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The dating of buttons is a matter of present study. Since button collecting, as an organized hobby, goes back only to 1938, much research remains to be done. In this book, we have not attempted to do more than indicate centuries, and occasionally suggest dates in accordance with certain present-day knowledge.
We are often questioned about values. For buttons, there is nothing comparable to Scott's Stamp Catalogue of values for stamps, and prices of buttons today are mostly a matter of personal transaction. There are, however, several books that offer appraisals.
A warning about fakes, reproductions, and sharp practices is necessary in any discussion of button collecting, but what field of collecting has ever come of age without having to sound warnings? You must always realize that there are pitfalls, know where they exist, and learn to avoid them. There is no surer way of falling into them than by not knowing about them. Unfortunately no sure rules can be given for telling a genuine old button. It is not that simple, but a matter of knowledge. You must learn. The problem is just about the same as for the collector of glass, silver, stamps, or any thing else. Painstaking study, thorough museum acquaintance with authentic buttons, exchange of ideas and experiences with other collectors, and the discrimination, which comes only through experience, are all involved in the development of button-collecting wisdom.
Buttons For You:
Your own taste, interest, and perhaps opportunity will indicate the line of your own collecting. In this Sampler you will be introduced to every important collectible type, generally available or rare. You will find that you can assemble buttons "by subject" as in flower, portrait, or animal categories; "by materials," as metal, ceramic, ivory or pearl; or even "by use," as military. Which now shall it be? It will be a pleasure to find the fascinating answer.