A selection of buttonhooks which have been sold from 2007.

a vintage glove buttonhook with Whitby Jet handle in a cut decoration

Item reference: 2492
Dimensions: 2 and 7/8 inches overall
Condition: good original
Price: £14 GB
Status: Sold

lignum vitae is one of the hardest woods and was used on sailing ship construction for pulleys and cogs on the rigging. This is an opportunity to buy an early buttonhook with lignum handle. Did you know that lignum is the only wood to sink in water? Post Script!! The buyer of this lignum handled buttonhook is from Australia and on receipt of the hook decided to test the veracity of the claim that lignum vitae is the only wood not to float in water. The Australian aborigines used a wood for making clubs from the Acacia Peuce, more colloquially known as a Waddi tree. This wood is extremely dense and ideal for clubs or “waddies” used for killing game. And you’ve guessed right, it also sinks in water!

Item reference: 2480
Dimensions: 8 and 1/4 inches overall
Condition: good original
Price: £15 GB
Status: Sold

a Victorian cast silver eagles claw holding a silver ball by Charles Boyton, established at Upper Charles Street, London in 1809. Boyton is known for producing some of the earliest silver boot buttonhooks, almost all with figural handles of birds & animals. They are quality items and much sought after. This eagles claw is hallmarked with Victoria’s head for London 1889 and has initials engraved on the silver ball WST, probably from the original owner.

Item reference: 2444
Dimensions: 12 and 3/4 inches overall length. Ball & claw 1 and 1/2 X 1 and 1/4 inches, handle 3 inches long
Condition: silver handle good original with loss of plate on the steel shaft
Price: £195 GB
Status: Sold

a micro-mosaic glove buttonhook with brass shank and chatelaine ring, made in Rome.

Item reference: 2441
Dimensions: 2 and 5/8 inches overall
Condition: possibly 1 minute "chip" missing, not sure! Some oxidisation to the brass
Price: £48 GB
Status: Sold

a brass souvenir glove buttonhook with red glass marble orb under crown, commemorating the Coronation of King Edward & Queen Alexandra in 1902

Item reference: 2431
Dimensions: 4 and 1/2 inches overall
Condition: good original
Price: £45 GB
Status: Sold

figural silver buttonhook in the form of a sitting cat. It is one of the less common figurals from the series by Crisford & Norris,  established at Vyse St Birmingham in 1896. It is hallmarked for Birmingham 1909

Item reference: 2425
Dimensions: 8 and 1/2 inches overall
Condition: rubbed through on two flutes just above the bolster, otherwise good original with ears & nose intact!
Price: £118 GB
Status: Sold

Whitby Jet hand carved glove buttonhook with carving of Whitby Abbey

Item reference: 2422
Dimensions: 3 and 5/8 inches overall
Condition: good original
Price: £38 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

figural gilt brass glove button hook in the form of an owl. It has glass eyes and an agate top hat.

Item reference: 2423
Dimensions: 4 and 1/8 inches overall
Condition: some gilding is worn but otherwise good original
Price: £48 GB
Status: Sold

silver handled buttonhook commemorating Queen Victoria’s Diamond Jubillee. It is by Adie & Lovekin and bears the hallmark and date letter for 1896

Item reference: 2413
Dimensions: 7 and 1/2 inches overall
Condition: good original with some oxidisation of the steel
Price: £30 GB
Status: Sold