Political Buttons from the Button Museum
Abraham Lincoln with Locking Pin, c. 1864
Collectors say the first buttons in the form we know them today were introduced in 1896, but precursors can be found as far back as the 18th century. This ferrotype of Abraham Lincoln, produced in 1864, the year he was re-elected, was issued with a locking pin on the back. Collectors say pins like this were sold by vendors at campaign rallies or in small quantities to retailers. The item comes from the many thousands of buttons housed at the Button Museum in Chicago, a showcase for the collection of Joel and Christen Carter, who recently launched a website featuring their obsession.