But my favorite items to see or find at a sale, is a jar or cookie tin full of old buttons. Think about what this collection represents. When times were tough as people were farming and ranching central and western America, they had to use and make due with what they had on hand. As children clothes wore out after being passed down several times to younger children, the thin fabrics would be cut up and made into quilts and the buttons cut off to be used again on some other hand made garment or to repair a lost button. Sometimes the jars yield other treasurers like old shoe buttons from the 1880s, pieces of jewelry or even little bits of toys, belt buckels. When my mother died, we found several jars of old buttons, one was full of bone and abalone buttons, which I just cherish in my collection today. It seems to most people now such a waste of time to cut buttons off clothes, easier to just toss the stained or worn out blouse in the trash. But if you sew and need to purchase buttons, you will be surprised at how expensive 4 little buttons cost now. I have my old buttons sorted into colors to make looking for the right ones much easier.
Button saving is re-cycling started over 150+ years ago.