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Glossary of Historical Collectible Terms

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12mo (duodecimo)
a book or imprint that is between 7" and 7.75" tall, roughly the size of a mass market paperback
16mo (sextodecimo)
a book or imprint that is between 6" and 6.75" tall
a book or imprint that is between 5" and 5.75" tall
a book or imprint that is up to 5" tall
3-D Items
items that incorporate width, height, and depth into their design are known as 3-D, which is short for three dimensional
4to (quarto)
a book or imprint that is between 10" and 12" tall
8vo (octavo)
a book or imprint that is between 8" and 9.75" tall


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AD (Autograph Document)
handwritten by the person specified, but not signed
ADS (Autograph Document Signed)
both handwritten and signed by the person specified
AE (Autograph Endorsement)
a handwritten comment or notation written by the specified person on the margin or back of another document or letter
AES (Autograph Endorsement Signed)
same as above but also signed
AL (Autograph Letter)
handwritten by the specified person, but not signed
ALS (Autograph Letter Signed)
both handwritten and signed by the person specified
ANS (Autograph Note Signed)
as above, shorter than a letter (without salutation, etc.)
defined as "a public promotion of some product or service." Advertising collectibles come in many formats: signs, posters, trade cards, calendars, pinbacks, labels, trays, rulers, paperweights, etc
Albumen Print
the albumen photographic print, invented in 1850 by Louis Désiré Blanquart-Evrard, was the first commercially exploitable method of producing a photographic print on a paper base from a negative. It used the albumen found in egg whites to bind the photographic chemicals to the paper and became the dominant form of photographic positives from 1855 to the turn of the century, with a peak in the 1860-90 period. During the mid-1800s, the carte de visite became one of the more popular uses of the albumen method
an item that is recognizable in one form, which may have been changed or transformed into another form. For example, adding a ribbon and/or bar on to a pinback for which it was not originally intended; gluing manufacturer's papers inside the backs of buttons, usually to cover up some flaw; cutting out small candidate's photos to replace ferrotypes germane to that shell badge, paper hanger, etc
the ambrotype process is a photographic process that creates a positive photographic image on a sheet of glass using the wet plate collodion process. It was patented in 1854 by James Ambrose Cutting of Boston, in the United States. The ambrotype was much less expensive to produce than the daguerreotype, and it lacked the daguerreotype's shiny metallic surface. By the late 1850s, the ambrotype was overtaking the daguerreotype in popularity; by the mid-1860s, the ambrotype itself was supplanted by the tintype and other processes. Ambrotypes were often hand-tinted are usually found with a dark backing (black or sometimes ruby red). They were used during the political campaigns immediately following their invention, particularly the 1860 campaign
information handwritten by the artist, someone representing the estate, a collector, or someone else
aquatint is an intaglio printmaking technique, a variant of etching. Intaglio printmaking makes marks on the matrix (a copper or zinc plate) that are capable of holding ink. The inked plate is passed through a printing-press together with a sheet of paper, resulting in a transfer of the ink to the paper. This can be repeated a number of times, depending on the particular technique. Aquatint uses the application of acid to make the marks in the metal plate. Where the etching technique uses a needle to make lines that print in black (or whatever color ink is used), aquatint uses powdered resin which is acid resistant in the ground to create a tonal effect. Aquatints have broad tonal values and are thought to resemble ink or watercolor washes
Archival Quality
the term refers to conservation materials and techniques that are accepted by libraries for the preservation and permanent housing of their old and rare materials. Archival grade materials must be absolutely inert, with no chemical interaction with the objects, and the techniques must be reversible, that is, removable without leaving any traces on the objects. They can be obtained from supply houses specializing in this type of item
Automobile Attachment
sign, usually metal, attached to an automobile bumper, radiator, radio antenna, or as a hood ornament


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Backname Button
this type of clothing button has the actual political campaign slogan or the name of the candidate on the back of the button. It was seen on very early brass shank buttons. Examples exist for Jackson, Van Buren, Clay, William Henry Harrison, Monroe and others
roster of officially recognized candidates for office, or of proposed laws or enactments, used to cast a vote in an election
square of cloth, larger than a handkerchief, usually with a decorative border and central design, intended for use as a scarf. These were often issued as a political campaign souvenir
strip of cloth displaying a legend, slogan, portrait or scene especially one attached to a horizontal staff and carried in a procession
Bartender's Button
a pinback button that usually includes photos of the candidates from both parties in order to reflect a neutral position (a position that a bartender might take). Examples exist for Taft and Bryan in 1908, FDR and Willkie in 1940, and others
a metal blade such as a long knife or short sword that can be fixed to the end of a rifle and used as a weapon in hand-to-hand combat
the method of holding pages or sheets together. Can be as simple as stapling, but most often refers to a "hard" binding or covers. This type of binding may be covered with cloth, various leathers, or paper over boards. The following terms relate primarily to leather bindings:
  • Full Bound - A book that is covered entirely in the same fine material (calf, morocco, etc.)
  • Three Quarter Bound - A book that has leather spine and corners that occupy approximately 3/4 of the space along top edge of board (cover).
  • Half Bound - A book with the spine and outer corners in leather.
  • Quarter Bound - A book with leather backstrip or spine. Usually lacks leather corners.
In the above cases, the remainder of the board is covered with marbled paper, plain paper, cloth, a different leather, etc
a colorless impression that is embossed on paper or on the cloth or leather binding of a book. When it is found on the binding, it is typically for decorative purposes. On a print or photograph, it is used as a distinguishing mark of the artist, publisher, or former owner
the stiff material used to manufacture hardcover books. Early published books (c. 1600) often used actual wooden boards for binding. Modern books commonly use cardboard covered in paper or cloth
a label placed in a book to indicate ownership. Most bookplates are decorative, often with the intent of portraying some insight into personality of the book's owner. An author's bookplate can add value to a book by making it an association copy. Most often, though, the presence of a bookplate reduces a book's value
the characteristic of an object that allows it to flake or break easily when touched. In paper, this is usually due to high acid content
a broadside is a large (larger than 4to) poster, banner, or flier printed on one side only. Usually contains text with few, if any, graphic images, and used as an announcement or an advertisement. Related to the handbill, the brochure, and the pamphlet
a noun defined as a showy, but inferior and worthless thing. This includes all fakes, reproductions and fantasy items
in the political Americana hobby, a button usually refers to a pinback, but also includes shank-back items
Button Paper
the paper on which the design is printed in a pinback button


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Cabinet Card
the style of photograph that was universally adopted for photographic portraiture in about 1870. It consists of a thin photograph (most often an albumen print) mounted on a card measuring approximately 4 1/4" x 6 1/2". They often include logos and information to advertise the photographer's services on the lower front border and/or the verso of the card Cabinet cards were popular from the late 1860s until about 1900
Campaign Torch
campaign torches were used in political parades held at night
Carte de Visite (CDV)
a type of photograph adopted in America from about 1860 consisting of (usually) an albumen photographic print measuring 2.125" x 3.5" mounted on a card sized 2.5" x 4" (the size of a visiting card). Their immense popularity led to the publication and collection of photographs of prominent people; albums were produced for their storage and display. The larger cabinet cards supplanted CDVs starting in the early 1870s
these are items that relate to a particular political issue such as prohibition, woman's suffrage, etc
semi-synthetic plastic patented in 1869 by brothers John and Isaiah Hyatt, composed of cellulose nitrate and camphor. Easily molded, it was used in a variety of commercial applications including as a replacement for ivory, until it became obsolete in the 1940s with the introduction of plastics. The process for using celluloid film to laminate pinback buttons was patented by the Whitehead & Hoag Co. of Newark, New Jersey on July 17, 1894
Celluloid Button
this refers to a pinback button. The most common method for construction is as follows: an image was printed on paper, celluloid was placed onto the paper, then the combination of the paper/celluloid was secured (wrapped) onto a metal disk. The paper/celluloid application was held in place on the metal disk by wrapping it around the curl of the metal disk, then stabilized by a metal rim (or collet) that was pressed onto the back of the pin. Celluloid has not been used in the manufacture of pinback buttons for decades, now replaced by acetate
a method for making multi-color prints. The process is chemical; an image is applied to a stone or zinc plate with a grease-based crayon (limestone and zinc are two commonly used materials). After the image is drawn onto stone, another stone is inked with oil based paints or greasy pens, and pressed against the stone containing the image. A different stone is required for each color, and each color must be applied one at a time. Once the colors have been applied, the stone with the complete colored image is pressed against a sheet of paper. Each sheet of paper will pass through the press as many times as there are colors in the final print. Popularized in America from 1860 by Louis Prang and was the process of choice for producing cigar labels until about 1920
a locking catch or clasp that firmly secures the pin as an option to the more common spring-wire pin
Clothing Button
clothing buttons are usually metal or cloth covered metal buttons with a shank back used on gentlemen's coats in commemorating or honoring a political candidate or military hero. Clothing buttons are also called shank buttons
a term is used to describe a campaign item (most commonly a pinback button) where a candidate is linked or attached to another candidate in order to strengthen the potential of winning the election. This comes from the phrase "riding on his coat tails." Examples of this might be a pinback button that pictures the candidate for president of the U.S. and a candidate for governor or senator of a state
the buckling or waviness of a flat surface. On paper, this is usually caused by water damage or fold memory
Collector's Item
any item that has been manufactured before, during, or after a campaign for the purpose of sale or trade to collectors, but not actually used in the campaign
a collet is the metal band used in the production of celluloid buttons. It is what holds the paper and protective celluloid covering to the metal disc that makes up the button
a colophon is a brief description usually located at the end of a book, describing production notes relevant to the edition. In many cases, it is a description of the text typography identifying the names of the primary typefaces used, etc. It may also identify the book's designer, software used, printing method, the printing company, and the kind of ink, paper, and its cotton content. Detailed colophons are a characteristic feature of limited edition and private press printing. If a book has a colophon, it may appear either on the same page as the copyright information, or at the back of the volume. In early printed books the colophon follows the final words of the text. A less frequent use of the term is for a printer's mark or logotype
Companion Piece
the exact mate to an item made by the same manufacturer for the opposing candidate
an inscription or mark on a printed item indicating protection by government acts. The copyright usually includes the date since copyrights are in effect for a specific number of years
a defect on the face of a celluloid button. Can certainly adversely impact value
minute cracks, as in the glaze of ceramics or, within the trade, the celluloid lamination of pinback buttons or the emulsion of ferrotypes
the outer edge or rim of a pinback. Often, the name of the manufacturer or that of the political committee creating or funding the item is printed on the curl


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DS (Document Signed)
printed or handwritten by another, but signed by the specified person
the world's first practical photographic process invented by Louis-Jacques Mandé Daguerre in 1839 where the photograph was produced by treating a copper plate with a light-sensitized surface coating of silver iodide. A daguerreotype is distinctive for its highly polished silver support and its quality of appearing either as a negative or positive, depending on the angle and light from which it is viewed. Daguerreotypes are light sensitive and fragile, and are usually stored in cases for protection. They were used until about 1860. Politically, daguerreotypes were introduced in the 1848 campaign of Zachary Taylor
a stain, usually a brownish color, resulting from water or other liquid damage to a book or paper item
the process by which harmful acids are neutralized in paper, chiefly by the application of an alkaline agent such as calcium carbonate. Acidic paper, especially when exposed to light, air pollution, or high relative humidity, yellows and becomes brittle over time. Deacidification neutralizes the existing acid and helps prevent further decay
Deckle Edge
the rough uneven edges naturally present in early handmade papers, generally observed in newspapers and magazines printed before about 1830. In modern times, the effect can be produced artificially by machines
a blemish which detracts from the appearance and appeal of an item; the monetary value is often reduced for effective items according to the extent of the defect. Includes cracks, fading, foxing, off center, scratches, splits, spots, stains, and yellowing
Delegate Button
buttons produced to be worn by members of a delegation at a national or state political convention or meeting. They were usually not manufactured in large quantities, adding to their collector appeal
in modern times, documents and important papers are usually kept flat in a file folder; in earlier times, they were folded multiple times (usually to the size that would easily fit into a modern envelope) and a summary of what the content entailed was written at the top of the back on the short edge. This summary is called the docketing information and it sometimes contains important details about the item. Occasionally, a signature or endorsement will be found there
Dust Jacket (DJ) or Dust Wrapper
a decorative piece of paper wrapped around modern books to protect their binding. The absence of a dust jacket on a book that was originally issued with one lowers its value, sometimes as much as 90%. Modern firsts are generally devastated by the loss of a dust jacket while art books, for example, may suffer only a slight decline


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an electrolytic casting process used to copy a block or plate into a metal facsimile. Wood engravings made for book illustration in the late nineteenth century were printed mainly from electrotypes rather than the original wood, which might have deteriorated over the run
Elephant Folio
a very large book or print with a height between 15.25" and 23"
Electoral Ticket
a campaign or souvenir piece made by pressing a penny between rollers into an oval shaped planchet upon which a candidate's (or other) image is stamped by a die
colored opaque glass or glaze-like substance that is bonded to a metal, ceramic, or glass surface. Used for decoration or protection
any item that is held within a frame. For example, a cello button in a brass shell or a mirror in a gold encasement
the piece of paper that, when pasted to the boards, attaches the book to its binding. One side is stuck to the board (the pastedown) and the other is free (the free endpaper). The right / left position of pastedown and free end papers are reversed front and back
usually used in reference to paper collectibles. The definition of ephemera is "developed for very short life or duration." When applying this term to collectibles, it comes to mean items that were only meant to be around for a short while, but somehow have survived long past their useful life. Examples of paper ephemera would be advertisements, tickets, handbills, programs, newspapers, etc


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a defect common to celluloid buttons and photographic items that have been over-exposed to sunlight. Adversely affects value
a general term referring to a non-original item made primarily to fool collectors. Related terms include fantasy piece, re-run, reproductions and re-strike
Fantasy Item
an item purporting to be authentic, but which did not exist in any form at the time of the campaign indicated by the item
Favorite Son
a term that is used to describe a presidential or vice presidential candidate whose name is placed in nomination at a political convention by his or her home state
Filled Back
a very early style of celluloid button manufacture in which a disc-shaped collet rather than a ring-shaped collet was used to crimp the button together
First Edition
the first published appearance of a book. To book collectors, it is shorthand for first edition, first printing
a defect of ferrotype items in which a particle of the photo emulsion is chipped away
a blank leaf (or leaves) inserted during the binding process between the free end paper and the beginning or end of the printed pages
a fob is an ornament attached to the chain of a pocket watch. Many fobs were produced for political candidates indicating a voter's preference. Popular in the early 1900s
this term refers to a large size newspaper, print, or book. Usually applied to items between 12.25" and 15" tall
foxing is an undesirable brownish patchy or spotty discoloration on paper and celluloid items due to interaction of chemicals in the paper with moisture
Frame (Political Item)
a thin metal clip-on device that could be used to "dress up" or attach a ribbon to a celluloid button, often removable
Frontispiece (Frontis)
a plate or illustration at the front of the book, usually facing the title page. Frontispieces are often of much higher quality than the rest of the illustrations in a book. The absence of a frontispiece sometimes indicates a later printing of the book
Full Title Page
also called the title page, the page bearing the title, author, publisher and often the date


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gold leaf that has been applied to the binding or page edges of a book
Gold Bug
a William McKinley metal item from either 1896 or 1900 looking like a bug or bee. They are not actually gold but indicated that McKinley supported the gold monetary standard (his opponent, William Jennings Bryan, supported the silver standard). Many varieties exist, including some with the candidate's picture on the bug's back, and even some mechanical varieties in which the wings pop out to reveal McKinley's picture on one wing and the vice presidential candidate's picture on the other


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Half-Title Page
a page in a book bearing the title only and preceding the full title page
small printed sheet, quarto or smaller, to be distributed by hand and used for product or candidate advertising
the paper or tape used to affix a print to a backing
an item, usually a token or ferrotype, made with a hole in it near the edge which is used to suspend the item for viewing. The hole does not diminish the button's value and is not a defect
a document that is written by hand in its entirety by the person whose signature it bears
until a party has officially nominated a candidate, he is considered a "hopeful"


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a manuscript in which the text has added to it decorated initials, borders, or miniature painted illustrations. Technically, the term only applies to gold or silver applications but in general usage, it can refer to any decorated or illustrated manuscript from the Western or Islamic traditions
any printed object, from a single sheet broadside to a set of books. The term is also used to indicate the source of a published item, such as is found at the bottom of the title page of a book
Inaugural Item
an item created specifically for the inauguration of an elected official
lettering or a design that has been stamped or punched into an item; opposite of raised
Integral (Address) Leaf
most letter or notepaper of the 18th and 19th centuries consisted of a large sheet folded once vertically into a booklet of four pages (sometimes called a bifolia). The letter (document, etc.) would be written first on what was essentially the cover page and then continued inside (or on the back). Before manufactured envelopes came into wide use in the 1850s, these lettersheets were then folded, sealed with wax, addressed, and posted. In this situation, the original address information (often in the notable person's handwriting) and any postal markings show up in the center of the back of the folder or on what's called the integral address leaf


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a campaign item that pictures two candidates; generally the president and vice-president but also includes the governor and lieutenant governor, and others. The term most commonly refers to pinback buttons, but also applies to posters, pennants, postcards, textiles, and many other forms of political items. Many collectors have a strong interest in jugates


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Laid Paper
a handmade paper showing the parallel lines of the papermaking frame, visible when held up to the light
Lamination Problem
flaw in the lamination of a pinback button, usually occurring in manufacture, resulting in trapped air beneath the lamination or the separation of the lamination from the collet or backing
Lapel Stud
a lapel stud is usually round in shape like a button, but with a metal shank on the back to hold the item in a buttonhole. Can look just like a pinback from the front, popular in the late 1800s and early 1900s
Leaf (Leaves)
a sheet of any written or printed material, especially in a manuscript or book
Limited Edition
a book or print where the publication is restricted to a certain number of copies. Limited editions are often signed and numbered by the author; books can have a colophon indicating the total number of books printed
a litho is a button where no celluloid is used in the manufacture. They are stamped from a sheet of lithographed tin. There is no collet on the back and the pin is held in only by the curvature of the metal rim. Lithos were commonly used after 1916 and are more susceptible to surface scratching than celluloids
lithographs are prints and broadsides made using the lithograph printing process in which chemical processes are used to create the image from a flat stone
any items that were used to support campaigns below the presidential or national level


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the wording that tells who made an item. Used both for political items and matchcovers
certain types of campaign items which have moving parts. During the late 1800s, campaign items such as tin shell items were created using a spring mechanism
a round metallic object without denomination or monetary value manufactured to commemorate some person, thing, or event of historical interest or importance
a small coinlike item (usually smaller than a 50¢ piece) issued to commemorate a person or event. Examples exist from Washington throughout the 19th century. Both sides generally have images of the candidate and/or campaign slogans and text. Smaller versions are known as tokens
Media Button
buttons produced to be worn by members of the media travelling with a candidate on the campaign trail
Memorial Item
an item commemorating the death of a president, often made with a black border
Metamorphic Card
by using moving parts or special folds, different pictures would appear, changing from the image of one candidate to his opponent
a print made by a method of intaglio printing that involves roughening the surface of the (usually copper) plate so that it prints black, then working the plate from darker to lighter values by scraping and burnishing
a political item such as a poster or postcard that shows multiple photos of candidates (four or more)


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No Date (n.d.)
no date of origin indicated
No Place (n.p.)
no place of origin indicated
Nose Thumber
a variety of mechanical watch fob in the image of Garfield, Hancock, Cleveland, or Harding in which the candidate thumbs his nose in a derisive gesture at his opponent when actuated by a small trigger in the foot
Not Sold
This indicates an item that did not sell at auction either because it did not receive bids equal to or greater than the reserve (minimum bid) amount set by the consignor, or because the sale was canceled.


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the front side of an item, the opposite of reverse
Off Center
a defective item in which the image is not centered
an item, statement, slogan, etc. that is approved or sanctioned by a political party, candidate, or committee for use in support of a candidate's campaign
books that are no longer printed and which are no longer available from the publisher


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Parade Torch
small oil lamp meant to be attached to a pole and carried in a nighttime political or cause parade
Photographic Plate Sizes
19th century photographs are often described by their size in relation to a full photographic plate. Approximate sizes are as follows:
  • Full Plate (6.5" x 8.5")
  • Three-Quarter Plate (5.5" x 7.25")
  • Half Plate (1/2) Plate (4.5" x 5.5")
  • Quarter Plate (3.25" x 4.25")
  • Sixth Plate (2.75" x 3.25")
  • Ninth Plate (2" x 2.25")
  • Sixteenth Plate (1" x 1.5")
  • Gem (smaller than a sixteenth plate).
a photomechanical process that reproduces all gradations of black through white on an intaglio metal plate
a button, usually round, bearing a printed design or slogan obverse, with a clasp on the reverse to allow attachment to clothing. Most common forms are celluloid and litho. Produced from 1896 forward
Platinum Print
first developed in 1873, platinum coated papers were commercially available until about 1937, when the cost of platinum made the process prohibitively expensive. For a short while the platinum was replaced with the less costly palladium. The photographic process is based on the light sensitivity of paper that has been treated with iron salts and a platinum compound and then developed in a potassium oxalate. Platinum prints were popular because of their permanency and their wide range of soft gray tonalities
Pocket Mirror
small mirror carried as a personal accessory, often with advertising on the back
Portrait Badge
a portrait badge is an actual photograph of a candidate mounted in ornamental brass or a metallic frame as a pinback or badge. Portrait badges were popular between 1860 and 1890
paper bill or sign for posting in a public place, especially one that is decorative or pictorial
something given away free or at a reduced price with the purchase of a product or service. Many early campaign items were premiums produced for advertising purposes
refers to all copies of a book printed in one production run
the ownership history of a collectible. Can include information of the origin and/or a list of the chain of ownership. Ex-collection indicates that the named person was a recent owner
paper made with cellulose wood tissue, which is then bleached. It is highly unstable because of the short fiber length and the high lignin content. Can also refer to an inexpensive fiction magazines published from the 1920s to the 1950s


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Rag Paper
paper made of cotton or linen fibers instead of wood pulp. This paper is stronger and more durable due to its low acidity and long paper fibers. When properly cared for, is capable of surviving the passage of time
Re-Pinned Buttons
a pinback where one or more of the components are old, but other components are newer (of recent manufacture). They are not 100% legitimate, even though one or more of their components are old
Reader's Copy
a book in poor condition that is better suited for reading than collecting. It may be soiled, scuffed, stained or spotted, and have loose hinges or pages, but it must have a complete and readable text
culpture in which shapes are carved on a surface as to stand out from the background
Ribbon Badge
badge consisting of a decorative bar from which a ribbon, sometimes in combination with other ornaments, is suspended
Riker Mounts
display cases used for storing a collection of small items such as campaign buttons. The cases have a heavy cardboard frame, a clear glass cover, and cotton padding inside


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SP (Signed Photograph)
photo picturing and signed by the specified person
an overall brown (with tinges of red) tone in a photograph as opposed to black
a fine art screen-print using a stencil process
a group of two or more items issued at the same time by one source that are related. For example, the Goldwater foreign language button set
Shank Button
a button suitable for stitching to clothing by sewing through holes in a shank extending from the back of the button
Shell Badge
badge made of thin, die-cut metal, usually with embossed design. Political shell badges often contain cardboard or ferrotype portraits of candidates for elective office
Shell Medalet
first used in 1844, impressions were made on very thin sheets of metal, or shells. The shells were then joined to form the obverse and reverse sides of a medal. These were often ringed at the top so that they could be worn as a locket or pendulum
Silver Bug
the William Jennings Bryan companion piece to a gold bug from the 1896 and 1900 elections. There are numerous versions including mechanicals
flat-crowned hat with a wide straight brim, originally made of straw, later of plastic or Styrofoam simulating straw. Often worn by delegates at political conventions
a box with one open side, into which a book or group of imprints are placed for protection and storage on a shelf with books
that part of a book's covering that encloses the folds or inner side of the pages. It is the part that is outwardly visible when shelved and generally bears the title, author, and often the name of the publisher
a separation of the celluloid covering of a button, usually found on the outer edge of the curl where the celluloid is stretched over the shell backing
Staff Button
worn by members of a candidate's campaign staff while on the campaign trail
Stereograph (Stereo Card, Stereoview)
a pair of photographic images mounted side by side on a horizontal card. When viewed through a stereoscope, a three dimensional image is seen. Stereographs were popular from the 1860s through the 1920s and include many political views
a viewer for stereo cards or stereoviews
the first multi-color woven silk ribbon available, invented by Thomas Stevens of Coventry. England. The process allowed pictures to be woven on a jacquard-style loom. Sometimes called Stevengraphs, many designs pertain to political subjects
an item with a long pin permanently attached to a head, often bearing a political candidate's name or image
a device worn through a lapel buttonhole
a type of brooch found during the early 19th century for such candidates as Jackson, Van Buren, and William Henry Harrison with cameo visualizations of a candidate or party symbol set onto an enameled surface. They are quite rare and collectible. Sulfides were also used as paperweights, perfume bottles, and marbles in later campaigns
Sunned, Sunning
the discoloration or fading of a book's binding or dust jacket, usually at the spine or edges, by exposure to sunlight or bright incandescent light


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TLS (Typed Letter Signed)
a letter typed or computer-printed and signed by the specified person
TNS (Typed Note Signed)
as above, shorter than a letter
a lithographed, one-piece metal item that includes a tab at the top that can be bent over in order to attach it to a shirt pocket. Usually contains a political slogan or candidate's photo
Third Party
parties fielding candidates from other that the two major parties, Democrat and Republican. Examples would include Independent, Progressive, Socialist, Labor, States Rights, or Communist
Tipped In
when an illustration, letter, photograph or some object is attached to the page of a book by its corners or one side, usually by glue or paste
also called the title page, the page bearing the title, author, publisher and often the date
a small coin-like object issued to commemorate a person or event or to be exchanged for goods or services. Both sides of political tokens generally have images of the candidate and/or campaign slogans and text. Larger tokens are known as medalets
Top Edge Gilt (T.E.G.)
the top edges of a book's pages have a thin layer of gold leaf applied
an item that shows photos of three candidates. The candidates shown are often president, vice president, and a state candidate such as a governor or senator
True Copy
an exact copy of the full text of a document with no alterations or changes often produced at a later date from the original on file. Will sometimes be notated as such by the clerk making the copy
this refers to the sharply cut off edge of a bust, where the engraver often places his name or initials


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an item with a photo, inscription, message, etc., on only one side. The reverse is blank and has a pin or shank, etc. This is most often used when referring to a political ferrotype
Union Bug
the union trademark, usually oval in shape, containing the union name and number of the workers who produced a button or imprint. They can appear on the front of the item, around the curl of a pinback, stamped into the metal back of a pinback, or on the backpaper. Also found on printed posters and banners


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a sketch or word picture that shades off gradually into the surrounding paper
Volunteer Button
produced to be worn by volunteers working on a candidate's campaign


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a distinguishing mark on a sheet of paper made during its manufacture by variations in pulp thickness. Visible when held to the light, it may appear as a symbol, monogram, date, or company name
a relief printmaking method. The design is cut out with a knife or gouge from wood and ink is then applied to the raised surfaces. Historically, the oldest printmaking method


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a condition seen in new or old celluloid buttons in which the synthetic covering develops a yellowed appearance


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Condition Standards for Antique Firearms

Factory New
all original parts; 100% original finish; in perfect condition in every aspect, inside and out.
all original parts; over 80% original finish; sharp lettering, numerals and design on metal and wood, unmarred wood; fine bore.
all original parts; over 30% original finish; sharp lettering, numerals and design on metal and wood; minor marks in wood; good bore.
Very Good
all original parts; none to 30% original finish; original metal surfaces smooth will all edges sharp; clear lettering, numerals and design on metal; wood slightly scratched or bruised; bore disregarded for collectors firearms.
some minor replacement parts; metal smoothly rusted or lightly pitted in places, cleaned or re-blued; principal lettering, numerals and design on metal legible; wood refinished, scratched, bruised or minor cracks repaired; in good working order.
some major parts replaced; minor replacement parts may be required; metal rusted, may be lightly pitted all over, vigorously cleaned or re-blued; rounded edges of metal and wood; principal lettering, numerals and design on metal partly obliterated; wood scratched, bruised, cracked or repaired where broken; in fair working order or can be easily repaired and placed in working order.
major and minor parts replaced; major replacement parts required and extensive restoration needed; metal deeply pitted; principal lettering, numerals and design obliterated; wood badly scratched, bruised, cracked or broken; mechanically inoperative; generally undesirable as a collectors firearms.

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