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on 20 July 2007
Sally Luscomb's Encylopaedia of Buttons, originally published in the mid-1960s, has become a book of pros and cons. Firstly, don't be influenced by famous Schiffer name. This book is very much not in the current style of Schiffer books for collectors. In fact, if you look at the publisher's own website, or even the front cover, you'd be forgiven for thinking that the much cited 3000 illustrations will be in colour. They aren't: this is a book of black & white photographs & drawings, with a very few colour plates. The print quality of many of the photos is relatively poor, the resolution low & contrast inadequate by the standards of to-day.

What you do get is a reference book in A to Z format, with an enormous range of definitions and descriptions relevant to the button world. Styles, origins, backs, marks, manufacturers, designers, materials: just about everything is covered. The written definitions and descriptions are excellent. A little research with this publication will leave you able to give your buttons the terminology they deserve. Shanks, for example, are described in detail, not just by construction method but also the periods in which they were used.

The best illustrated and described sections of the encyclopaedia concern the up-market, antique, buttons. The collectables, in their present sense, have little coverage. This, then, although a comprehensive reference work, is not a book that will be very helpful if you want to find out more about the everyday buttons of yesteryear, be they 19th or 20th century.
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on 18 December 2014
All excellent
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