* GWI Button Forgeries *
by
Robert J. Silverstein & Dale Hawley

GWI 23-A Fake Being Sold as Real in Late 2017 for 3k A Piece (6)

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 All George Washington Inaugural Button Collectors Must Read

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      I want to thank Dale for taking the time out of his busy schedule 3 years ago and driving 5 hours out to the P. Auctions. He was able to do an in-hand examination which produced clear evidence that the George Washington inaugurals buttons being offered were not genuine to the inaugural period of 1789-1797. After giving his seasoned opinion that their consignments showed clear evidence of later date manufacturing, the directors of sales, still decided to overcome our objections and auction them off for Thousands of dollars. I was able to work on the other side of the table with some interested buyers who were relic dealers. they specifically called me on the phone and presented the auctions photos. Realizing, these rarer number George Washington inaugural buttons were fakes, I alerted them before the sale, and they were even allowed to retract their bids. The problem was Dale and I tackled this problem from two different ways, and we both failed. The auction house still sold the Forgeries for a high dollar to one person who was completely unseasoned and lost $11,000 on 3 buttons. The problem there is still unseasoned buyers who only see the opportunity of purchasing a rare George Washington inaugural button and they don’t question the authenticity because they trust the reputation of the auction house and are blind in their ambition. Obviously, we were not successful in this sale, but I was able to facilitate the buyer to receive his money back. To combat todays modern technology of high tech machines and lasers one has to be really on top of their game. Due to liability, we cannot go around policing the relic community every time a George Washington inaugural button comes on the market. But what we can do is constantly update a forgery page of known buttons that cost people Thousands of dollars to make the buyer more informed. We will use stock photo’s supplied by the sellers to help the GWI & NNT button community. By highlighting certain forgery techniques on the photo’s, we will be able to use this site as an information outlet for people to use as a tool before making their decision to buy. By the way, those buttons returned to another auction house in December 2017 and were sold for more then $4,500 a piece. Ouch!

       These forgeries do have a place for collectors as study tools. So, buying one at a nominal fees is warranted, but not at Authentic High Dollar Prices. Dale believes were have reached a point in-which laser and production technology is perfected to even cause question among the most seasoned collectors. We believe this art was perfected in the field of Numismatics 20-30 years ago. There was a high dollar profit in early 1790’s Flowing Hair and Dropped Bust Silver Dollars. From this platform they went into other historic relics and has gently penetrated the George Washington inaugural field of buttons as New collectors in high numbers moved into the hobby. So, collectors beware, This has been going on for some time.

       Unfortunately, how long cannot be easily answered in the field of George Washington inaugural buttons since Anniversary Issues early celebratory years make decisions a little cloudy. I myself have boughten what i believed 25th Anniversary rarer GWI buttons. Dale recommends that All GWI & NNT button collectors demand a Lifetime Warranty from the seller as to it’s authenticity. I am on the fence with this way of thinking, because there is a good handful of collectors that have kept 25 years of records on every GWI & NNT button sold. I believe this would give them advantage understanding if the GWI or NNT button was part of the known population before forgery technology penetrated the market. He does believe that DUG GWI are still safe at this point because of celebrated forums such as, Treasure Net allow for history and comparative damage from the location dug. Most Metal Detector enthusiast can look at a relic and determine from a visual damage inspection where it was dug.

    I sit and in Sadden Glory that I was smart enough for years to actually catalog on the internet every GWI & NNT Button known to exist from Auction Houses, Dealers, and Private Sales. At first my goal was to introduce the hobby to a wider scale of collectors to excite them into the hobby. For all the hours I put into my beloved hobby, I know now my listing will help people have assuredness in their purchases as they can look it up in our library.

       So, when i graciously ask for a picture of your GWI button, you are helping me Fight these Moden day counterfeiters who have the latest technology at their disposal. So, I humbly ask once again, Please send a Picture of your George Washington Inaugural Button for the Website’s Library Archives and Document your button for No Charge! This will give you a piece of mind and eliminate the lingering question. No one likes a punch in the face when they go to sell it and need the money. This will also do 2 things for the GWI Collector. First, you might get to return if a forgery closer to the point of sale. You cannot let time go by to get your money back. Sellers are here one year, and gone the next. As all sellers are! Waiting 10-15 years to get your money back wont happen. Reality Check! Second, you are providing a service for the Hobby You Love. That is the plain truth. Forgeries reached a point where we must band together as a GWI & NNT Community and fight this head on. What better way then to stand with your community against these Con Men. Please read my other articles for more forgery knowledge. Clarity, Direction,=Truth! Is what this sight stands for. 

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Clarity, Guidance, and Direction   =   Truth
By Dale Hawley

We don’t turn over the tables of the money changers, we turn over the hearts of these men and they turn over their own tables. – Dale Hawley.

I will not buy “un-dug” George Washington Buttons anymore as I believe there are examples even I can’t confirm are real of fake. the Chinese are very good and the Best counterfeiters in the world and they have the technology to fool anyone now. -Dale Hawley

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GWI 12-A Possible Fake PD $5k

Collector Education of A GWI Button Not being 1789-97 Time Period.  This Was an In-Hand Examination

Dale notes in the illustration above this is another forgery method, and not spark erosion.

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GWI 4-? Possible Fake Rarity, PD $5k

Collector Education of A GWI 4 Button Not being of the 1789-97 Time Period. 
This Was Not an In-Hand Examination, But an Analysis from photo’s furnished during the sale.

 

 

GWI 12-C Possible Fake Rarity, PD $5k

Collector Education of A GWI 12 Button Not being of the 1789-97 Time Period. 
This Was Not an In-Hand Examination, But an Analysis from photo’s furnished during the sale.

 

 


 GWI 7-A Possible Fake Rarity PD $5k

Collector Education of A GWI 7 Button Not being of the 1789-97 Time Period. 
This Was Not an In-Hand Examination, But an Analysis from photo’s furnished during the sale.

 

GWI 17-A Possible Fake Pewter PD $2500

Collector Education of A GWI 17 Button Not being 1789-97 Time Period. 
This Was Not an In-Hand Examination, But an Analysis from photo’s furnished during the sale.
 

 

 

                 

GWI 12-C Possible Fake Pewter PD $2500

Collector Education of A GWI 12-C Button Not being of the 1789-97 Time Period. 
This Was Not an In-Hand Examination, But an Analysis from photo’s furnished during the sale.

 

 

 

   

Collector Education of A GWI 12 Button Not being 1789-97 Time Period. 
This Was Not an In-Hand Examination, But an Analysis from photo’s furnished during the sale.

 

 

         

GWI 15-A Possible Fake For Sale

Collector Education of A GWI 15 Button Not being of the 1789-97 Time Period. 
This Was Not an In-Hand Examination, But an Analysis from photo’s furnished during the sale.

 

 

 

 

                                              

Collector Education of A GWI 15 & 12 Button Not being of the 1789-97 Time Period. 
This Was Not an In-Hand Examination, But an Analysis from photo’s furnished during the sale.

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     Wow, the high tech forgeries today are praying on new GWI button collectors who have very little experience handling Authentic Specimens. Pictured below is a whole card of these Fakes which would earn forgery artists 15k or more. Notice how all the buttons have almost the same wear spots in identical areas… To the untrained collector he might mistaken this for a weak strike into the copper planchet. Wrong!

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Robert’s thoughts: There are three things I don’t like about these buttons. One there are six of these buttons in the hands of one seller who states the buttons are off the same suit coat with a big question mark on that point. There is not a dummy in the world that would separate six button from an 18th century garment perhaps from Washington’s Inauguration or a garment from an 18th century Patriot Coat – Suit to sell as single buttons to try and get the most money. The garment with the buttons intact would be priceless.

 

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SPARK EROSION ON GWI & NNT BUTTONS?

     In the 1970’s devastating and dangerous high-tech forgeries of rare early American coins such as, Flowing Hair, and Dropped Bust dollars appeared in the market. Having no internet in that period, they were able to infiltrate small local shows, and being re-sold by honest dealers who loved their hobby. People with seasoned experience naturally gravitated toward their offerings and their flaws started raising flags. But unfortunately, the infiltration was to wide spread of these fake rare specimens and it ended up turning the whole field of numismatics in disarray. Even though I personally Raw coins, I can see how grading coins could have somewhat slowed these forgeries from spreading like wildfire throughout the United States. What forgeries actually do is more harmful then someone getting stuck with a bad coin. A Good forgery destroys both the Significance and Value of the Genuine coin. The repercussions to the hobby itself is devastating and deflates the enthusiasm for the science of numismatics. To these Criminals, because this is exactly what they are, make no mistake, the coin market is the perfect target. Thousand of collectors and Billions of coins. Only the very seasoned collector has a slight advantage if having handled similar specimens.

     So, here we are in 2018. Laser technology with the most advanced tools supplied to manufacturers. Even the manufacturers who produce fakes on purpose to replicate the real ones as best as possible. So, what happens in one field of numismatics cannot help but jump into other more profitable fields of American History like our beloved GWI & NNT buttons. Like a cancer these dishonest pricks of high tech forgeries spread quickly when ever there is a chance of success. To them your a mark defined by your experience, and if you are a new collector, you are often confronted with a Special Super Rare Unknown GWI or NNT Variant thinking you hit the Jackpot, and you are fortunate enough due to your happenstance you will be able to add a New Crown Jewel in your collection! Yup, you laugh at this conspicuous, but in reality the GWI & NNT button market is the new recognized victim. Within the last 3 years, I have watch countless auctions by reputable places knowingly sell these fakes with the knowledge they are actually doing it. They know once the Gavel and bidding starts, Emotions cloud collectors rational judgement just to add a piece into their collection. So, now button collectors have TWO Problems. One from the Master forgers, and one from auction houses increasing their bottom line sales revenue with no morals.

     So, lets begin with 5-6 examples of Rare GWI buttons that were sold for Thousands of dollars by two different very reputable auction houses just recently. All the buttons I picture below were sold by one auction house to an unsuspecting collector, then re-consigned by the collector to another auction house to get rid of it. Yup, I don’t see how that helps invite more collectors into the button hobby I love. All within 3 years of first penetrating the market. Wow, I mention cancer before, I think you are beginning to see. Think how many souls were damaged cheating his fellow brother either to re-coup damages or make profit. We are going to heal by truth and education.

     Spark Erosion is a process when a counterfeiter takes an original GWI Specimen and submerses it in an electrolytic bath where the obverse (front) faces the counterfeiter’s steel die. (After studying these pieces in hand, I have come to conclude they probably want a worn specimen to just add more authenticity as wear). An electrical current is then charged through the GWI button, so that a spark jumps across the shortest gap between the GWI button and the counterfeiter’s die. This etches the design of the GWI button onto the steel die. This electrical current process is then repeated on the reverse adding more authenticity by validating the planchet. (When I consider a GWI button, the first thing I usually say is, does it have a shank? Let me see the reverse for back study…..). So, after this electrical current process is concluded, the real specimen is re-sold back into the market for profit, and the counterfeit die is highly polished with (sort of) buffing machines. This step is crucial for the counterfeiters because once the new steel die is etched by the current they remain somewhat pitted or you may hear me say micro-porous. Either way, to the counterfeiters it doesn’t matter because they are sure that the fields will clean-up. Clue One: The GWI design itself will retain the pitting, because the counterfeiters will not chance polishing the main device. Meaning, in the polishing process they cannot get down into the design.

     The steel die’s surface leave the polish process glossy smooth, but the GWI legends and borders have raised lumps. (Clue 2: All GWI buttons were stamped. These are not crude American Revolutionary War buttons. There are no molds that would produce “Bubbles” from production. Also, in the 18th century, raw material planchets made from the advanced English metallurgy process were rolled or sheet metal made into blank round planchets (disks) for stamping. As noted to a friend, backmark technology was definitely in Birmingham in 1789, but our Scottish Artisans had the foresight to give America’s first Celebratory Birth piece a clean slate, belonging to none). The pitting on the steel die actually becomes the raised lumps when struck onto the blank disc. The die polishes they use today makes the steel dies super sharp, making the GWI designs themselves appear to have received a Strong Strike in it’s making demonstrating razor sharp banner ribbons and letter edges; but with numerous lumps of metal or pimples around the letters. Also, another big flag is the surface toning. From specimens handled and studied it doesn’t seem to be a spectrum here. Either the counterfeit GWI button has an irregular surface color which is not consistent with a naturally aged patina, or they are unnaturally darkened. So, for seasoned collectors looking at surface patina you might in hopes of being genuine entertain the idea that a previous owner somewhere in 235 years consider cleaned the button to raise the value for various reasons, and then realizing the error in their thinking tried to re-color them using a variety of heat methods. (As I tell all GWI collectors never clean these buttons regardless of their natural state. These are not Military Buttons that were made and designed to keep them polished for inspection So, let us just dismiss this whole line of thinking immediately with all the flags I mention above. I will touch upon that subject separately in another paper.

     On authentic 1789-97 GWI and NNT buttons which have been used by the original owners or later normally circulated, the surface should show a corresponding normal wear. I want GWI collectors to forget their excitement just holding the button for examination to give way to their common sense and what their instinct tells them. Say to yourself as you look at the specimen. Does the surface exhibit the corresponding amount of wear from 235 years of circulation or the usual wear marks from fastening and unfastening? When I collected Dropped Bust coins (When I could afford it..lol), they already had it in books where normal wear spots and were it was always evident from people always holding in a specific area, like hair. So, let us apply this thinking from the numismatics world. Many GWI 15mm size buttons did trim vests and breeches, by owners. So, if in hand, ask yourself were is my thumb on this? How worn is the same spot? Is the wear in the design fluid in depth wear? Is the incuse or raised design worn? Feel the grain weight in your hand if you don’t have a scale. Ask yourself is this button flat and collar properly, or is this planchet have a slight dome?  Consider the thickness of the GWI button. I hate giving secrets I use to stay ahead, but I will for this one example so an honest collector doesn’t mistake these steps in buying an NNT rarity. All NNT buttons were made a little thicker then their GWI button counterparts. If GWI thickness is an issue for you in your examination remember Rob’s rule: Each GWI variant was made from one solid piece of metal. There should never be any joined faces. You might evaluate that at one point the shanks were or might have been re-attached. This actually works in your favor for authenticity, since counterfeiters would not do that to a fake. They get more money for an original state shank. Also, no two buttons can ever have the same reverse or shank attachment weld. Sort of like a finger print in metal..

 

GWI 1-A Fake Spark Erosion Specimen

Collector Education of a GWI 9-A Button and determined NOT to be of the 1789-97 Time Period. 
This Was an In-Hand Examination, and using photo’s furnished during the sale.

 

1889 Centenial Reproduction GWI 1-A 34MM BRASS FLORIDA AUCTION FEB23, 2013 georgewashingtoninauguralbuttons.com IIA-1r

Reverse Button Analysis: This is flat a one-piece button with a soldered on loop shank. The shank is original, straight, and intact. There is a mold line represented. Originals were stamped not molded.

 

WI 5-A 31.52mm Pewter 23 Impressions RJ Silversteins george washington inaugural buttons.com IIA-3WI 5-A 31.52mm Pewter 23 Impressions RJ Silversteins george washington inaugural buttons.com IIA-3r

GWI 5-A Possible Fake Pewter PD $3,400.00

Collector Education of a GWI 5-A Button and determined NOT to be of the 1789-97 Time Period. 
This Was an In-Hand Examination, and using photo’s furnished during the sale.

 

WI 6-A 34mm Silvered Copper Sold Feb 23 2013 RJ Silverstein georgewashingtoninauguralbuttons.com O

GWI 6-A Possible Fake Pewter PD $4,500

Collector Education of a GWI 6-A Button and determined NOT to be of the 1789-97 Time Period. 
This Was an In-Hand Examination, and using photo’s furnished during the sale.

 

1886 or 1889 Centenial reproduction gwi 6-A rj silversteins george washington inaugural buttons IIA-62

 

 

 

WI 9-A Centenial Reproduction RJ silversteins georgewashingtoninauguralbuttons.com IIA-9

GWI 9-A Possible Fake Pewter PD $$$$$.$$ Embarrassing

Collector Education of a GWI 9-A Button and determined NOT to be of the 1789-97 Time Period. 
This Was an In-Hand Examination, and using photo’s furnished during the sale.

WI 9-A Centenial Reproduction RJ silversteins georgewashingtoninauguralbuttons.com IIA-93 2

 

 

WI 11-A 34MM BRASS FLORIDA AUCTION FEB 23, 2013

GWI 12-A Possible Fake Pewter PD $$$$.$$ embarrassing

Collector Education of a GWI 9-A Button and determined NOT to be of the 1789-97 Time Period. 
This Was an In-Hand Examination, and using photo’s furnished during the sale.

WI 11-A 34MM BRASS FLORIDA AUCTION FEB23, 2013

 

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Local State Artisans Pay Tribute to our Great Country

The Specimens listed below are confused with authentic 1789 & 1793 George Washington Inaugural or New Nation Tribute buttons. Some people believe that certain specimens listed below were custom ordered from a high end Jeweler. This might be true if the person was an American Military officer who served for/under Washington, A Senator or Congressman around the time of his administrations, or some Patriotic Individual with monetary means who fought or lived during the Revolutionary War era. We also know for fact that some issues were mass produced for American celebratory patriotic events.  Just to note, a collectors should not to get over excited believing that they found some unknown or newly re-discovered GW or New Nation Tribute button. The engraving evidence depicted in these buttons clearly shows that none of these tribute buttons were engraved by a Master Mason or his Fellow-Craft Apprentices who operated in the engraving guilds of the era. Some of these are molded buttons, and some of these specimens are just extremely crude-depictions by an individual who is apprentice Jeweler or someone who is familiar with Copper smithing. I believe all of these were crafted for a national celebratory event between the years of 1797 and 1890 – Robert J. Silverstein

 

 

GWI 21-A THE SWIRLY SCRIPT GW MONOGRAM WITH EAGLE ABOVE 23.33 WHITE METAL RJ SILVERSTEIN'S GEORGEWASHINGTONINAUGURALBUTTONS.COM3GWI 21-A THE SWIRLY SCRIPT GW MONOGRAM WITH EAGLE ABOVE 23.33 WHITE METAL RJ SILVERSTEIN'S GEORGEWASHINGTONINAUGURALBUTTONS.COM R copy

GWI 21 THE SWIRLY DOTTED SCRIPT GW MONOGRAM WITH EAGLE ABOVE


1801  25th Year Anniversary of the American Revolution.



(A. Albert’s Example Illustrated in American Uniform & Historical Buttons)

Color: A Silvery Pewter With Hints of Red Undertone.
Metal: Flat, 1-Piece, Stamped Eagle, Hand-Engraved Monogram, Stamped Eagle, White Metal.
Size: 23.33mm.
Rarity: R-6
Variety Type: 1801 Anniversary of the American Revolution or 1814 Inauguration Anniversary.
  Foliated GW Monogram, Federal Eagle, Broad Arrow Shape Shield, Swirly Dotted Script GW.

Present Condition: A Non Excavated Specimen, Strong Planchet Condition, A Good Impression Remains.
Obverse Button Analysis: This was the specimen A. Albert uses in his book of American Uniform and Historical Buttons on page 396. I did find another one of these rare specimens with the same shield pattern that he published in his 1949 book on George Washington Inaugural Buttons. There appears to be some conjecture on it’s origins. This button could have been manufactured in England, as well as in America. Albert didn’t know of any authentic examples (made of copper or brass) to use as examples; But he also knew who ever made these early white metal or pewter buttons knew about the various Mason patterns used during the late 18th century. Using his only available option open to him, he used this button as plate specimens to illustrate the point in his book of known patterns, but incorrectly listed the alloy as: Copper. The incorrect alloy assessment is neither here nor there, the originals would have been made in brass with a gilt finish. I definitely believe this was made either by the same Fellow-Craft Masons or their younger apprentices.

     The button depicts a decorative Foliated GW Monogram that was hand engraved in the planchet itself. Unlike the original 1789 inaugural button, this button’s planchet is very thick, and is very reminiscent of the thicker GWI 17 & GWI 20’s planchet. This thicker planchet is solid and flat, and shows evidence of being some kind of White Metal instead of brass or copper. This leads me to hypothesis early English manufactured buttons. If this white metal is some kind of Pewter, it would be a more updated mix of Tin with Copper, and Antimony, then the 18th century era of Tin with a Lead mixture. (I referenced a side view picture to illustrate the thickness, and the exceptional clean workmanship which would lead me to believe guild produced. The button’s surface is very smooth to the touch, and it has a nice aged brown patina, and has a silvery white undertone. The Federal Eagle has a strong image with a good deep outline. The inner feather details of the neck, wings, and legs, are still clear, but the tail feathers only show a light foot print, and are barely outlined. The federal shield in this die variant is a British Military Broad head Arrow and an unusual “T” Shape inside. There is a half a dozen short diagonal lines going across the upper portion of the shield, and two horizontal lines made of dots reaching downward through the lower portion of the shield. The shield still has a strong outline, but the inner horizontal lines in the top portion are weak and barely visible. The two vertical dotted lines in the lower portion of the shield do have remnants of an image, but are also faint. The Olive Branch in the Eagle’s right talon only has a light foot print for an impression, and barely shows a viewable image. The Bundle of Arrows fortunately still has a nice impression, and shows all the individual Arrow heads and shafts clearly. The Swirly Dotted Script “GW” Monogram is still easy to read, but lacks a good strike depth. The various dotted swirl patterns are still visible in most areas, but lost it’s panache. Overall, because of the rarity of this variety, a collector would be fortunate to get any specimen available in the market.
Reverse Button Analysis: This is a flat one-piece button with a soldered on loop shank. The shank is original, straight, and intact.

Library Records Has Limited Information IIA-21:
History:         Yes                Recorded Sales Price:  Yes
Current Button Owner and Location:~ New York ~

The Isabela Collection.~

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

WI 20-B 19mm Pewter WI 31-B-2 rj silversteins george washington inaugural buttons .com GWI 31-2WI 20-B 19mm Pewter WI 31-B-2 rj silversteins georgewashingtoninaugural buttons.com GWI 31-2r

GWI 20 THE FOLIATED SCRIPT “GW” MONOGRAM

1801 American Reproduction Most Likely Made for 25 Year Anniversary of the American Revolution.



Color: A Dark Pewter Grey With A Charcoal Black Inner Design.

Metal: Flat, 1-Piece, Mechanically Engraved Design, Pewter or White Metal?

Size: 19mm.
Rarity: R-6
Variety Type: GWI 20-B, American Reproduction, Foliated Script Swirl.
Present Condition: A Non Excavated Specimen, Strong Planchet Condition, Exceptional Mechanical Impressions Remain.

Obverse Button Analysis: Three die variants have surfaced for this pattern, but there may be more. Two appear to be American reproductions and one British. The difference mainly lies in the die cut for the Foliated Script “GW” Monogram. This specimen has sort of a double die cut version and also the swirl off the “W” is more hooked around. This button has a nice aged Silvery tone. The metal planchet is still solid and shows the later generation thickness of reproduction issues. This button’s planchet shows no signs of metal fatigue, corrosion, or deterioration. The surface shows a nice deep mechanical impression, and exhibits nice thick inner definition lines. The obverse surface and 3-4 o’clock edge do show a few light scratches, but hardly noticeable with the complimentary silver color tone. The foliated Swirl with Accenting Petals has a nice deep impression, with strong fluid lines. A very nice example with strong characteristics.
Reverse Button Analysis: This is a flat one-piece button with a Tombac Style loop Shank. This shank is original, straight, and intact. The surface appears to be smooth and clean, with maybe a minor scuff mark.


Library Records Has Limited Information IIA-20-1:
History:    No                Recorded Sales Price: Yes
Current Button Owner and Location:           No

 

 

 

 

WI 20-B RJ Silversteins georgewashingtoninauguralbuttons.com IIA-3WI 20-B RJ Silversteins georgewashingtoninauguralbuttons.com IIA-3r

GWI 20 THE FOLIATED SCRIPT “GW” MONOGRAM
1801 British Reproduction Most Likely Made for 25 Year Anniversary of the American Revolution.

Color: Midnight Grey
.
Metal: Flat, 1-Piece, Mechanically Engraved Design, Pewter.
Size: 18.07mm.
Rarity: R-6
Variety Type: GWI 20-B, English Reproduction, Foliated Script Swirl.
Present Condition: A Non Excavated Specimen, Strong Planchet Condition, Strong Mechanical Impression Remains.
Obverse Button Analysis: This is the second die variant I found for this pattern. This one has the raised English Makers mark on the reverse. Unlike the other two specimens, I believe this planchet to be Pewter with a mix of Tin, Copper and Antimony. The pewter planchet is solid and flat, but has some small nicks along with some minimal edge loss around the 4 o’clock position.  The surface has a few light scratches, but is hardly noticeable with the aged natural silver color tone. The surface shows a nice deep mechanical impression for the monogram, and the initial’s inner definition lines still have nice raised lines. The Foliated Swirls with the Accenting Petals (Snake Heads) still have a nice deep impression, with strong fluid lines. This button’s charm has an elegant design definitely commemorates George Washington with class.
Reverse Button Analysis: This is a flat one-piece button with a Tombac Style Loop Shank. The surface appears to be smooth and clean, with maybe a minor scuff mark.

 Raised Maker Mark still visible.

Library Records Has Limited Information IIA-20-3:
History:      Yes          Recorded Sales Price:          Yes
Current Button Owner and Location: ~ New York~

The Isabela Collection.~

* This is the only known British Specimen to surface so far….

 

 

 

 

WI 20-SUB. VARIETY BRASS 19MM rj silversteins george washington inaugural buttons IIA-4WI 20-SUB. VARIETY BRASS 19MM rj silversteins george washington inaugural buttons IIA-4r

GWI 20 THE FOLIATED SCRIPT “GW” MONOGRAM

1801 American Reproduction Most Likely Made for 25 Year Anniversary of the American Revolution.



Color: A Dark Pewter Grey With A Charcoal Black Inner Design.

Metal: Flat, 1-Piece, Mechanically Engraved Design, White Metal.
Size: 19mm.
Rarity: R-6
Variety Type: GWI 20, American Reproduction, Foliated Script Swirl.
Present Condition: A Non Excavated Specimen, Exceptional Planchet Condition, Exceptional Mechanical Impressions Remain.
Obverse Button Analysis: This is the third die variant I found for this pattern. The difference appears to be in the die cut for the Foliated Script “GW” Monogram. This specimens mechanical engraving doesn’t have the letter thickness as the other die variant exhibits. This die variant’s initials are much thinner. This button does have a nice deep impression, and exhibits clear inner definition lines. Meaning the foliated Swirl with Accenting Petals still retains a nice clear impression, with strong fluid lines.The metal planchet is still solid and flat with no waviness, or metal fatigue. Also to note, the surface’s silvery patina is nicely aged, and evenly colored throughout the obverse and reverse. Collectors should note that this could have been the same maker, just one was a replacement of an earlier die. Overall, this is a wonderful example.
Reverse Button Analysis: This is a flat one-piece button with a Tombac Style loop Shank. This shank is straight and intact, but reported to be replaced.

Library Records Has Limited Information IIA-20-2:
History:         No         Recorded Sales Price:   Yes
Current Button Owner and Location:             No

 Massachusetts auctioneer Ben Corning sold 2 examples 30+ years ago. (1 of which is listed above).


 

 

1889 LONG LIVE THE PRESIDENT STRUCK ON ENGLISH PENNY 34MM COPPER LEDGEND MONOGRAM STRUCK ON END rj silversteins george washington inaugural buttons O

LONG LIVE THE PRESIDENT SURROUNDING WITH A SCRIPT “GW” MONOGRAM

Color: Earth Tone Brown With Rusty Orange Highlights
Metal: Flat, 1-Piece, Raised Design, Reported Silver Plated Copper?
Size: 22mm
Variety Type: Centennial, or 19th Century.
Present Condition:
 A Dug Specimen, Strong Planchet Condition, A Strong High Relief & Impressed Pattern Remains.
Obverse Analysis: Light scratches and abrasions, but otherwise a nice specimen. 
Reverse Analysis: A loop shank set within a raised boss. 

Picture Courteous of Heritage Auctions, Sale July 28, 2004.

 

 

 

 

WI 22-A Folk Art Rendition on a coin georgewashingtoninauguralbuttons.com O WI 22-A Folk Art Rendition on a coin georgewashingtoninauguralbuttons.com R

1789-97 Folk Art GW Tribute Button

Color: Earth Brown With A Green Patina.
Metal: Flat, 1-Piece, Hand Engraved, Coin Silver.
Size: 33mm.
Rarity: R-6
Variety Type: Folk Art / Phrygian Cap / GW / Floral Vine.
Present Condition: An Excavated Specimen, Strong Planchet Condition, Exceptional Impression Remains.
Obverse Button Analysis: A nice hand-engraved button that pays tribute to America. There appears to be several buttons made using this pattern, but there are several differences from number of arrows depicted to border indentees.
Reverse Button Analysis: This is a flat one-piece button.

Library Records Has Limited Information IIA 32:
History:          Yes         Recorded Sales Price:     Yes
Current Button Owner and Location: ~ New York ~

The RJ. Silverstein Collection.

 

Hand Engraved Federal Patriot Button 32mm Gold Wash orig shank hakes auction 13 dots, 82 border indentees 4 arrows

Plain Folk Art New Nation Tribute Button

Hello Robert—someone sent me a link to upcoming XXXX button auction. Lot 51 is described as Centennial issue. Could that be? -Ted Hake

This is the site—there is a box “FEBRUARY AUCTION” click on that and go to #51. Item looks to me like 1789, but someone is telling me “expert” Jimmy HXXXX says this is 1889 centennial and that is how they have it attributed in this auction. –Ted Hake

Hi Ted,
Let me give you my professional opinion for what it is worth.lol.. I am probably not near as smart as your GWI expert, and I am humbled you would even ask my advice after his. The button was most likely made by an apprentice in the engraving arts. Possibly, he might have had some education in Scottish Royal Culture through the vehicle of Masonry. Using my very limited memory, this button design first appears in Upstate New York.

     So, let us examine the button using a professional eye. We note the button is very crudely hand-cut (etched-chased) directly onto the planchet. As Dale and I have often pointed out, all 1789-97 celebratory buttons of period were cut into a steel die hub. Next, let us look at the engraving itself. First, my trained eye notes the Olive Branch does not carry the Scottish Royal Culture Allusion of the 7 Earls of Scotland. Next, is the Arrows. Four is not the number we need, neither is 13. For the Allusion of Scottish Royal Culture the number would be 3. Representing the Life Guard of the King of Scotland. The Eagle head is in question, this is why I first mentioned the Artisans association with Masonry. As far as the etched line Sun Burst there is question in my mind if the Artisan understood the meaning of that symbol beyond the veil of a commoners view outside of the true intent of the Scottish Artisan Masters who were seeking to incorporate the meaning of joining Multi-Cultures together in the New Republic. The more I look at this button, the less I really value it above $10. It is garbage sold as a False Representation of the real dreams of our founding artisans. I am sure the money changers in the future will profit on this piece as well as others on the dreams of honest collectors just letting their emotions run high on a false dream of ownership. I give you absolution my friend, because you actually try to take the steps necessary at all times to keep our beloved hobby safe. If you read this, you will note from memory, this is not what I originally sent to you when I was beginning my journey into GWI & NNT buttons. I do not have the heart to send this to you either, for I know honorable men such as yourself will unnecessarily where this around your neck like an albatross. So, where does this leave us with this button. Anniversary or Fake?

From the existing “6” i know of, we can see they are all different. No two are the same. We see a different number of arrow, numbers for border indentees,  and also slightly different depictions of the U.S. Great Seal. An earlier email to you shows the 1784 Great Seal Scottish Artisan rendition which hangs in St. Pauls Cathedral. This painting was done by a Master Artisan who bases their creativity in Scottish Royal Culture to infuse America with the proper heraldry. What this tells me is that in an Era where men of apprenticeship were usually associated through their local neighborhood Masonic lodges. Second, using his knowledge gained through Scottish-Rite Masonry he was able to craft these buttons in salute to the Artisan teachers before his time. Lastly, there is nothing on the button that is tributary to George Washington to the foresight of combining multi-cultures in the New Republic through the Grace of George Washington. Meaning, this trinket is sold as a GWI or NNT in order to profit on the expense of all future money changers souls and unsuspecting honest collectors. Please curb your anger in yourself and your “Professional Guy” for you cannot blame someone if they do not have the sight. For the grace of the owners to sleep at night, I will grace it as anniversary issue for a specific purpose of practicing a craft. Not to be sold on the market or custom ordered by someone affluent. People of stature would never wear such crudeness when they have money to buy the Best for themselves including originals that would be common place. Especially if dated in early 1800’s when the men of means understood the representation of these buttons and their meanings. God Bless my friend, you have a good honest soul.

 Your Good Friend Robert J. Silverstein

1784 St.Pauls Chapel Painting in NYC GW's Church above his pew R Scot:Thackera,Allerdice, Shallus o 2

1784 St. Pauls Cathedral 

WI EAGLE IN 13 STAR FIELD 33mm RJ SILVERSTEIN' GEORGEWASHINGTONINAUGURALBUTTONS.COM IIA-32

WI EAGLE IN 13 STAR FIELD 33mm RJ SILVERSTEIN' GEORGEWASHINGTONINAUGURALBUTTONS.COM IIA-32r

Plain Folk Art New Nation Tribute Button

Color: Antique Brass with A Subtle Green Patina.
Metal: Flat, 1-Piece, Hand Engraved, Reportedly Gold-Wash Brass.
Size: 33mm.
Rarity: R-6
Variety Type: English Military Broad Arrow Shield, 3 Arrows, 76-80 Indentees, 13 Five Point Star.
Present Condition: A Non Excavated Specimen, Strong Planchet Condition, Exceptional Impression Remains.
Obverse Button Analysis: A nice hand-engraved button that pays tribute to America. There appears to be several buttons hand made using the Great Seal Motif with a Morning Glory. We can see no two are the same, and there are several differences from number of arrows depicted to border indentees. 
Reverse Button Analysis: This is a flat one-piece button with a soldered on loop shank. The shank is original, straight, and intact.

Library Records Has Limited Information IIA 32:
History:       Yes          Recorded Sales Price:          Yes
Current Button Owner and Location: ~ New York ~

 

 

GWI 31 Nation CelebrationTribute PETER REMSEN INHERITED sold hakes in Dec 2012 $2,543.00 RJ Silverstein's georgewashingtoninauguralbuttons.com IIA 33GWI 31 Nation Celebration Button PETER REMSEN INHERITED sold hakes in Dec 2012 $2,543.00 RJ Silverstein's georgewashingtoninauguralbuttons.com IIA 33R

Plain Folk Art New Nation Tribute Button

Color: Antique Brass with A Subtle Green Patina.
Metal: Flat, 1-Piece, Hand Engraved, Reportedly Gold-Wash Brass.
Size: 32.6mm.
Rarity: R-6
Variety Type: British Military Broad Arrow Shield , 4 Arrows & Ribbon, 82 Indentees, 13 Five Point Star, 17 Arrow Head Sun Rays
Present Condition: A Non Excavated Example, Strong Planchet Condition, Exceptional Impressions Remain.
Obverse Button Analysis: A nice hand-engraved button that pays tribute to our new found country.
Reverse Button Analysis: This is a flat one-piece button with a soldered on loop shank. The shank is original, straight, and intact.

Library Records Has Limited Information IIA 33:
History:          Yes              Recorded Sales Price:       Yes
Current Button Owner and Location: ~ New Mexico~

This was an inheritance by Peter Remsen, NM.

 

GWI 31 33mm Eagle Accented by 13 Stars- Ted Hake Sold RJ-Silverstein-georgewashingtoninauguralbuttons.com IIA 34GWI 31 33mm Eagle Accented by 13 Stars- Ted Hake Sold RJ-Silverstein-georgewashingtoninauguralbuttons.com IIA 34 R

Plain Folk Art New Nation Tribute Button

Color: Antique Brass with A Greenish Patina.
Metal: Flat, 1-Piece, Hand Engraved, Copper.
Size: 34mm.
Rarity: R-5
Variety Type: English Military Broad Arrow Shield, 3 Arrows, 84 Indentees, 13 Five Point Star Dots, 16-17 Arrow Head Rays
Present Condition: A Non Excavated Example, Strong Planchet Casting, Exceptional Impressions.
Obverse Button Analysis: A nice hand engraved button that pays tribute to our new nation. 
Reverse Button Analysis: This is a flat one-piece button with a soldered on loop shank. The shank is original, straight, and intact, and appears to be in good condition with slight porosity, but no heavy nicks or scratches.

Library Records Has Limited Information IIA 34
History:       Yes        Recorded Sales Price        Yes
Current Button Owner and Location:              No

Picture Courtesy of Ted Hake.
Found in the Hudson River Valley Area Upstate NY

 

GWI 31 Nation Celebration Button RJ Silverstein's georgewashingtoninauguralbuttons.com IIA 35

Plain Folk Art New Nation Tribute Button

Color: Antique Brass with A Greenish Patina.
Metal: Flat, 1-Piece, Hand Engraved, Copper.
Size: 33mm.
Rarity: R-5
Variety Type: English Military Broad Arrow Shield, 3 Arrows, 78 Indentees, 13 Five Point Star Dots, 17 Arrow Head Rays
Present Condition: A Non Excavated Example, Strong Planchet Casting, Exceptional Impressions.
Obverse Button Analysis: A nice hand engraved button that pays tribute to our new country.
Reverse Button Analysis: This is a flat one-piece button with a soldered on loop shank. The shank is original, straight, and intact.

Library Records Has Limited Information IIA 35
History:       Yes        Recorded Sales Price:        Yes
Current Button Owner and Location:                 No

 

 

Hand Engraved Federal Patriot Button 32mm Gold Wash orig shank hakes auction 13 dots, 82 border indentees 4 arrows

1801-1809 FEDERAL EAGLE WITH MORNING GLORY
********** NEW NATION TRIBUTE BUTTON ***********

Color: Antique Brass with A Greenish Patina.
Metal: Flat, 1-Piece, Hand Engraved, Copper.
Size: 33mm.
Rarity: R-5
Variety Type: English Military Broad Arrow Shield, 3 Arrows, 78 Indentees, 13 Five Point Star Dots, 17 Arrow Head Rays
Present Condition: A Non Excavated Example, Strong Planchet Casting, Exceptional Impressions.
Obverse Button Analysis: A nice engraved button that pays tribute to our country.
Reverse Button Analysis: This is a flat one-piece button with a soldered on loop shank. The shank is original, straight, and intact.

Library Records Has Limited Information IIA 36
History:    Yes       Recorded Sales Price:        Yes
Current Button Owner and Location:          No

 

 

 

GWI 31 32mm New Nation Tribute rj Silverstein's georgewashingtoninauguralbuttons.comIIA 36GWI 31 32mm New Nation Tribute rj Silverstein's georgewashingtoninauguralbuttons.com IIA 36r

1801-1814 THE GREAT SEAL OF THE UNITED STATES VARIATION
**************** NEW NATION TRIBUTE BUTTON ******************

Color: Chalk White Blackboard.
Metal: Flat, 1-Piece, Hand Engraved, Silver Wash Copper.
Size: 17mm. Cuff
Rarity: R-7
Variety Type: Federal Shield Shield, 13 Arrows, 4 Petal Olive Branch
Present Condition: A Non Excavated Example, Strong Planchet Casting, Exceptional Impressions.
Obverse Button Analysis: A nicely engraved button
Reverse Button Analysis: This is a flat one-piece button with a soldered on loop shank. The shank is original, straight, and intact.

Library Records Has Limited Information
History:       Yes      Recorded Sales Price:    No
Current Button Owner and Location:        No

 

 

1801 Eagle W- GW Diamonds Tribute Button rj silversteins georgewashingtoninauguralbuttons.com IIA-211801 Eagle W- GW Diamonds Tribute Button rj silversteins georgewashingtoninauguralbuttons.com IIA-21r

 

FEDERAL EAGLE WITH ISHTAR AND INVERTED DIAMOND INDENTEES BORDER
                                ~ ~ GEORGE WASHINGTON TRIBUTE BUTTON ~ ~

Color: Antique Brass.
Metal: Flat, 1-Piece, Stamped, Brass.
Size: 33mm.
Rarity: R-6
Variety Type:
Present Condition: A Non Excavated Specimen, Strong Planchet Condition, An Exceptional Impression Remains.
Theory 1: After examining the larger thickness of the metal and the hand engraved design of all 5 buttons I have come to form an opinion: This was made by a local American-born artisan that was “not” associated with the Mason guild. The original George Washington Inaugural Buttons and New Nation Tribute buttons all show a level of geometry and engraving skills that are within there design cuts. There is a high level of workmanship and skill that I associate with all artifacts that were produced by a Master-Mason and his Fellow-Craft apprentices. All commissioned work and celebratory memorabilia reflect the most intricate detail without design imperfections. Collectors only have to look at the assortment of skilled engraved memorabilia of the era such as, cannons, seals, currency plates, and maps. All these commissions granted to the Master Mason and his workers show a level of mathematics and skills used within their engravings. These series of buttons do not show that high level of skill.. at all.  I believe these buttons would have been made by a person on the Apprentice level, but not part of the Mason guild. This person was most likely learning the jewelry craft, copper-smithing, or metallurgy engraving techniques. Some of the hand engravings in the Eagle’s head and feather structure illustrate this point. The person who made this series of George Washington reproductions was probably learning how to hand engrave metals, cut molds, and crafted several of his own designs for an American celebration as celebratory pieces. I come to the conclusion that all 5 design specimens I studied were made by same person. This engraving style is evident in the birds head and features within each of the designs. My research into the engraving of the original steel dies indicated that all the original George Washington inaugural and New Nation Tribute buttons were crafted by a Master Mason and 4-5 Fellow-Craft apprentices. Furthermore, they all shared in the work on each piece. That would be consistent of the time period and guild work. Each Fellow-Craft Mason would have shared jointly their strength design in a single piece. Unlike coins of the era which were attributed to a sole artist-Master Mason. The original designs would have been copy righted/patented by the original engraving guilds or the contract would have been awarded to the Master Mason and he shared the royalties with the guilds. So local artisans outside the guild in that era couldn’t copy these designs exactly, but in a later time period they could make a variation of the original patterns. I also believe this unknown series of buttons was only sold in one particular state. Otherwise there would have definitely been other specimens dug within the 13 states by now. The hobby of metal detecting has come to far and wide spread for there to be only a limited number known to exist (1 or 2) samples. This probably would not have been marketed in the bigger cities such as, Philadelphia, New York , South Carolina, or Rhode Island. Most likely a much smaller city, but big enough for someone to make money off a limited production.
       So, I believe this series of buttons were done as an early commemorative, such as a 15-20 year celebatory re-issue. I took into account the thickness of the planchet, a one-piece button, and the craft of engraving the dies by someones hand. What time periods did this change? The manufacturing of the steel die by a machine process to give products cleaner lines, and easier die replacement was shortly after the turn of the 18th century. “So that dates the buttons to around 1797’s-1812. I do not know how to assign a value. Obviously this affects the value from being an authentic George Washington inaugural or New Nation Tribute button, but i still would carry a premium because it shows there was non-guild/Mason American artistry outside of the states Guilds that actively operated in American society. 
Reverse Button Analysis: This is a flat one-piece button with a soldered on loop shank. The shank is original, straight, and intact.
Theory 2: Chinese or foreign knockoffs looking to dupe the collectors of historical artifacts. This has been more widespread in the coin world then people realize.
Opinion: Even though 2 of the 5 specimens I studied had dug characteristics, it worries me that 1 person owns all the buttons in this unknown series. Do the math on that point. 

Library Records Has Limited Information IIA 32:
History:          No           Recorded Sales Price:    No
Current Button Owner and Location:          ~ N0 ~

 

 

1890's Gnault & Sons Repo England Sold Bannermans1890's Gnault & Sons Repo England Sold Bannermans r

GWI 4 Centennial Celebration Button

Color: Light Brown
Metal: Flat, 1-Piece, Stamped Design,
Size: 35mm.
Rarity: R-2
Variety Type: 100 Year Commemorative
Present Condition: Non Excavated, Strong Planchet Casting, Strong Impression Remains. 
Obverse Button Analysis: Gnault & Sons produced these in England for the American Celebratory 100 year anniversary. Story goes on one of Bannerman’s trips to England he saw these and brought some back to sell in his military catalog. 

Reverse Button Analysis: This is a flat one-piece button with a soldered on loop shank. The shank is original, straight and intact.

The Death of a Beloved Hobby is by Eliminating the Entrance of the New Comers by Risk!

Last thoughts, I have been asked many times why don’t I ever see you at shows. So, I would like to share a personal story, and promise to make it quick. Every year around father’s day, here in the North East CT was the big event. So, I go with a collector friend who for many years collected Civil War Belt buckles. Well one year, he asked me to go, and I said, what the hell. I personally know nothing about Civil War Belt buckles. He had a favorite or prize in hand with some lessor valued ones. He was feeling it has been like 10 years so years, and wanted to get a value for his prizes that he loved spending his time reading and collecting. I can actually just feel what happen this day like it was yesterday.

So, I am flying up the highway in his pick-up country song blasting and tapping away. This soft spoken friend getting energized about the pride he felt in his long hard earned collection and hours of study. So, we get there and he B-Lined it looking for specific vendors. I mean, I caught myself saying as I am passing all these tables in a quick pace, hold it I want to see some of these great artifacts displayed on these tables. Well, obviously he knew the money changers at the shows from friendships he was awarded, and knew to look for certain guys who are regarded as professional with valuable opinions. So, after covering half the place in 3 minutes, I was saying to myself, “as soon as he lands, he is going to be lost in this Civil War belt buckle stuff.” I’ am just going to make my way and look for some nice Revolutionary War buttons, and Mr. Leigh was on my list and so was Don T. I was actually kicking myself I didn’t bring his book for a signature..lol Crazy, what the excitement we get to finally meet someone.  So, all this in my head, and my friend lands at his destination. Obviously, being a good friend, and not rude in leaving and showing my friend I was happy for him and would listen a bit, and then take off. Knowing, I am going to walk around alone for awhile while he had fun talking belt buckles. Two kids reved-up, like the Big Wheel race and I will see you at the finish line at. He immediately put his case on this guys table and called him byname. He  did introduce me, and I shook his hand. My eyes gazed over this money changers table and Civil War treasures were abundant. So, obviously he was the man, and this was going to be a professional educated opinion. My friend reaching in his case for his pride and joy right out of the box. Pride bursting in his only true passion as I knew he spent night after night researching and starring with wide eyes at his prizes. I can see him as clear as day handing it to the money changer and him looking at it, and in 3 seconds he pointed to it as a fake, and there are several of the exact same one. At first it was shock, in my friends face, as he silently begged him for another look, 20  seconds later in bewilderment he just grabbed another not even looking which it was. The money changer took it, and said SO FUCKING COLD without any heart this is another fake too. Almost tossing it back in my friends hand like it was garbage he didn’t even want to hold. This put me in a bad position. I could no longer walk away from my friend. I actually think he was scared to pull out the other few he had. Well, I never met Mr. Leigh that day, not Don T.. What I did was be a friend to him and just said, let’s go… There was no country music on the way home that day, and I could just feel him want to cry, and in my head for the first time in my life never using the words ever in the past, Those fucking money changers, not in anger because my heart was crying for my friend. You see, A man can sleep at night loosing a few hundred. But he would not sleep because his pride wouldn’t let him loose a few thousand. So, my lesson in GWI in forgeries and fakes is if it looks to good to be real it is. There is No new GWI Variant if I haven’t shown it to the world yet. All 33 re-discovered sub-variant I introduced were DUG with proper environmental damage. The best collectors place an object in their hand, and in 5 seconds they can tell you real or not. It is that simple. It is no gift, it is through attrition of handling an above normal amount of specimens over the average collector. Seldom are they real if these guys have to sit and study them for authenticity. So, as I am frequently asked to give lectures on GWI buttons at metal detecting clubs, I have to say they may be the best judge of authenticity. For hunters are educated in all types of stuff like soil damage from nitrogen and fertilizer. Every time I show dale a picture of a new dug button, by eye he tells me if that button was dug in cellar hole, farm field, wet soil, sandy soil, ect… I actually know how good he is because some metal detectors lie to keep their spot a secret and he tells me by the nature of the compassion left on the patina and button surface. So head-up, gone are the days of lead or pewter fakes, the are way too easy to detect. Lasers with cutting edge beams. If you don’t proudly display your buttons for all to witness as genuine, you risk having your favorite hobby susceptible to unknown sub-variant fraud.