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At Drouot on February 8, button aficionados and those with an eye for the decorative will have the opportunity to survey multiple examples of the button-makers’ art, ranging in date from the 18th century to the 1970s.

They are the result of four generations of collecting by one French family. Started by Amélie Cartier in the second half of the 19th century, they were inherited by her great-granddaughter Stéphanie de Villefranche.


A large group of buttons from the late 19th century made from engraved mother of pearl estimated at €100-130 at Coutau-Begarie.

The collection has several strands. One comprises buttons in all materials ranging from the 18th to the late 20th century made for couture and general use that includes stylish examples of Art Deco and Nouveau design.

Another is an ensemble of largely metal livery buttons from the costumes worn by domestic servants in grand families. These buttons and the plaques mounted on horse harnesses were often produced following a marriage and were decorated with heraldic symbols showing the alliance of the two families. This sale includes an ensemble of buttons and plaques relating to 150 years of the Montmorency family.

Yet another strand is devoted to hunting-related buttons as used on hunting costumes.

Some of the rarer buttons are offered individually but there are also many group lots featuring multiple examples.