Archive

A selection of buttonhooks which have been sold from 2007.

a pair of Art Nouveau silver handled buttonhook & shoehorn by William Hutton & Sons Ltd, established in 1894 at Hanley Street, Birmingham. This large & well respected firm of silversmiths had a family history of silversmithing going back to 1800 with the first factory being established by William Hutton senior. The classic design of a female head with tresses is by Kate Harris who designed many articles of silverware for Liberty & Co. Both pieces bear the hallmark for London 1903

Item reference: 3180
Dimensions: 8 and 1/2 inches overall
Condition: good original
Price: £65 GB
Status: Sold

It is rare to find any makers marks on the steel shaft of a buttonhook other than STEEL or ENGLISH MAKE STEEL but this example merits a fuller description than usual. Geoffrey Tweedale’s The Sheffield Knife Book describes Thomas Nowill, established in 1700 as a quintessential knife maker. The earliest record of this business is in the books of the Cutlers Company on 27th April 1700 when a corporate mark the letter “D” and a star was granted to Thomas Nowill, “Maker of Knives”.  Thomas Nowill’s great-grandson, Thomas II became Master Cutler in 1788, an honorary title of great prestige in this city of steel making and cutlery manufacture. The range of Nowill’s products was wide, chiefly comprising all types of pen & pocket knives, with all manner of hafting materials – ebony, pearl, buffalo and other horn. These products were usually sold to the firm’s major customers – merchants in Sheffield, Birmingham & London. In 1825 Thomas Nowill retired and left the business to his sons William & John. An 1828 Directory has “William & John Nowill, manufacturers of silver fruit and dessert knives, fancy pen & pocket knives, also nail files, button hooks, stilettos etc. The second of Thomas’s sons, John, set up business in 1836 in Scotland Street, Sheffield, maintaining the Nowill reputation and acquiring a further trade mark in 1842, crossed keys, and won a prize at the Great Exhibition in 1851. An unbroken family history of manufacturing of over 250 years is rare, if not unique in Sheffield cutlers. If you do have a button hook  with crossed keys, star & “D” it is one to treasure. This buttonhook has a sterling silver collar & ebony handle and is hallmarked for Sheffield 1900. The working of the steel bolster where the handle meets the shaft is particularly fine & typical of Nowill’s work.

Item reference: 2416
Dimensions: 11 & 1/4 inches overall
Condition: good original
Price: £25 GB
Status: Sold

an all-silver Victorian foldover chatelaine glove hook by D & L Spiers, established in 1879 at 27 Hylton Street, Birmingham. It is hallmarked for Birmingham 1888.

Item reference: 2952
Dimensions: 1 and 1/2 inches closed
Condition: good original
Price: £35 GB
Status: Sold

Chinese Export all-silver buttonhook by Zee Sung of Shanghai & dating from the early 1900’s. It has an engraved floral cartouche with initial “M”

Item reference: 2496
Dimensions: 9 inches overall
Condition: good original
Price: £66 GB
Status: Sold

an engraved silver handled Edwardian buttonhook by Adie & Lovekin, established at Regent St Birmingham in 1879. It is hallmarked for Birmingham 1910.

Item reference: 2766
Dimensions: 10 inches overall
Condition: good original
Price: £28 GB
Status: Sold

an agate handled button hook with Blue John oval handle. N.B Blue John (also known as Derbyshire Spar) is a semi-precious mineral, a form of fluorite with bands of a purple-blue or yellowish colour. In the UK it is found only at Blue John Cavern and Treak Cliff Cavern at Castleton in Derbyshire. During the 19th century, it was mined for its ornamental value, and mining continues on a small scale.

Item reference: 3016
Dimensions: 4 and 1/2 inches overall
Condition: good original
Price: £25 GB
Status: Sold

an unusual buttonhook from unknown source. The embossed handle is  white metal, very weighty and is capped with a silver plated brass finial and matching ferule to the shank. The shank has remnants of silver plating over copper plating and a nice twist to the shank. No identify marks.

Item reference: 3208
Dimensions: 9 and 1/2 inches overall
Condition: as described above
Price: £25 GB
Status: Sold

a hand carved Whitby Jet glove buttonhook with brass shank

Item reference: 3223
Dimensions: 2 and 3/4 inches
Condition: good original
Price: £22 GB
Status: Sold

a silver handled buttonhook in the form of Mr Punch by Crisford & Norris, established in 1896 at 118 Vyse Street, Birmingham. It is hallmarked for Birmingham 1906

Item reference: 2989
Dimensions: 5 inches overall
Condition: good original, bobbles on his had are intact, they are frequently missing!
Price: £28 GB
Status: Sold

A hand carved Whitby Jet glove hook with picture of the Abbey.

Item reference: 2776
Dimensions: 3 inches overall
Condition: good original
Price: £38 GB
Status: Sold