Coin Buttons!

Tom Hughes

First Sergeant
May 27, 2019

"Coin Buttons" have been so named because of their proximity in size to coins. They are also called "flat buttons". But these brass buttons were popular because of their durability and beauty.
Most were gold plated and some were in silver plate. The process for plating metal had recently come out and became very popular with buttons.
Early in the 19th century, America wasn't manufacturing buttons enmasse. They were mainly imported from England and sold by wholesalers. Sometimes they were stamped with an eagle design to Americanize them for their customers.


They came plain or with beautiful designs. The back of the button sometimes bore the name of their gold gilt process such as "Treble Gilt", "Double Gilt", etc. and the name "colour" was a giveway to their British origins.


This button I recently found still retains much of its gold gilt.
The button is listed as "Andrews & Brothers" Philadelphia and dates to 1820. The company went out of business in 1828.
The company of Andrews & Brothers paid a button manufacturer to have their company name on the back of their buttons. This was a great form of advertising.

Lots of these civilian coin buttons found their way on coats and clothing during the civil war and are found frequently.


Lt. Colonel
Forum Host
Regtl. Quartermaster Shiloh 2020
May 7, 2016
Tom is spot on with the CW connection as many coin buttons have been found in CS camps with the most coming from late war camps. I have found many but no more in one spot there here in Demop and the other parole camps, some are as big as a 1/2 dollar (coat button). It took rereading one of the diary's I have from here that it hit me. They had left Vicksburg after surrendering with only the tattered uniform on their back and traveled by foot, wagon and a little rail to get here and it took some 30+ days to get to these different parole camps. They had just endured a Major siege and battle, they were ragged.

When they got to the these camps they were given 30 days leave and most went home. They returned with what ever civilian clothing they could, plus in the winters of 64 & 65 most Southern towns were holding clothing drives for the troops, as winter clothing for troops was running lean, hence the OLD Southern buttons. One of my favorites is the one with the clock face.