Buying Buttons on Ebay
by Natalie Ostin

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This is not meant to be an exhaustive how-to. It is to be a summary of my experience buying buttons on Ebay. I honestly think that Ebay is the best place to buy buttons, based on the prices I have seen in antique shops. Unless you happen to stumble upon a great deal at a garage sale or estate sale, this is my advice to you as an avid Ebay button shopper:

Go for big lots. The bigger the better.

Put “box lot buttons” in your search engine on Ebay to find, in my opinion, the best values. I have made several purchases this way. The first time I bought buttons this way, I got 12 pounds of buttons. The seller’s ad said that she had lots of treasures in there, but didn’t feel up to sorting and categorizing everything. I purchased this lot for a good price (less than $30) and was very pleased with what I received. The photos on the Ebay listing were bad, but I had faith. What I ended up with was lots of old glass, wooden, vegetable ivory and other nice old buttons. The plastic buttons included were nice.

I have since purchased several lots of buttons on Ebay. I always went for lots that were at least 3 pounds.

My theory: look at the photos and see if there is enough that you can spot in the photos that tickle your fancy. Any plain white shirt buttons that you get can be dyed with RIT. One lot that I purchased was obviously listed by someone who had no idea what they were selling. They just showed one bag each, black/gray, tan/brown, and white. The white buttons turned out to be predominantly mother-of-pearl. The tan/brown buttons contained lots of veggie ivory buttons. Other lots promised lots of glass buttons, etc. Like I said, just look at the photos; find enough in there that appeals to you. If you are nearly as crafty as I am, you will find a place for the rest. I have actually grown so attached to my hoard of buttons, that I am very reluctant to share, in spite of the fact that they total over 25 pounds now.

Have fun! Avoid those specialty button sales and take a gamble! You may wind up with some treasures for cheap!!!!!!!!