Kathy Doody – Proud Winner of the Ugliest Button Contest

Looking for a fun idea for an upcoming club meeting? Consider a hunt for the ugliest button. The Fingerlakes Button Club did just that.

At the June meeting, members enjoyed presenting their ugliest button for consideration, and everyone got to vote for their favorite. The vote ended in a tie until the mail carrier stepped in and broke it.

Kathy Doody took home the coveted award. The rule is that the winner must keep the award on display in their home for all visitors to see for one year. Then she will bring it back for the next person who wins.


Last week Linda Hickey of the Rochester Button Club was invited to give a talk to residents in the town of Irondequoit on the history of buttons and why people love to collect them as a hobby.

Most everyone knows of at least one family member who has a jar or stash of buttons in their house. But how often do people think about where the button came from, or who wore the button? This everyday object is treated much like a worthless penny. But when one considers how long the button and other closures have been around, the vast quantities, and multitude of materials a button is created from, one starts to think about a button in a more appreciative way.

When Linda presents, it’s not a ‘death by PowerPoint’ slide presentation. Linda supplements her talks with her own personal collection of buttons, books and crafts that she displays on several tables making it easy for her to show real examples of the various types of buttons collectors love. She has everything from metal picture buttons to bone underwear buttons. And Linda encourages attendees to pick them up for a closer look.

Where a lot of collectors look for ‘pretty’ buttons, Linda likes buttons that she believes most people would consider ugly. She also prefers collecting more modern buttons. Despite what she likes to collect, she has a big selection of many types of antique, vintage and current day buttons on cards. Everything from calico buttons, military buttons, celluloid, Bakelite, glass of all colors, vegetable ivory, bone, horn, shell, and then all of the various metals – brass, silver, pewter… the types are endless. In her talk she shares what was popular during various centuries and what’s popular today.

At this session, the attendees expressed a new found appreciation for buttons, and all agreed it was a presentation worth hearing and a hobby worth considering.

If you are interested in having a button club member provide a similar demonstration about buttons, don’t hesitate to contact a club president in your area. The New York State Button Society Presidents are listed in this website under ” Our Clubs.”


This week I received an email from Gavin asking for some button research assistance:

“Hello my name is Gavin and I found a New York State seal button metal detecting. I’m not sure what period it is from and who would he wearing such button. I was wondering if you could help me out and do some research on it. I’m having a terribly hard time finding it online. The back mark says “superior quality.”  Thank you for your time. I look forward to hearing back from you.” 

New York State Seal Cuff Button

Button Back – “Superior Quality”


I shared Gavin’s email with the Google Group “ButtonBytes” and J. Fraizer provided an answer – mystery solved! 


“Your cuff button is a “New York City Seal” button from 1920’s and continued for some time. It would have been worn by uniformed city employees. Police and Fire Dept. had their own buttons. The “Superior Quality” backmark was used by all the major button manufacturers. Hope this helps. J. Frazier”