons in that section as defined in the current NBS Classification and Competition Guidelines (Blue Book). Each button in the individual sections is labeled according to the Blue Book class or subclass being illustrated. Some labels include additional attributes but there is no intention to identify all features. In other words, this resource provides one or more visual examples for every type of button cited in the Blue Book sections referenced below. On any page visited, the "Section Pages" drop down menu at the top right will allow moving to any another Blue Book section. In addition to the fifteen material sections of the Blue Book, the links below include educational resources for 18th Century buttons, all documented back types, Studio Buttons, and Patterns.  The last thumbnail link below takes you to an index of button worksheets that cover all the sections listed below.

Section 1

Section 2

China Gingham
Section 3

Couter Enamel
Section 4

Embroidered Bead Rim
Section 5

Black Glass Screen
Section 6
Black Glass

Section 7
Clear & Colored Glass

Glass in Metal
Section 8
Glass in/on Metal

Horn Silver Inlay
Section 9

Metal Cup
Section 10

Shell Owl with OME
Section 11

Synthetic Polymer-Pattern
Section 12
Synthetic Polymers

VI Birmingham Trade
Section 13
Vegetable Ivory

Wood Inlay
Section 14

Other Materials-Cinnabar
Section 15
Other Materials

Section 22-1

Hollow Back Meissen
Section 23-3
Back Types/Shanks

Studio-Mary Gaumand
Section 23-11

Section 24
Eighteenth Century