Foremost: This revision is dedicated to the memory of Paul Rice.
Without his knowledge, dedication, helpful willingness and unselfish sharing, ButtonCountry.Com and this continuing research project would not have been possible. Buttondom cannot thank him enough for all he accomplished in his relatively short time as a collector. I honestly miss him and he is often in my thoughts.
Secondly: With Paul's passing, things began to slightly unravel. At a couple of junctures I feared this research might not continue.
As you'll learn from viewing buttons discovered since the initial posting, there are many exciting finds "out there."
There are 25 new buttons in this revision.
There may be others to discover but at this juncture there are six solid mediums and others hang momentarily.
Four are oblong.
Two are oval.
Some of these won't be in the revision as they were pictures and were lost as explained above.
Caution: If you are entering a tray of 3rd Avenues or using one on a tray, be diligent about measuring!
Your participation is vital to this ongoing research project.
Following are new identifications pictured in the initial web posting. References are from the larger pictures not the worksheetsButton Country Third Avenue buttons PAGE 2
Declaring 3rd Avenue Buttons Division I
The following was sent to Buttonbytes but is being repeated here as not all collectors are members of BB. At this writing there has been no NBS classification declaration that the 3rd Avenue Buttons, sometimes referred to as Austrian silvers, are officially accepted as Division I. Following is an offering of rationale to substantiate their acceptance as such:
1. In 1952 Doctor Charles Bush found and later wrote about the 3rd Avenues. He was informed, by the antique dealer from whom he purchased them, that (quoting from the March 1953 Just Buttons) "They were represented to me as having been brought back from Austria, that they were old, at least fifty years, and they were guaranteed to be late nineteenth century." Obviously places them circa 1900 since he found them in 1952.
2. In Kitty Dillon's NBS article of May 1993, she attempts to undo some misconception in the BBB dating and other info. With permission and quoting from her article: Quote: A misunderstanding about the age of these buttons has caused a certain amount of unhappiness in National competition over the years. Every once in a while a competitor gets measled for using a Third Avenue silver in Division I, the judges believing they belong in Division III. Perhaps they mistakenly equated the "Button King's" products with the modern French white metal buttons. Likewise, they may have been thrown off the track by a notation on page 557 of the Big Book of Buttons, "made in Austria in the 1920's or 1930's." However, the Corrections and Omissions listing published with this book contains the following: "p. 557, nos.20-25, were made prior to World War I, not in the 1920's or 1930's as stated. Unquote.
3. Here are some thoughts from one of Buttondom's most respected collectors, Elizabeth Hughes. With permission and quoting from her email,
4. One tidbit turned up from Joan Lindsay that places further substantiation on this subject and is conveyed with her permission. Sometime ago she purchased a framed tray of 3rd Avenues from a member in her button club. The seller had inherited them from her mother who was an old-time collector from the 40s to 80s. Joan noticed a small typewritten note on the back of the framed buttons that read, Quote: German silver buttons. The manufacturer went broke after making them for only a short time at the turn of the century (19th-20 century). Unquote. Regrettably the daughter did not know where her mother obtained this information. But this was an old time collector, who no doubt, wanted to pass the info on to future recipients. I will run with this and look into such aspects as bankruptcy, if there was such an entity back then, or business closing records, etc. Obviously I don't have a lot of hope due to the "records destruction" aspect mentioned above.
5. For me, nothing more needs saying but will offer this last one from my WWW.ButtonCountry.com 3rd Avenue article titled "From Austria With Love." Quote: On the matter of the back mark and dates of manufacturer, effort has been futile so far but I remain hopeful. Additional specific company info is a long shot since many such records were deliberately destroyed in actions related to the two World Wars. It seems that, based on the literature, the Division I status should be clear. Alas, it is not clear to everyone. In the relatively recent past, a very experienced collector was measled on a Div I pictorial award tray due to a 3rd Avenue button being judged as "not Div I." With the collaboration of Paul Rice, we scoured the pictorial images to see if there is any evidence of subject matter that would cause the dating to spill over into Division III space. We found none. In addition, we looked for images that should have been there if the buttons were made after 1918. We found two interesting "circumstantial evidence" examples. First, we have seen no early aircraft other than a pre-1910 Zeppelin. German airplanes did not emerge into the public view until about 1915. We feel that one or more would be there if these buttons were made during or after WW I. Second, Albert Einstein is one of the most famous Germans known world-wide and should logically show up in Germanic themed buttons. He published his now famous E=mc2 in 1905 and his famous Theory of Relativity in 1916. So where is the Einstein 3rd Avenue? It turns out that his world recognition did not occur until a famous solar eclipse proved his revolutionary theory in 1919 and he was awarded the Nobel Prize in 1922. We conclude he was a little late to the party for the 3rd Avenues. Nevertheless, if I happen to find examples in either of these areas, they will be reported in future revisions. Unquote.
Obviously there are times when Buttondom must make decisions relative to timeframe of manufacture, when cold hard facts are unattainable, by compilation of information. Therefore, in consideration of the info listed above, it is my opinion that these buttons are clearly Division I. Sincerely hope you feel the same so that this issue can be put to rest. I ask that the NBS classifiers designate these totally delightful and mostly rare subject buttons as Division I and a notification be in the next bulletin stating our Classification Guide will contain the designation in the next printing and that the notification can be used for judging 3rd Avenues until it is printed. Far too many properly submitted entry trays have been unjustly measled and we must put a stop to this injustice soonest. I further urge state societies and regional bulletins contain this change as soon as the classifiers act. Club presidents are encouraged to disseminate the information as well. We must use every avenue to disseminate the word to all of Buttondom, after the decision is rendered. I ask the classification folks to put it on Buttonbytes at that juncture. As the word spreads, more 3rd Avenues are being entered in competition; we need this fixed!
Remember, this is an ongoing research project and you can help immensely by sending pictures/buttons of your 3rd Avenues, not listed in this or the initial posting, to Vickaye@yahoo.com. It is just as important that we identify all the buttons so your assistance will also be appreciated in this area. If you do not have picture taking capability, the actual button can be sent and postage reimbursed. These will be included in the 2nd revision as this is a perpetual research project.
Any questions? Send to Bardon56@aol.com. Thanking you beforehand. Don Lanier
With grateful appreciation to our wonderful contributors to this 1st revision