Section 10 - Metals (Page 1)

The purpose of this section is to provide examples of metal buttons as defined in the NBS Classification Guide1 (Blue Book) including one or more examples of each type in the listings and an example that covers each term in the definitions. No attempt is made to illustrate the wide variety of possibilities in the class/subclass categories. .  Each example is labeled in accordance with the Blue Book Section 10 outline. Passing your mouse over the button image will turn the button over so the back may be seen. In some cases, more than one example of a type is shown. Finally, scanning or photographing buttons has distinct limitations in the areas of perspective, color, details, and dimensions. Thus, many buttons do not reveal their true character and appearance in the photos or scans. When uncertainty exists, ask a fellow collector, club member or a dealer to show you an actual example of the button in question.  A Section 10 metal buttons worksheet has been provided and can be downloaded or printed by clicking the link at the bottom of this page.
Hover your mouse over the button images below to see the back of the button

10-1 White Metals Assorted - Buttons constructed of white metal alloys (appearing white or gray)   

10-1 White Metal - Brass OME

10-1 White Metal - Tinted

10-1 White Metal - BM "Alpaca Mexico"
Nickel plate to imitate Silver

10-1 White Metal - Steel OME

10-2 Aluminum - Button characterized by their light weight compared to other metals

10-2 Aluminum - Cast

10-2 Aluminum - Anodized

10-2 Aluminum - Painted

10-2 Aluminum - Painted & Cut

10-2 Aluminum - Stamped

10-2 Aluminum - Anodized

10-2 Aluminum - Gold paint

10-2 Aluminum - Verbal

10-3 Pewter Assorted - Tin alloyed with varying proportions of lead, zinc, antimony, bismuth or copper

10-3 Pewter

10-3 Pewter - Christina BM

10-3 Pewter - Danforth BM Paint DF

10-3 Pewter - Danforth BM
Cold Plastic Enamel DF

10-3 Pewter - Rimmed
See reference 2, plate 80 for explanation

10-3 Pewter - Faced (BM "Patent")
See reference 2, plate 81 for explanation

10-3.1 Pewter - Bright Cut

10-3.1 Pewter - Bright Cut

10-3.2 Pewter - Hard White (BM)

10-3.3 Pewter - Soft Cast

10-3.3 Pewter - Soft Cast
High lead content - "Plumbago" type

Britannia Pewter

Example not yet found

10-4 Silver Assorted - Usually alloyed with copper to give it strength and hardness

10-4 Silver - BM "N&H + hallmarks"

10-4 - Studio BM "AF - 88"

10-4 Silver - Plate
Used on Bagpiper Costume

10-4.1 American Indian

10-4.2 Hallmarked - (925) Silver (BM)

10-4.2 Hallmarked-Sterling (925) Silver (BM)

10-4.2 Hallmarked-Sterling (930) Silver
(BM) Hallmarks also for Coin (900) and Jewelry (800)

10-4.3 Niello

10-5 Steel Assorted - Attraction to a magnet is a key to identification

10-5.1 Blued/Tinted
Applied to all of the button

10-5.1 Blued/Tinted
Applied to part of the button

10-5.1 Blued/Tinted
Applied to part of the button

10-5.2 Cut and Riveted
Tinted steels on brass base

10-5.2 Cut and Riveted
Black Glass OME

10-5.2 Cut and Riveted (on steel)

10-5.3 Engraved/Etched

10-5.4 Flat with applied design/decoration

10-5.5 Stamped/Forged - Tint

10-5.6 Steel Cup - Brass Center

10-5.6 Steel Cup - Brass Center

10-5.6 Steel Cup - Brass Center

10-5.6 Steel Cup
Brass Center

10-5.6 Steel Cup
Wood Background

10-5.6 Steel Cup
Paint DF

10-5.6 Steel Cup
Shell Center - Watchwheel

10-5.6 Steel Cup - Brass OME

10-5.6 Steel Cup - Brass OME

10-5.6 Steel Cup - Pierced

10-5.6 Steel Cup
Pierced Border/Pearl Center

10-6 Tinned White Metals  - Pure or block tin buttons very rare

10-6 Tin Plated Zinc - Perforate
10-6 Crystallized Tin

10-6 Tin Plated Sheet Iron

10-6 Pure "Block" Tin

Example not yet found.
Thanks to Lou Yeargain, Barbara Barrans, Kevin Kinne, June Chapman, Gloria Badger, Jane Quinby, and Jane Perry who assisted in the development of this educational resource. They provided reviews, comments or other support including images or buttons for the examples shown. Potential labeling issues or suggested improvements should be directed to the Button Country team at Contact Us.

(1) National Button Society Blue Book - Official NBS Classification and Competition Guidelines
(2) Hughes, Elizabeth and Marion Lester.  The Big Book of Buttons. St Johann Press - 2010
(3) Warren K. Tice - Dating Buttons, A Chronology of Button Types, Makers, Retailers & Their Backmarks, 2003