Archive

A selection of buttonhooks which have been sold from 2007.

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

an Edwardian silver handled boot buttonhook by William Neale & Sons, established in 1870 at 29 Warstone Lane, Birmingham. It is hallmarked for Chester 1902. The steel shaft also retains it’s original silver plated finish. One of two larger & heavier silver handled BOOT HOOKS. These were used by ladies to close buttons on Victorian/Edwardian stiff leather boots, also longer to cope with bending in tight corsets which were the fashion of the day!

Item reference: 2922
Dimensions: 14 inches overall
Condition: good original
Price: £40 GB
Status: Sold

a  brass glovehook fighting sword with agate handle

Item reference: 2747
Dimensions: 4 inches overall
Condition: good original
Price: £45 GB
Status: Sold

a STERLING handled figural buttonhook with Art Nouveau stylised lady. No makers marks but similar to many similar figural ladies by Unger Bros of Newark, New Jersey USA

Item reference: 3064
Dimensions: 6 and 3/4 inches overall
Condition: good original
Price: £30 GB
Status: Sold

a figural silver handled buttonhook by Thomas Henry Vale, established in 1899 at Frederick Street, Birmingham. It has a Registered Nr and is hallmarked for Birmingham 1913 Only one other example of this African head buttonhook has been recorded by the Buttonhook Society

Item reference: 2961
Dimensions: 6 and 7/8 inches overall
Condition: good original
Price: £120 GB
Status: Sold

a 15ct (tested) gold handled glove hook, probably French

Item reference: 2873
Dimensions: 3 inches overall
Condition: good original
Price: £55 GB
Status: Sold

an American novelty celluloid buttonhook in the form of a jockey with scarlet racing colours

Item reference: 3332
Dimensions: 5 and 1/2 inches overall
Condition: good original
Price: £15 GB
Status: Sold

a silver handled buttonhook –  possibly French with embossed mistletoe decoration

Item reference: 3190
Dimensions: 8 and 1/4 inches overall
Condition: good original
Price: £15 GB
Status: Sold

vintage brass owl glovehook with glass eyes & agate top hat. I have not seen this one for sale on the Internet since 2003 so it is very rare.

Item reference: 2344
Dimensions: 4 and 1/2 inches overall
Condition: good original but with evidence of "straightening" of the shank as can be seen in the pictures
Price: £65 GB
Status: Sold

Nr 1 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! This classic Art Nouveau boot hook is hallmarked London 1906 by Charles Dumenil, of 166 Broad Street, London established in 1879

Item reference: 2814
Dimensions: 10 inches overall
Condition: good original
Price: £30 GB
Status: Sold