Newsletter

Join The Club!

FAQs
Treasure Topics

Part I: Button Basics - How to Properly Identify Buttons When Metal Detecting

subscribe button

If you have been metal detecting long enough you will undoubtedly dig a metal button.  It is always a thrill finding a button in good enough shape to identify and track the history to its origin. Once you do find your first specimen, you will most likely find yourself on the web digging to find some glimpse of where and when it was utilized.

The average person may consider a button a rather boring item to find metal detecting.  The true metal detectorist, as a relic hunter anyway, is also a historian of sorts.  If they aren't when you start the hobby, they will soon, inadvertently become one.  This being said, I figured I would begin a series of blogs to dig into the topic of historic metal buttons.

To begin, we will start with the basics - types of buttons.  There are three different major classification groups or "types" of buttons.

 

Type I - One-Piece Buttons

One piece buttons come in two varieties:
The first variety of one-piece buttons is a cast or molded button which is made by pouring molten metal (typically pewter, lead, or brass) into a mold.  These buttons have a "shank," which is the little loop piece on the back that is normally sewed onto the fabric, that is an integral part of the button's design.  Some of these molded button's shanks are drilled to create the hole. 
The second variety of one-piece buttons are "struck" or stamped on a disk with a wire type eye or loop shank that is typically fastened by brazing.

Type I buttons are typically "flat buttons" with the brass buttons typically gilt with gold.

Type II - Two-Piece Buttons

This type of button is constructed of a front shell upon which the "device" is struck.  There is a back plate where a wire loop shank is fastened by brazing.  This back plate often carries a lot of information such as the "backmark" which is an identifier as to who made the button.  The two pieces are fastened together by turning the edge of the shell over the back piece.  Confederats frequently fastened the shank with solder that was a mixture of lead and tin.

Two-piece buttons usually have a convex front shell and are gilt.

Type II - Staff Buttons

The staff button was produced by a company that many metal detectorists are familiar with as the name can be found frequently on the back of buttons - The Scoville Company.  These buttons first arrived on scene in the 1830's for Army staff officers.  They are very similar to two-piece buttons except that the front and back pieces are held together with a separate piece of flat metal that conjoins the pieces around the rim.

These buttons are also typically gilt and convex in design.

Stay tuned to our blog for upcoming articles and episodes by following us on your favorite social media outlet to stay informed of releases:

YouTube:  HighPlainsProspectors

Facebook:  @highplainspropsectors

Instagram:  #highplainsprospectors

Twitter:  @HProspectors

You Might Be Interested In

Equinox 900 Bundles

Choose from multiple different moneys saving bundles and get the gear you need.

Sand Scoops & Beach Gear

Check out our sand and beach scoops. Several different styles available.

Coin & Relic Cleaning Supplies

Pair text with an image to focus on your chosen product, collection, or blog post. Add details on availability, style, or even provide a review.
New, Open Box - Detector Pro Gray Ghost Amphibian II Headphones, Garrett AT Series
14% off
Detector Pro Gray Ghost Amphibian II Headphones, Garrett AT Series

New, Open Box - Detector Pro Gray Ghost Amphibian II Headphones, Garrett AT Series

Sale price
$206
Regular price
$237
New Closeout White's 9.5″ Sport Search Coil
Sold out
White's 9.5″ Sport Search Coil Search Coils & Covers White's Electronics, Inc.

New Closeout White's 9.5″ Sport Search Coil

Sale price
$83
Regular price
$206
Slightly Used NEL Thunder for Garrett Ace Series Metal Detectors
Sold out
Slightly Used NEL Thunder for Garrett Ace Series Metal Detectors
1

Slightly Used NEL Thunder for Garrett Ace Series Metal Detectors

Sale price
$205
Regular price
$242
Whites Padded Gun Style Detector Bag
14% off
Whites Padded Gun Style Detector Bag White's Metal Detectors White's Electronics, Inc.
3

Whites Padded Gun Style Detector Bag

Sale price
$59
Regular price
$68
Busted Box New NEL Storm for Garrett Ace Series Metal Detectors
23% off
Busted Box New NEL Storm for Garrett Ace Series Metal Detectors

Busted Box New NEL Storm for Garrett Ace Series Metal Detectors

Sale price
$191
Regular price
$246
New Old Stock - Detector Pro Gray Ghost Amphibian Headphones, Garrett AT Series
19% off
Damaged Box New - Detector Pro Gray Ghost Amphibian Headphones, Garrett AT Series

New Old Stock - Detector Pro Gray Ghost Amphibian Headphones, Garrett AT Series

Sale price
$193
Regular price
$237
New Closeout - Whites Black Deluxe Metal Detecting Trash & Treasure Apron
Sold out
New Closeout - Whites Black Deluxe Metal Detecting Trash & Treasure Apron

New Closeout - Whites Black Deluxe Metal Detecting Trash & Treasure Apron

Sale price
$5
Regular price
$21
Used and Demo Metal Detectors For Sale

Shop All

Used and Demo Metal Detectors and Gold Prospecting Equipment