Border buttons

A place for various different forms of insignia used by the Regiment.

Re: Border buttons

Postby kerchi » Mon Sep 24, 2012 1:15 pm

Thanks Paul. So, items with these marks are genuine? Unless they have been somehow copied too. If such items don't carry marks or stamps should they be avoided?
In memory of John Bardgett (15309 L/Cpl.), 11th Border Regiment who died 1st July 1916.

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Re: Border buttons

Postby plbramham » Mon Sep 24, 2012 6:43 pm

I don't think that the value of buttons has reached the level where it is worthwhile copying them (yet), so you should be safe. I really cannot see anyone wasting their efforts - if they were going to fake anything they would do it with something more valuable. I have heard that fake 4th Btn badges have been passed off as originals helped by attaching a genuine J R Gaunt slider( probably taken off a common badge like RA, RASC etc)to make them appear more authentic.
Standard Border cap badges are so cheap ( or should be say £5-£12) that you would think you are safe. However there are copies. One ebay dealer is honesty selling them as restrikes - why anyone buys them when when you can buy an original for the same price I cannot understand. As the standard badge was pretty much unchanged between 1902-52 apart from minor differences between suppliers, with variations in metal mixes etc,they are pretty hard to date, although I reckon the George V ones "feel" different. The standard badge was issued from Edwardian times until 1953 when the King's crown was exchanged for the Elizabeth II crown. There are so many around 99% will be genuine. But,( you know by now what I'm going to say!) don't pay too much. An e-bay bargain I got for £8-50 was for four cap badges - one a rare 1916 brass type, a nice whitemetal Eliz II Queen's crown, an old standard Kings crown type " customised" by bending to fit the curve of the cap, plus a restrike (Hey, maybe they are collectible if they are rarer than originals!)
I wouldn't say avoid unmarked items, especially badges which are normally unmarked (except sometimes , as above J.R. Gaunt on the slider) because they were all contracted out so a short run may have been made by a small manufacturer ( possibly overseas suppliers too if you're going back into the first half of the 20th century. On that vein, the Calcutta mint produced a lot of military items in the 19th century)
Cheers Paul.
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Re: Border buttons

Postby kerchi » Mon Sep 24, 2012 9:25 pm

Thanks again Paul, this info is really helpful. I guess the whole faking buttons does, now that you mention it, seem like a waste of time and effort.

As there are always badges for auction I will keep an eye open for things that are more unusual; I would though, like to collect a few different types and eventually find something similar to the display case you have mentioned in the other topic so I can display them properly.
In memory of John Bardgett (15309 L/Cpl.), 11th Border Regiment who died 1st July 1916.

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Re: Border buttons

Postby kerchi » Tue Sep 25, 2012 7:18 pm

Paul, looking at the articles in the links it makes it sound that most of the badges floating around on ebay are copies or fakes and if you are lucky enough to get an original it will cost you big...£200+ for the 4th and 5th Btn ones depending on badge. I'd like to get both the 4th and 5th Btn badges but apparently they are copies. When I look at the ones available (any badge), even when some are stamped or say they are genuine, I don't think they are. I think unless you are a dealer or have researched them for some time you can't really tell to the untrained eye what's real or not. You must have spent a fortune collecting yours if real badges cost hundreds of pounds. Even the 11th Btn badge that has silver mark on the reverse according to the article is a copy. It's all very confusing :-\
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Re: Border buttons

Postby plbramham » Tue Sep 25, 2012 9:20 pm

Chris, As I said I don't entirely believe in all that is written in that guide, just that it is a good starting point. I reckon it's approach can be a bit scary and maybe puts people off.
I actually bought my 4th Btn badge from a dealer in America for £25, far less than in the UK because they are not in demand out there, and I am satisfied that it is genuine, but 4th badges are most certainly very widely faked and almost all you will see on e bay are copies. My 5th badge is in a poor state ( heavy wear and polishing) and I bought it years ago from a private source in Whitehaven, so I am satisfied with that too. The 11th badge I paid a low price for, but more than it's silver scrap value. I bought that from a family who had ancestors in the Lonsdales, so I was pretty happy with that but not totally certain. I know my brass 11th badge is a fake but was given it .
I reckon buttons are a good field, because you can get an interesting selection at a low price, and you can’t get ripped off for much .
The three Border button sizes you’ll mainly see are: large- approx. 25mm, medium (most common) –approx. 19mm, and small – approx. 15mm.
A good guide to sizes, types of British army buttons and their uses is:
http://homepage.ntlworld.com/mike.comer ... NCE/29.htm
The “standard” Border button with the dragon and CHINA on it was used for a very long time. I am not sure when it was first issued ( maybe from the very start in 1881?) but it was certainly in use in Edwardian times right up until amalgamation in 1959, and then it continued in use with the KORBR in staybrite form. Standard badges should never cost more than a couple of quid, maybe a fiver if it has good details remaining that have not been polished away
You will sometimes (but rarely) see them without the “CHINA”. This type was worn by the 3rd and 4th Btns. as they were not eligible for the China battle honour. You’ll pay more for these.
I have never heard of or seen any variants for other battalions, not even the Lonsdales. You would have thought Lord Lonsdale would have wanted a special design to match his dragon cap badge? (Perhaps he was sulking after his grey uniform design was turned down?!!)
There are many other types such as mess buttons (often from tailors and bearing either a Border crest, or 34 for 1st Btn, and 55 for 2nd Btn.), buttons for shoulder boards, caps, belts, pouches etc. These types and their uses are well documented in the above website.
I am not familiar with the militia and yeomanry buttons of Cumberland and Westmorland, but I am sure that quite a variety exists.
The most expensive button I have bought was £20 from a Russian metal detector who had found a Crimea War 55th Regiment of Foot button on the site of the old British barracks at Sevastapol . He had unearthed quite a selection of British, French, and Russian buttons and insignia. I’m guessing he found an infirmary where piles of bloody or dirty tunics from wounded soldiers were dumped in a pit for burning or burial? The other more unsavoury alternative is that was a mass grave, but he didn’t mention any bone fragments!
The cheapest buttons I have bought were 25 KORBR staybrite buttons for £4.50 the lot! The staybrites look cheap and tacky, but I sewed them onto a red card mounted on a black background in a recessed frame (a charity shop find which had previously held dried flowers). Finished off with a caption from the computer I reckon the result looks quite respectable - except the fittings on the backs of the buttons make the red card bulge a bit looked at from an angle but it's OK viewed head on, what do you reckon? (See below)
Cheers Paul.
Attachments
1 frame.jpg
KORBR staybrite frame
1 55th.jpg
55th button
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Re: Border buttons

Postby plbramham » Wed Sep 26, 2012 9:00 am

Chris , later thought. If you’re worried about copies, had you considered collecting collar badges? Thinking about it I don’t recall ever seeing one which I did not consider to be genuine. (I guess the fakers reckon they may as well spend their time and effort producing a full size one)The collar badges are smaller versions of the cap badges without a crown, (except you will find some officer’s bronze collar badges which are full size, but have the lug/ loop fittings on the back instead of a slider)
The collar badges come in pairs with the dragons facing left or right depending on which side of the neck they were to be worn.
There are no variations between battalions (not even the Lonsdales) as they all wore the standard badge except for the volunteer/militia who have no battle honours on the arms of the cross.
The fittings on the back are two lugs (ring loops) to take a cotter pin, but you will often find them with a broach pin as their size made ideal for conversion into sweetheart broaches
The types I have seen are: (see photos in the gallery)
1)Standard , 2) Standard Victorian – only 11 battle honours before Boer War honours added, 3) Officers dress – silvered metal with white and red enamel centre, 4) officers bronze full size, 5) volunteer/militia btn. – no battle honours on arms. 6) early type Victorian -post 1881, with a dragon and wreath
Hope this is of interest as there are a few on ebay at present. Don’t mix them up with the very much larger (and more expensive, hence worth copying) helmet plate centres which look very similar on a photo without a ruler etc. for a size comparison, Paul
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Re: Border buttons

Postby kerchi » Wed Sep 26, 2012 10:38 pm

Thanks for the extra info Paul, I will steer clear from those 4th / 5th Btn fakes.

I like the buttons I've seen in the different sizes and the link to the regimental buttons page is very useful. I even bid for one of the buttons but was outbid in the end. I was at work and couldn't keep an eye on it and someone else snook in there :-( The way it goes I guess. The anodised buttons in general do, as you say, look cheap and tacky but I really like what you have done the job-lot you bought and the unearthed 55th button is a rarity, seen better days but how many people do you think has one of those from that location and time? Not many I am guessing.

Regarding collar badges, I had thought about that and just got one (yes, only the one) post 1902 and looks exactly like the right collar badge in your photo here. I will also keep a look out for a pair of these.

I am also interested in postcards, cigarette cards/silks etc. Items that would make an interesting collection. The difficult part is knowing how much to spend even if you really want something. There is always someone out there with more money to spend so I guess it helps to be patient and see if anything else turns up ;-)
In memory of John Bardgett (15309 L/Cpl.), 11th Border Regiment who died 1st July 1916.

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Re: Border buttons

Postby plbramham » Thu Sep 27, 2012 11:54 am

I've got a couple of printed postcards, but the embroidered ones seem to fetch silly prices. I reckon most of the printed cards were just generic images with the appropriate regiment's crest embossed on them. ( Could be an unusual collection for someone - the same card with as many different regiments on it as they could find?)
I reckon you're OK with silks, I really cannot see anyone faking them. When you think how many were turned out on one piece of silk, then they were cut up so small that there would be thousands in something the size of a shoe box. If just one of those boxes survived it would account for there being an unending supply of genuine mint examples for sale. I suppose any original issued examples would actually be a bit frayed, grubby, or even have traces of old paste on them from being in an album, so one of the mint ones seems a good idea. (Plus they only seem to be about £1.99 aren't they?) Hey - as they're over 90 years old ( copyright discussed elsewhere) you could scan them and make them into cards etc?
Cheers Paul.
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Re: Border buttons

Postby IanT » Thu Sep 27, 2012 12:13 pm

I wonder what something like my 1955 calendar would fetch, not that it is up for sale!!
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Re: Border buttons

Postby kerchi » Thu Sep 27, 2012 10:55 pm

Paul, when I have got a few cards/silks I will certainly scan them and add them on the forum and in the gallery. I'd like to be able to have as many photos/images of such items (badges, buttons, pins, other insignia, postcards, cigarette cards, silks, letterheads, real photos of Border Regiment men and related places) as possible. A big job that will never end. Someone somewhere else always has a bigger collection!

Ian, I guess something like that would fetch a good price if it is unique, something that no one else has got. A nice calendar and looks pretty good for 57 years old.
In memory of John Bardgett (15309 L/Cpl.), 11th Border Regiment who died 1st July 1916.

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The Border Regiment Forum is a small and friendly community for anyone with an interest in the British regiment throughout its long and colourful history. The forum was set up first and foremost to bring together those with an interest and passion in the Regiment; to ask questions, share stories, provide knowledge and post photos relating to the regiment during the various conflicts and peacetimes it bore witness to.

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