While we were touring antique flea markets and asking people about
buttons, we’d often heard people tell us to look for ________and
__________. That’s all they have is buttons! I don’t want to
use the real names, so let’s call them Bertram and Ernest. So everywhere
we went we asked dealers if they knew if Ernest was at the market. We
only asked for Ernest because we’d forgotten the partner’s name!
No, no one ever knew of him.
One day on another beautiful day in London! we took the tube to Covent
Garden Market—on a Monday for that’s the day it’s an antique market.
Huge. We asked about Ernest, my daughter busy with looking at
jewelry and books, feigning great interest in old buttons, but again,
no one knew of him. One dealer assured me he wasn’t there. She was
sure of it because she’d been “doing” this market for thirty years. But
she suggested we could try the next market over.
You mean there’s more? Sure enough, there was the section called The
Jubilee Market. Huge. Still part of Covent Garden Market. Have you
heard of the ‘died and went to heaven’ reaction? That was us (we).
I decided to forget about Ernest and just look for buttons and old stuff.
One dealer had a table full of tinies–all precious and old and nothing
less than 80 Pounds, etc. I asked if he knew where a dealer named
Ernest might be. Voila! “I’m Ernest!” he said.
Ha! He stood there wearing a logo t-shirt, forgot what logo, with a
rosary around his neck for decoration I assume. He didn’t have his
buttons with him! Just two minor cards with Austrian metal tinies.
Which I bought–a couple are cute:
The four that are the cuter ones are:
Anchors at either end, crown over the one at right. No, actually that one
far over on the left has a horsehoe. Then a nice little brass bow, and the
red and brass one is interesting because the red part is velvet.
Ernest suggested that I look for “Shirley” down the way who had buttons. Before I found
Shirley, though, I found Madeline and she had some goodies which I bought:
And two old military buttons—I like the helmet on one, and the crossed bugles on the
other–that one has a decorative backmark: wreath, etc, no text.
I think they’re French—haven’t checked yet.
And best of all were these two big two inch buttons—nice, aren’t they?
Thank you, Madeline!
Then I found “Shirley”. Goodness! Goodness! Three or four very large baskets full of
carded buttons she had made up. Goodness. What a find. I’m surprised I ever left
that booth and came home to Pennsylvania. Maybe someday I can go back. It was
very difficult to choose what to buy. I had pretty much run out of spending money,
though they thoughtfully have an ATM right on the premises . . .
It seemed like she had nothing ordinary. I’d be showing you a terrific red glass anchor
button in a minute except it turned out to be a belt attachment. Not a button. So I
put it down. And a wonderful striped Bakelite piece, again, a belt attachment. I was
in the buckles basket I guess. Not that I didn’t love them, just that had to draw the
line somewhere. What’d I buy? These:
Will it let you click to enlarge? Upper left is a great Bakelite piece, going
clockwise is a card of Edwardian mother-of-pearl with an unusual shape;
then a red and white Lucite button, and finally three wonderful old
Celluloid floral pieces.
Thank you, Shirley. Thank you Covent Garden Market. (My daughter
came home with an armful of books.)