Featured Help with antique metal buttons

Discussion in 'Antique Discussion' started by Joan, Jun 10, 2019.

  1. Joan

    Joan Well-Known Member

    Can anyone tell me if the figure on these buttons represents the Roman God Mercury? I'm also wondering when and where they were made, and what metal (it looks like bronze or brass with cut steel decoration). They were on the antique wool challis dress or robe that I got somewhere several years ago (estate sale, antique mall, or thrift shop in Minnesota or Wisconsin) -- I'm thinking the dress/robe is mid-1800's.

    I lightly polished the center of one button in the closeup so I could see more detail. If I were to sell them, do buyers/collectors prefer them in the unpolished state?
    AntiqueButton-1.jpg AntiqueButton-3.jpg AntiqueButton-4.jpg AntiqueButton-5.jpg
     
  2. crazycrowlady

    crazycrowlady New Member

    Not an expert, but I'd think Mercury is a good guess from the wings on the hat. I have some very similar ones that are centurions and date to the mid-1800s, and Victorians were crazy about all things Roman.
     
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  3. Bronwen

    Bronwen Well-Known Member

    More like the Athena Varvakeion:

    [​IMG]

    or the Athena Aspasios:

    [​IMG]

    Modeler took some liberties & tarted her up for a more modern sensibility. Mercury/Hermes was a reasonable guess, but he doesn't wear a helmet.
     
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  4. Joan

    Joan Well-Known Member

    Thank you, Bronwen, for that information. I can see more similarities to Athena Aspasios. Since I know zip about Athena I googled her and learned that she is known as the Greek Goddess of Wisdom and War.
     
  5. Joan

    Joan Well-Known Member

    I think Mercury has been ruled out since he doesn't wear a helmut. I googled centurion, since I didn't know who they were either, and learned they were commanders in the Roman infantry.
     
  6. i need help

    i need help Well-Known Member

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  7. Bronwen

    Bronwen Well-Known Member

    More than I realized:

    [​IMG]

    Bellona (as in bellicose) is the Roman goddess of war, more of an allegorical figure, with no stories attached. Athena has a much wider remit.
     
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  8. Joan

    Joan Well-Known Member

    Wow, Thank you "i need help." I think this one looks the closest to my buttons with the swag thing on the side, the side "brim" on the helmet, and the neckline. I can't see the top, but there are paws for maybe a winged creature (it looks like there could be a paw on the top of mine when I look really close). I googled Bellum goddess and found a button on Pinterest that shows a winged creature on top. The button was labeled "Ancient ROMAN/ Greek GODDESS of WAR BELLUM."
    https://www.pinterest.com/pin/431290101788827305/?lp=true
     
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  9. i need help

    i need help Well-Known Member

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  10. Bronwen

    Bronwen Well-Known Member

    "Bellum" just means "war", as in "antebellum", so not a goddess, an allegorical figure.
     
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  11. Joan

    Joan Well-Known Member

    Thanks for that clarification.
     
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  12. Joan

    Joan Well-Known Member

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  13. KSW

    KSW Well-Known Member

    Athena Varvakeion can really carry off a hat can't she:smuggrin:. No ones going to upstage her!.
     
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  14. Figtree3

    Figtree3 What would you do if you weren't afraid?

    @Joan , What will you be doing with the garment they buttons came from? Do you think they were original to it? If it's as old as you think and in decent condition, it might be better to keep them together if the buttons are original. Somebody might want to buy both, and put the buttons back on.
     
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  15. Joan

    Joan Well-Known Member

    I'll eventually list the dress on eBay, but will keep the buttons (at least for a while) because I have others that were part of my Mother's antique button collection. I assume the buttons were original to the dress, but there were quite a few missing. The dress is threadbare and ripped in several places inside and out, although the cotton skirt lining has lots of usable fabric. I'm thinking a buyer may want it more for study or to use the fabric for other purposes. I'm wondering if it might have been a maternity dress because the front waist is much fuller than the back waist.
    The photo shows the cotton lining.
    dress.jpg
     
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  16. Figtree3

    Figtree3 What would you do if you weren't afraid?

    Interesting -- thank you!
     
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