Portrait of a Collector: Pat Wagner







Meet Pat Wagner, whose beautiful necklace earned second prize by popular vote in the Fall 2019 show. (We’re sorry we don’t have a good photo of Pat, but here is her necklace!) The competition was ‘right up her alley” because, in addition to 18thcentury and early 19th century  buttons, she has also bought and sold vintage clothing, jewelry, and beads.

Pat tells how, for 25 years, she worked on a farm raising race horses and going to auctions on the weekend. “In the late ‘80s I bought one of those small four-drawer chests, brimming full of buttons for $40. I spent the whole winter with the red book (the Big Book of Buttons). I still wasn’t a collector, just an accumulator. I didn’t belong to a club, didn’t compete. Then I met a collector. She went through every button I had and made piles. I didn’t know values, I didn’t know materials, I just  gave them to her. I have lots of regrets!” Though Pat has a transportation problem, she likes to collect antique clothing, beads – and 18th century and early 19th century buttons. But not on the internet. “I like to touch and feel. I try to find people who say they have their grandmother’s or great grandmother’s buttons. If they have their mother’s buttons I am not even interested.”



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