Archive

A selection of buttonhooks which have been sold from 2007.

a miniature folding penknife type glovehook, these are sometimes described as Christmas cracker novelties

Item reference: 2996
Dimensions: 1 inch closed
Condition: good original
Price: £10 GB
Status: Sold

an Edwardian  silver handled buttonhook with Citrine stone finial by Adie & Lovekin, established in 1879 at 23 Frederick Street, Birmingham. It is hallmarked Birmingham but the date letter is rubbed.

Item reference: 3345
Dimensions: 9 and 3/4 inches overall
Condition: handle is worn with surface marks
Price: £15 GB
Status: Sold

Nr 5 of 5 larger & heavier silver handled BOOT HOOKS. These were used by ladies to close buttons on Victoria/Edwardian stiff leather boots, also longer to cope with bending in tight corsets which were the fashion of the day! The longest by far of the five examples at an impressive 14 and 1/2 inches. The silver handle is hallmarked for London 1889 and bears Queen Victoria’s head on the assay mark.

Item reference: 2818
Dimensions: 14 and 1/2 inches overall
Condition: good original
Price: £35 GB
Status: Sold

a Victorian silver handled buttonhook by William Devenport, established in 1895 at 36 Spencer Street, Birmingham. It is hallmarked for Birmingham 1901

Item reference: 3028
Dimensions: 8 inches overall
Condition: good original
Price: £7 GB
Status: Sold

all-silver American glove hook marked STERLING 5804

Item reference: 2700
Dimensions: 2 and 3/4 inches overall
Condition: good original
Price: £20 GB
Status: Sold

a silver handled buttonhook with embossed design of a peacock displaying its feathers by Francis Webb, established in 1887 at 19 Great Hampton Street, Birmingham. It is hallmarked for Birmingham 1908

Item reference: 3027
Dimensions: 6 and 3/4 inches overall
Condition: good original
Price: £8 GB
Status: Sold

an unusual brass shank glove hook with glass enamel multi coloured ball terminal

Item reference: 3225
Dimensions: 2 and 1/2 inches overall
Condition: good original
Price: £28 GB
Status: Sold

a figural silver handled buttonhook in the form of a panther by  Adie & Lovekin,  established in 1879 at Regent Street, Birmingham. The hallmark is rubbed but records from the Buttonhook Society confirm this design made from 1897-1901

Item reference: 2987
Dimensions: 6 and 5/8 inches overall
Condition: good original
Price: £45 GB
Status: Sold

a rare example of an agate handled BOOT buttonhook with silver collar. The handle is  New Zealand South Island greenstone, known as Pounamu or nephrite jade. It is important in Maori culture & is simply marked STERLING so probably made for the export market, possibly by George Edward Walton who made a number of similar NZ jade items

Item reference: 3049
Dimensions: 12 inches overall
Condition: slight misalignment of steel shaft
Price: £40 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 Victorian buttonhook is in fact a BOOT hook & one of the longest I have come across at 18 and 1/2 inches. It has a sterling silver collar & ebony handle and is hallmarked for Sheffield 1889. The working of the steel bolster where the handle meets the shaft is particularly fine & typical of Nowill’s work.

Item reference: 3038
Dimensions: 18 & 1/2 inches overall
Condition: good original
Price: £35 GB
Status: Sold