Competitions for Spring 2018


Information Please! “Ordinary” Shell Button

How many points could you get for this shell button?

Novice and experienced button collectors – get tips on putting a competition tray together with a Zoom Q&A session with Annie Frazier on Sunday, February 21 at 4 p.m. Any questions are welcome but the featured topic will be how to label classifications for the more “ordinary” shell buttons, as above. Hint: Look at the back, maybe not so ordinary!

Back of the “plain” shell button shows its bark and whether it is iridescent or not iridenscent.

Annie will give tips on entering NJSBS’s first virtual shell competition, explained here.

Anyone who clicks through to this post may join the zoom meeting on 2-21 at 4 pm Eastern time and to join by phone use Meeting ID: 822 0686 2694 and call 1 646 558 8656.

TO SUBMIT A QUESTION send a pictures of the button, front and back, to

We will have them either posted or ready to show on the screen.

Questions – call me at 609-759-4804 or


Quilt Square Competition: Popular Vote for Fall 2021

Voting for this competition has been postponed to our in-person show in September.

Here are the requirements for this innovative competition :

 Quilt Block Design from Buttons. Mary Jane Pozarcyki, $15, $10 $5.  Pick your favorite quilt block(s) pattern. Use as many buttons as you want and create that pattern using your buttons of different colors. Craft buttons can be glued to mat board or wood, something like that.  Collectible buttons (especially those with shanks) are to be sewn to fabric or mounted on cardboard with wire. Tip:  You can back your fabric with batting and/or plastic needle point canvas to help stabilize your design, or even frame it in a shadow box frame. Beads may be added to embellish your design. Minimum size 6″ square, maximum.

Popular Vote entry 1Cactus Flower’ pattern
Popular vote entry 2 “Cathedral windows” pattern
#3 Thunderbird


Virtual Button Shows in March 2021

National Button Week is in March – and now, it seems, everyone is responding to make it a month-long celebration! The New Jersey State Button Society continues its study of shell, under the tutelage of Annie Frazier, with a program by another NJSBS member, Jade Papa, who presents The Muscatine Button Queen on Sunday, March 21 at 3 p.m. Eastern Standard Time. The link to register will be available at NewJerseyStateButton and on the state’s Facebook page.

See Joan Lindsey’s excavation into the fascinating topic, Egyptian Buttons on Sunday, March 7 at 1 p.m. Pacific Time (4 p.m. EST) , presented by the Historical Button Club of Northern Idaho. Contact this group at to register.

Simone Kincaid has assembled an intriguing look at Art in Miniature, appealing for both collectors and the general public.  It will be shown on Tuesday, March 9 at 10 a.m. Mountain Time (noon, EST) for the Colorado Button Connection and again on Saturday, March 13 at 1 p.m. Pacific Time (4 p.m. EST) for Simone’s own club, the Historical Button Club of Northern Idaho ( to register).

Vegetable Ivory Buttons is the topic for Wednesday, March 10 at 2 pm Pacific Time (5 pm EST) for the Historical Button Club of Northern Idaho.

 Also good for the general public is Joan Lindsay’s The History of Fashion Through Buttons, on Saturday, March 20 at 1 p.m. Pacific Time (4 p.m. EST) for the Colorado Button Connection. Contact this group at to register.

After Jade Papa’s program on March 21 at 3 p.m. Eastern Standard Time. March as ‘button month’ concludes with a program on Button Crafts, offered by the Colorado Button Connction on Wednesday, March 24 at 10 a.m. Mountain Time.  If you need links to the Colorado Button Connection programs, email To register for the Idaho programs, email Additional programs are available by joining state societies in Colorado, Texas, and Minnesota. Email if you have questions!


Questions from Helene P.

#1 — Would this be considered a carved ocean oyster smoky gray

?#2 — This looks like shell which is set in a brass setting, but I don’t know the proper terminology for it.

#3 — I can’t identify which shell, but it’s laying on top of another, different material (maybe bone?). Again, I don’t know what the classification is for this combination

.#4 — I think this is another carved ocean oyster smoky gray, but it’s a shank button. Is there a carving classification for geometric design

?#5 — This looks like yet another ocean oyster smoky gray, but with a pink shank

.#6 — This one is very small, but has a lot of different features. It’s got concentric circles, with what looks like an etched border, and within that border is shell that has mirror-like metal pieces set into it. Again, I don’t know the correct terms for this#7 –This button has parallel carving on an iridescent shell and has 4 holes. Is there anything unusual to comment about this on

e?#8 — This shank button is very iridescent. I think it’s called rainbow iridescent, and it’s got a deep, metal shank. It’s also carved. It’s pretty, but is it worth using for a competition?

#9 and #10 — Both look like the same type — geometrically-carved ocean oyster smoky gray. Is there anything outstanding about either of these, and which of these 2 should be entered, if at all?

#11 — This looks like a 4-hole mother-of-pearl that’s been carved. The back looks more like mother of pearl than the front. Am I wrong on all of this

#12 — This also looks like mother of pearl, but the carving is diamond shaped. Is it worth using in the competition just on looks, or is there something else about it that I’m missing? (Barbara Fox says — look at my post, the same button, but painted! I’m asking if we take THIS button and paint it ourselves, where does it belong 🙂

#13 — Another mother of pearl, but the carving is different. Is it worth using?#14 — This piece is carved, 4-hole and I think it’s carved rainbow iridescent. Is this one special enough?

#15 — This button is simple, but so beautiful — very much a rainbow iridescent brass shank button. But is it too redundant compared with the other buttons?

#16 — /this is the largest button selected. It’s got a little carving, and it looks slightly iridescent, but more of a dull finish. The interesting part is that it’s very concave/convex. Is there a special name for that type of button?


Information Please: More Shell to Classify


Here’s a novice question. Above is a shell button with a very large metal disk on the back. How does that get classified? Is it an escutcheon on the front and does the circle of the metal escutcheon count for anything?

Is is possible that the shell above meets all these classifications?

11-1 Iridescent shell.

11-4.2 Gilded applied metallic gold

11-5.4 Overlay (versus it being one piece and different colors)

11-7.2 OME metal

11-8.1 carved


pictorial: flowers

Can the shell above be

11-1 Iridescent

11-4.3 Painted (are the black circles painted)

Are the circles and the indentations carved (11-8.1 or

/this shell tray offers possibilities for analysis. How many carved specimens are there? Do any have another category

Thanks to Danielle Nicole who posted it on Button Byhtes.

The Division 1 button above is painted (11-4.3 paint/paint encrusted.) QUESTION: Can we take a Div III button, ordinary and made recently, and add our own painted design so that the button can qualify as painted? Or does that make it a studio button?

First, can you say this is a Division 1 button, i.e. made before 1919. It does not seem well made. The real question is, can you use this button to explain frames? Definition of “frame:” the body of the button forms a frame for a center of any material other than shell. So this ISN”T a frame. Is it shell mounted in metal? Where is that in the blue book? Or is it an OME as in 11-7.2 Metal assorted…including “ornate mountings, cut steel border, rim, elaborate border etc. ”


Shell Classification Quiz AND Zoom Link for 2-21 at 4

Four questions, eight buttons. Let’s do our best and hear what Annie Frazier has to say on Zoom on Sunday, February 21 at 4. Here is the Zoom link. Answers will be posted later.

  1. What classifications do these buttons share? Not share?

2. What classifications do these button share? Not share?

3. What classifications do these buttons share? (the first button has three photos)

4. What classifications do these buttons enjoy and why would you put both on the same tray?

Do you have questions of your own? Send photos. Hint: Use your cell phone far enough away to get a sharp picture, then crop it smaller.


Information Please! Watch Wheel Wisdom from Chris

Chris Parham responded to my watch wheel question: Watchwheel historical tidbit Michigan BS members were docent/curators at a small museum, which had a documented wedding dress/suit soft rust wool w/watchwheel pearls from neck to waist on bodice, & next county over another historic house museum also had a documented wedding dress/bodice with them too, so at least in this region they were possibly a “fad” or perhaps same region seamstress. 

If yours had a watchwheel under the cut steel..Even this one may be suspect, wheel thick, but is separate under the cut steel pin. So I guess that will be my inquiry. Some watchwheels are thin & precise, some less so on otherwise nice quality button…will enjoy hearing more about them. 


Information Please! Help with shell buttons:

For the Zoom Q&A on February 15 at 2 p.m. I will ask — why does this button have concnetric circles of different colors, yet it feels smooth, with everything on the same plane? It’s a thin button, but could thinner layers have been inserted? Sew through with etching, steels, and possible inlay?

For the Zoom Q&A on shell, I am asking — is this a shell button? What material surrounds the shell? Composition? Horn? So is it Composition with inlay pearl and inlay mirrors? (What are the shiny circles called, and what are they called when they are not shiny but black?

This is a ball with mirrors. Is there a better term for it? What is the ball material? Ivory? My grandmother had thse in different sizes and she died in 1953, so I know it’s before then.
The “cage like” nature of this pierced shell button fascinates me. Is there a name for it? It has a yellow metal back. Was it carved from one piece of shell with different layers?
This is an 18th century shell, pierced, with paste. But what the black that shows through? It has a metal back

The surface of this shell with little mirrors is SO bumpy with facets that it almost seeems as if the facets themselvees are what shines. The back is green.
Does the six point star count as a religious symbol or as an astronomical body? Here is another thin button that I think might have been done in layers. Or is it all one piece/
Is this sew through painted or is at transfer or decal. I think it is oyster shell. is t