Every so often I like to browse through antique malls looking for the rare item that some antique dealer doesn't want to bother with. This week I found a jar of buttons priced rather high, but I could tell there were a lot of very old buttons in it. So I bought the jar and went home to sift through them.
There were many very old beautiful victorian glass buttons. There were also many victorian picture buttons. I even found some civil war era military buttons. But the button that stood out the most was a black button with the cameo of two men on it.
I know the history behind the goodyear buttons, and this button was labeled "Goodyear's N.R. Co. P=T" on the back. Charles Goodyear held the patent for hard rubber, and buttons made of hard rubber had his patent information before the patent expired. The front was labeled "seymour & blair 1868". The button was in very good condition and the cameos showed every detail. After a brief internet search I was able to determine that the button was a rare political button made of hard rubber. There are apparently 3 known varieties. One has two frogs on it, and another is of two other famous men. This is the third, and it commemorates the Horatio Seymour who ran against U.S. Grant in 1868 for the presidency.
This rare button sells for about $150.00 to button and Civil War collectors. I have seen a lot of jewelry made of buttons, and this is one case where it is good to know your buttons before you make them into jewelry.