History in a Button!
Our most recent outing in Virginia yielded many different buttons. Most of these were plain, one-piece brass buttons. A few, however, were much more interesting. Two of these will be discussed below.
The first is a rare Marquis de Lafayette button made to commemorate his second visit to the United States in 1824. He was a hero of the Revolutionary War and is considered a national hero in both the US and France. This button retains a heavy gold gilding on the front and back. The backmark reads, "L. H. & Scovill Extra". Based on this backmark the button would have been manufactured prior to 1827.
The second button appeared to be just a plain, one-piece and was bagged up with the rest. It wasn't until it was properly cleaned that it's secret was revealed. This button turned out to be a patriotic issue commemorating the British victory by the Duke of Wellington against Napoleon Bonaparte at the Battle of Waterloo. This took place in 1815, and the buttons were produced not long after to commemorate that historic day. It's plain on the face which makes it a "backnamed button". This was a common practice for patriotic and inaugural buttons of that time period. This is a great example of why you should always closely examine your discoveries.