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  #1  
Old 31-01-17, 12:54 PM
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btns btns is offline
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Default military buttons. Are only officers' buttons collectable?

This weekend I came across a militia button, 25 mm (2nd Somerset; my guess c. 1855-c.1876). It is well made, but of the cheapest material one could order. I am not sure if it is pewter or tin-plated iron. Stamping its back with a name was obviously too expensive. There is no doubt that it is an 'other ranks' button.

Most buttons shown on this forum are high quality officers' buttons.
What is it? Do collectors go for shiny objects only?
Are other ranks buttons passed over or are they seldom found?
Let me have your opinions please.
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  #2  
Old 31-01-17, 01:26 PM
charlie962 charlie962 is offline
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I suspect you are much better informed on buttons subjects than most of us. The following thoughts must influence people?
-For early (200+ yrs) buttons it is more likely to be the OR's versions, eg in pewter, that survive whereas officers versions were often more delicate- bone, cloth and other perishables. -particularly for battlefield or metal detector finds.
-A good condition officer's button is often a little work of art.
-Officers' uniforms were perhaps better cared for than ORs' and are more likely to have survived, carrying a decent quantity of buttons.
-production quantities should mean there is greater availability of ORs' buttons
-ORs buttons are more likely to be polished thus losing detail/appeal whereas officers were gilt?
-Overall one would expect to see more ORs buttons therefore lower prices thus perhaps collected but not discussed much because of this low value? A bit perverse logic because as with all badges the interest I think is what they represent, regardless of 'rank'?
-Charlie
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  #3  
Old 31-01-17, 02:19 PM
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Eddie Parks Eddie Parks is offline
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ORs' uniform and thus the buttons were regimental property while officers' uniforms were privately owned. ORs' uniforms had to be handed in when worn out or the owner discharged, they were then reduced to rag. I think some items of uniform could be retained but they were stripped of buttons, lace etc?

Officer's uniforms were mothballed, folded up and put away in the attic!

Thus more officers' uniforms and accoutrements survive.

Any real regimental collector will cherish ORs' buttons just as much as officers' ones.

Eddie
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Old 31-01-17, 03:17 PM
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Cribyn Cribyn is offline
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Hello btns

I agree entirely with Eddie's comments. Other rank's buttons are just as collectable!

Roger
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  #5  
Old 31-01-17, 03:28 PM
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Hi Chaps,

An interesting thread with some thought provoking comments.

As a relatively new Militia Button collector, I must confess my modest collection thus far has only included silver or gilt (officers) examples.

However, my personal intention was not to focus on officers examples to the exclusion of OR's examples but rather my own preference is on condition and I just have seen so few OR examples period, let along examples in a condition that would appeal to me personally.

I'm not sure why it is that I have seen so few good OR militia buttons But would for would not pass up a nice example.

Just my tuppence worth..

Cheerio,

Roy
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  #6  
Old 31-01-17, 04:15 PM
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Tiger Pete Tiger Pete is offline
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I guess it depends what one''s interests are, but for me I collect buttons within my area of interest regardless of rank. The caveat being that they should be in as good a condition as possible (I.e., unless rare).

KR,

Pete.
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  #7  
Old 31-01-17, 05:17 PM
Advsmt Advsmt is offline
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Interesting thread. I collect "stuff" associated with the regiments that my family served with, so basically all the Scottish regiments and their anticedents. Buttons are a new addition for me, and as my relatives were all, bar a couple, O/Rs that is what I collect. I also found it initially surprising that O/R buttons were much scarcer than officers, the reverse of cap badges. When I asked a couple of specialist button dealers they said there was not much call for O/R buttons from serious collectors and consequently carried very few examples. Those that I have seen especially for the Regimets of Foot go for high prices and are keenly fought over on eBay. What I do see are the battlefield "dug" examples which seem to appear with great regularity. It does make you wonder if these are legitimately acquired? Maybe no worse than WW1 battlefield finds?

Bryan
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Old 31-01-17, 08:37 PM
charlie962 charlie962 is offline
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I get the feeling nowadays that 'barrack dug' probably outnumber 'battlefield dug'?
Given that during WW1 most soldiers wore the GS button, there cannot be that many varieties for that period?

Charlie
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  #9  
Old 31-01-17, 08:53 PM
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btns btns is offline
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Thank you all for your responses. They are much appreciated and confirm my own ideas.

To summarise:
Officer buttons have been retained for a longer period of time (being private purchase) than O/R buttons.
O/R uniforms were handed in, sold off to the rag industry and processed. Reusable wool was sold to the shoddy industry and the waste (with the buttons) was used as fertiliser on fields. High quality livery buttons survive relatively well on a field (and bleep like a coin). O/R buttons rot away, may be excluded by the detector's settings, or are thrown out by the man who found them.

Non dug officer quality buttons are more desirable, sell faster and are more expensive(?). Higher appreciation gives them a higher survival rate than O/Rs' buttons. Statistically it means that O/Rs' buttons will disappear faster over time.
For non-dug items: older designs have a higher percentage of officer buttons, more recent designs have a higher percentage of other ranks buttons.

If you collect items from a particular regiment: give preference to the oldest O/R buttons you can get over officers' buttons of the same era.
As I tend to go for unappreciated buttons I have more O/Rs' than officers' buttons.

Here are pictures of the 2nd Somerset militia button. The pewter is a hard, brittle alloy.
Attached Images
File Type: jpg IMG_1841s.jpg (97.1 KB, 22 views)
File Type: jpg IMG_1842s.jpg (92.9 KB, 14 views)

Last edited by btns; 01-02-17 at 11:27 AM.
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  #10  
Old 31-01-17, 09:01 PM
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Hi btns,

Thank you for that summation, some very interesting perspectives have been thrown up on this thread. It is certainly making me think I should perhaps pay a bit more attention to OR's examples.

Thank you also for sharing your 2nd Somerset example and just for comparison, here is my 'officers' example of the same button.

Cheerio,

Roy
Attached Images
File Type: jpg ? 0022.jpg (34.8 KB, 19 views)
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  #11  
Old 02-03-17, 05:24 PM
Lady of Doune Lady of Doune is offline
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Default OR Buttons

It was nice to see the responses to the question of OR buttons. I collect uniform buttons too, mostly from the UK, and the US, but also from other countries. I too feel it is the connection to the history that counts. There is so much to learn in connection with these small tangible bits of history.
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  #12  
Old 02-03-17, 06:37 PM
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Hello Lady of Doune,

Welcome to the forum and well said - couldn't agree more.

I note you are over there in beautiful Oregon, a state I know quite well having traveled through it on many occasions. Some parts are so green with rolling hills it reminded me of my home county of Shropshire in England - although on a rather nice day I might add !

Cheerio,

Roy
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