* GWI 21 *
The Stipple Script GW Monogram
W/ Federal Eagle Above

1789 George Washington Inaugural Button, GWI 21-B


GWI 21-A & B THE STIPPLE SCRIPT “GW” MONOGRAM WITH FEDERAL EAGLE ABOVE: So far, there appears to be a limited number of these very high end buttons known to exist. GWI 21 was fashioned in Gilt Brass. (There could have possibly been Silver Plated Copper examples made, but none are known of date). GWI 21-A is an engraved pattern; and GWI 21-B’s pattern is cut in high relief. The Size for both GWI 21 A & B is 25mm., and both share an R-7 Rarity Rating. Both buttons are flat one-piece buttons with soldered on loop shanks.

The button’s pattern depicts a Federal Spread Eagle above a Script GW Monogram. In the eagle’s left talon is a Bundle of Thirteen Arrows pointing upward toward the left. The arrows symbolize the unity of the 13 states behind the Federal government. In the Eagles right talon is an Olive Branch to symbolize our country’s willingness, and desire for peace. The olive branch is a metaphor was taken from the ancient Romans. In GWI 21 A & B there is a Federal Shield with Thirteen Stripes covering the eagle’s chest. Four stripes going horizontally across the top half, and nine stripes going vertical across the lower portion. (In GWI 21-C Reproduction there is a “Y” pattern on the shield). Situated below the eagle is George Washington’s, “GW” Monogram with a flamboyant Diamond Cut Stipple Swirl Pattern off the letters. I believe this was specially designed to catch the sun or even candle light, and give a glimmering diamond effect to on lookers. This would have been an exceptional item to wear for the Grand Balls during that era. 

I decided to define GWI 21-B as a new sub-variety of the GWI 21 family. This will allow GWI button collectors to make the distinction between the two known design patterns. I felt this new introduction is justified because of the stark differences but sharing the same design platform. What makes this new variety unique is that it was fashioned in verso of the parent. Unlike GWI 21-A, GWI 21-B’s design pattern is hand fashioned in high relief. The button’s pattern incorporates Diamond Cut Edges and Stipple Pattern to the the monogram’s letters. This design allows the button to receive and utilize more reflective light giving it a “Bling Effect, Jewel look.” GWI 21-A depicts an older Style Federal Eagle with an open beak, as if calling. It’s wing span is spaced wide, and away from the shield. Collectors should note, this style eagle has been noted in other Federal and Masonic works by Robert Scott and his Philadelphia artists.  GWI 21-B’s depicts a more of a modern style Federal Eagle with a closed beak. It’s wings are also closer to the to the shield. GWI 21-B is the more elaborate of the two versions, and was designed at the height of an era in which the aristocracy flaunted the large fancy dandy buttons.





Color: A Silvery Charcoal with Red Clay Encrustations.
Metal: Flat, 1-Piece, Impressed Design, Gilt Brass.
Size: 25mm.
Rarity: R-7
Variety Type: Old Style Federal Eagle / Impressed Design.
Present Condition: A Dug Specimen, A Fair Planchet Condition, A Good Impression Remains.
Obverse Button Analysis: This is a wonderful re-discovered GWI 21-A button found by expert metal detector enthusiast Dale Hawley. The brass planchet is unfortunately deteriorated, but the button still shows a good foot print of the original design pattern. 
Reverse Button Analysis: This is a flat one-piece button with a soldered on loop shank. The shank was reportedly broken off by digger after excavation. 

Library Records Has Limited Information GWI 21 A-1:
History:      Yes          Recorded Sales Price: Digger is owner
Current Button Owner and Location: ~ Massachusetts ~

Dug in a cellar hole in Western Massachusetts with a Rev War Belt Plate in 2012!
The Dale Collection.

“Robert, If I had my jelly with me this day when the button was dug, I could have saved 100% of the original finish that is dark green now if treated when it was dug. First time ever I did not have my jelly with me. I left it on my shelf when I pulled the 21st Regiment Belt Plate out of my hunting pouch two days earlier. Anyway this is where we are at. I saved 65% of the original surface of the button which seems terrible, but this is what the button will look like if I wanted to condition it for display. Keep in mind that after you do this the original finish is gone forever, but at this point as it is now, I have two options for the button still looks good as it is now. If I wanted to make it look great, I would remove the dark green patina except on the eagles dark green head, dark green tail, claws and shield. What you have left is a master piece of red with a porous surface. There would be dark green in the recessed script GW, and that would look great against the red of the cleaned button.” ~Dale 





Color: A Nicely Aged Charcoal-Brown Base with a Pleasing Greenish-Gold Patina.
Metal: Flat, 1-Piece, Raised Design, Gilt Brass.
Size: 25mm.
Rarity: R-7
Variety Type: New Style Eagle / Raised Design.
Present Condition: A Dug Specimen, A Fair Planchet Condition, A Strong High Relief Pattern Remains.
Obverse Button Analysis: This is the only GW Inaugural button that was fashioned in high relief. 
Reverse Button Analysis: This is a flat one-piece button with a soldered on loop shank. Unfortunately, the shank was broken off because of sloppy excavation techniques. Correct field training for this individual is highly recommended before future digs. The surface still retains a good amount of gilt, but has pockets of corrosion and porosity.

Library Records Has Limited Information GWI 21 B-1:
   Yes          Recorded Sales Price: Digger is Owner

Current Button Owner and Location: ~ Massachusetts ~

Excavated on the Massachusetts/Connecticut Border
The Dale Collection. 




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

Most Likely Made for the 25th (1801) Anniversary of the American Revolution.

Color: A Brownish Charcoal Red With a Silvery Undertone.
Metal: Flat, 1-Piece, Impressed Eagle, Hand-Engraved Monogram, White Metal.
Size: 23.33mm.
Rarity: R-6
Variety Type: Foliated GW Monogram / Federal Eagle / Impressed Design / T Shape Shield / Swirly Dotted Script GW.
Present Condition: A Non Dug Specimen, A Strong Planchet, A Strong 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 patterns made 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. (Neither here nor there, the originals would have probably been made out of brass planchets because of the gilt finish). 
Reverse Button Analysis: This is a flat one-piece button with a soldered on loop shank. The shank is original, straight, and intact.

The Isabela Collection.~