The Master’s Engravings, Steel Dies, and Specimens Known
“When i began my quest 20 years ago there were around 750, today I estimate around 1300. ”
There are only 3 “Master” Hand-Engraved buttons known to exist. They are all the works of the noted Guild Artisans in Philadelphia, PA. These men were all well known artists of their day and had created many of America’s known insignias. These artisans were highly educated and apprenticed in various skills from an early age. In the later 19th century, the common term for this kind of hand-engraving button work would be chased. These hand engraved buttons are different from the master steel die hubs that were created and used to stamp-out metal button planchets for commercial celebratory sale. These three buttons are, GWI 3 The Majesty of the People, GWI 24 The Heraldic Eagle W/Inverted Diamond Border Indentees, and GWI 26 The Phrygian Cap on a Liberty Pole. In my opinion, these three buttons are some of the Most Important American Historical Buttons known to exist. The primarily reason for my conclusion is not the exceptional work of the button itself, but because of who these renowned Artists were and their contributions in creating America’s new insignia. These well known artisans created art designs from their Scottish historical roots, and then disguised them as America’s new heraldry birthright symbols. They took these symbols from history in order to give America an established historical authority. I like to reference these artisans as, “White Collar Freemason Workers” of the early American business infrastructure. The list of their art works would include: Paintings, State currency plates, Seals for state & federal government offices, Maps of all sorts, and tons of Public Commission works for the aristocratic class, and memorabilia for the populace. As you learn more about George Washington inaugural buttons from my web site you will realize that Some Sub-Variants have hidden symbols that represent Scottish Heraldry that was covenanted by Freemasons of the time. These symbols are wrapped up in an enigma that is in a disguise of America’s new patriotic insignia. I suggest you start your quest with GWI 3 the Jacobite Button.- Robert J. Silverstein
1) R-7 1 or 2 Known to Exist > GWI 3,GWI 4-B.1,GWI 4-D, GWI 7-A,B,C,D, GWI 14 A , B & C, GWI 16, GWI 17, GWI 19-A, B, &C, GWI 21-A&B, GWI 24-A, GWI 26, GWI 28 – These Buttons should command the Highest Values.
2) R-6 3 to 5 Known to Exist
3) R-5 6 -10 Known to Exist
4) R-4 11-25 Known to Exist
5) R-3 26-50 Known to Exist
6) R-2 51-75 Known to Exist
7) R-1 76-99 Known to Exist
* To date there have been no original steel dies found or known to exist.
GWI Buttons are Kept as either an Heirloom or Found as a Digger’s Treasure
1) A non-excavated button is one that would have been saved as a family heirloom, a keep sake, or was part of a collector’s coin collection. Only these buttons hold a market’s premium and should.
2) An excavated or dug button is one that was extracted from the ground by someone digging it up. This type of button would have been buried for an unspecified amount of time, and would have succumbed to the earths natural elements that are found in both dirt and ground water.
Most serious collectors consider these less desirable if un-dug specimens are available.