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March 2014 - A China Button Vase

A china button collector recently found an amazing vase made out of china pie-crust buttons on eBay. The stitching is similar to peyote stitch common among some Native American tribes. The stitching appears brown but is actually leaf green where it has not been exposed to sunlight.


This vase came from a seller in the State of Washington. Nothing concrete is know about the origin of this particular lovely vase. To view a higher resolution image, please click on the photo of the vase.

Coincidentally, an article about a similar vase appeared in the February 1969 issue of Just Buttons. The author of the Just Buttons article was equally mystified about the origin of their button vase but speculated that it might have come from French Indo-China. A photocopy of the entire article may be viewed by clicking on the black and white photo.


February 2014 - The Calico Project

A new calico book is in the works! Read about the Calico Project here. Find out how you can help.




January 2014 - Welcome to the new China Button Exchange!


During December 2013, Inga Ladd, a calico collector, volunteered to update The China Exchange. Janet White and Judye Stewart granted permission and gave their blessing. In short order, a new advertisement-free domain was purchased. Broken links were repaired and new information was added.

Since the last update, the NBS Classification System has been revised twice. In 2004, a section for china buttons, separate from ceramics, was added. In 2007, further changes were approved after publication of the article, "A Fresh Look at China Buttons: A Proposed Change to the NBS Classifcation System," in the May 2007 issue of The National Button Bulletin. The proposal resulted in exciting revisions to the China section of the NBS Blue Book




August 2002 - China Workshop in Omaha


The Omaha workshop for beginning china collectors attracted 40 china enthusiasts, from novice to advanced, and offered something for everyone. George Gauthier began the program with an eye-opening presentation of his work on identifying calico patterns. For those of you unable to attend, the secret is understanding that each drawing represents an 11 mm or 7/16" sample of the calico pattern. George also illustrated the subtle differences between several commonly confused patterns. He hopes to publish his complete guide in an upcoming NBS Bulletin.

Other China Exchange members Diane Whisnant, Jerry Brandt, Erma Juergensen, BJ Smyers, Karen Kline, Virginia Croly, and Janet White were on hand with an exhibit featuring a full range of china examples. Pete Nelson displayed a wonderful salesman sample case and a card of unusual gaiter buttons; Millicent Safro sent a card of treasured chinas from the Lorah collection.

After viewing and discussing the buttons present, novices were invited to sort through a small collection of chinas and other tricky lookalikes, learning to identify the common body types available to collectors.

At home in Texas, but with us in spirit, Judye Stewart provided sets of her lovely display cards, awarded in a drawing to two lucky attendees. Everyone present was given educational material prepared by Karen Kline, Judye Stewart, Janet White and Denver Elliott, and invited to join The Exchange.




December 2002 - China Awards for 2003

The December NBS Bulletin includes nine awards for chinas at the 2003 NBS Convention in Richmond, Virginia. This is a great list of china awards and hopefully, something for every china collector.

Award #25 Tender Buttons Award: Div. I Sec. 8 Class 165.1 MIXED Calico Chinas. $50 to winner. Millicent Safro

Award #59 Div. I Sec. 8 Class 165.1 SMALL Calico chinas, specialized to 7 each of six specific colors. In memory of Evelyn Lambdin. $5-3-2. Michigan's TOTM Button Club.

Award #165 Div. IX Sec. 8 Class 165 SMALL. China assorted, specialized to white and/or cream. No other colors allowed. No metal rims. No set in metal. In memory of Martha Smeltzer. $5-3-2. The China Exchange.

Award #166 Div. IX Sec. 8 Class 165 SMALL China assorted, specialized to all-green or green with white or cream. Metal rim or jewel allowed. $3-2-1. Eleanor Elliott.

Award #167 Div. IX Sec. 8 Class 165 SMALL China assorted, specialized to 14 orange, 14 blue, 14 brown. Color may be body or decoration. Other colors may appear on the button. Shades and tints of the color are allowed. $5-3-2. The China Exchange.

Award #168 Div. IX Sec. 8 Class 165 MEDIUM China assorted. $5-3-2. The China Exchange.

Award #169 Div. IX Sec. 8 Class 165.1 SMALL China calicoes, specialized to 21 blue and 21 green. Color may be body or decoration. Shades and tints of each color are allowed. $5-3-2. The China Exchange.

Award #170 Sec. 8 Classes 165.1 + 165.2 + 165.3 + 165.5 + 165.7 + 165.8 L SMALL China assorted specialized to 7 each: calico, stencil, gaiter, two-hole, four-hole, whistle. Try for variety of colors. Limited to those who have never won a ribbon in chinas at NBS. $10-6-4. Janet White and Judye Stewart

Award #171 Sec. 8 Class 165.8 SMALL China whistles. $3-2-1. Eleanor Elliott.




August 2001 - China Fanciers Meet in Denver

At the 2001 National Button Society Meeting in Denver more than seventy china collectors met to exchange information about china buttons...and the China Exchange was born. Jody Behrbaum and Lindy Miller gave collectors a China Quiz to test their knowledge of the history and manufacturing of china buttons. And lots of beautiful buttons that collectors brought were photographed and now appear on this website.




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For more information, please email chinabuttonexchange@gmail.com.