Buttons on their original cards by the same maker.
Virtue, Liberty,and Independence is the state motto of Pennsylvania. The motto of was officially adopted in 1875. The meaning of the Pennsylvania State Motto reflects the attitude & hope of the people of New York following the outbreak of the War Of Independence in 1775-1783.
The images of horses, eagle, wheat, plow & boat are all on the state flag of Pennsylvania.
These brite cut buttons with brass birds were used on a wedding dress in 1886. White wedding dresses became popular in 1840 after Queen Victoria married Prince Albert. Before that, wedding dresses came in many colors.
During the Middle Ages & Renaissance, colors had symbolic meanings and wedding dresses were made in a range of colors. Blue was a popular choice as it represented chastity but brides also choose colors like green, red & yellow.
Whether you call him Neptune or Poseidon, this god of the sea was a favorite mythological design on Victorian buttons. He is always pictured with his trident, & sometimes on a shell or with seahorses. Here are a few of his many incarnations.
Several types of Victorian metal picture buttons with dragons and winged beasts. Includes one depicting Saint George slaying a dragon.
Antique Victorian crane buttons made in Paris, France, on original card with blue metallic tint. The crane, stork, or heron are 3 similar looking birds with similar symbolism dating to ancient times. Fifteen species of crane inhabit five continents.
Greek & Roman myth described the dance of cranes as one of love, joy & a celebration of life. The crane was associated with the sun god Apollo & is a sign of Spring. In Japanese, Chinese & Korean culture, the cranes fabled lifespan of 1000 years has made it a symbol of longevity, immortality & happiness.
The Japanese Crane has a red crown & white body. It stands nearly 5ft tall, with a wingspan of more than 6ft & is considered one of the most magnificent. These large & powerful wings were believed to carry people to higher levels of spiritual enlightenment & souls to paradise. The Japanese refer to the crane as “the bird of happiness;” the Chinese as “heavenly crane,” believing it to be a symbol of wisdom.
I often wonder about the reasoning behind some design choices of button manufacturers in the 19th century. Some designs include everyday objects such as the corner of a lacy handkerchief, dice, horseshoes, buckles, bows, tassels, wreaths, fringed pillows, shells, medieval weaponry, umbrellas, plant containers, vases & more. The design on the large unused buttons of this card are a decorative box on a fancy lace doily.
Different types of lion buttons. Top:Storybook button of Sampson Wresting the Lion. Middle: Doorknocker style brass figural lion heads. Bottom: Heraldry style lion with shield.