The Button


My neighbor called me over a few nights ago for me to see the buttons she had found in her mother’s button box. This box apparently contained some of her grandmother’s buttons as well.

She had the buttons all over her dining room table – small piles of very minute white buttons(these were so small, the thought of making buttonholes for them and actually using them was mind boggling!), black shoe buttons(for the high black shoes they wore with the buttons on the side, there was a special hook to go with this), buttons with small rhinestones in the center, some really large buttons(these looked like something used as an accent on a coat or hat) and metal buttons. Many were just single buttons and we sat there sifting through them and admiring the craftsmanship of some of them.

I picked one up, apparently brass, heavily tarnished, “this looks like a military button.” She picked it up, “There’s writing on the back…J H Wilson, Philadelphia” And it has a N C on the front. Wonder what that is?”

Her husband pipes up, “It’s a Civil War button.” “How do you know that?” He grins, brings over his laptop, “it’s here.”

It looked like two horses on the button and the N C. “Do you think it’s a Confederate button from the Civil War?!” She looks further, “oh! oh! It could be worth $259! Oh!”
I asked, “one question, how would a confederate button get into your mother’s button box?” “Oh, she used to go to a lot of auctions, maybe she picked it up there.”

On my way home, I dreamt up this encounter her grandmother might have had with a dashing confederate officer and this button was what he had left behind and she had kept it all her life and it ended up in the button box.

I decided to go online and check it out myself…here it was a National Guard button, not North Carolina…N G, not N C. Not a Civil War button at all…and worth $5, not $259.

Oh well…we had an exciting few minutes…but I still like the storyline about her grandmother and the dashing confederate officer better…

til next time…Eva


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