Archive for February, 2017

Winter 2017 Auction – in Three Acts!

300 Fabulous Buttons, as always, in our Winter 2017 Seasonal Auction closing on March 11. AND two additional Thursday Night Special Auctions of 75 Card Lots each are accessible to registered bidders. These Thursday Night Specials close on March 2 and March 23. Spectacular Button Performances!

Stage – and Button – Stars of the 19th Century

Here is Maude Adams, disguised as Chantecler. Large 1 3/4″ button in silvered brass.

Maude Adams as Chantecler

In the winter of 1910, the theatre box office sold 3000 tickets in the first 3 hours of sales for the Broadway debut, Chantecler. Audiences were flocking to see Maude Adams, America’s most popular actress of the time. Chantecler, a barnyard rooster, was originally intended for a male actor. The character is a strutting rooster, convinced that his crowing causes the dawn to break each day. Adam’s longtime producer had seen the show in France, and promptly bought the rights to bring it to America, knowing that Adams was right for the part. The show was a financial success. Critics, however, seemed to hate that the part of Chantecler was played by a woman. One reviewer wrote “The actress was charming and delightful as Maude Adams, but never for a single moment was she Chantecler. She did not even give the remotest suggestion of the character—no woman could.” The role was Adams’ favorite of all her roles, as she told a friend later in life that “Of all the plays that were trusted to my care, I loved Chantecler best, and then came Peter Pan.”

Maude Adams

Maude Adams, American actress, born in Salt Lake City in 1872. She began performing as a child while accompanying her actress mother on tour, and grew to be the most successful and highest-paid performer of her day, with a yearly income of more than one million dollars during her peak.


L’Aiglon is a play in six acts by Edmond Rostand based on the life of Napoleon II. The title of the play comes from a nickname for Napoleon II, the French word for “eaglet”. Large 1 3/8″ two-color brass.

Ira Aldridge

Ira Frederick Aldridge (July 24, 1807 – August 7, 1867) was an American and later British stage actor and playwright who made his career after 1824 largely on the London stage and in Europe, especially in Shakespearean roles. On October 10, 1825, Aldridge made his European debut at London’s Royal Coburg Theatre, the first African-American actor to establish himself professionally in a foreign country. From available photographs, this 19th C. brass has a strong resemblance to the actor.

Aldridge in Shakespeare Roles

Here is Aldridge as Shakespeare’s Othello in a painting by William Mulready (sometime between 1840 and 1863), and Aldridge as Aaron in Titus Andronicus.

Sarah Bernhardt

Sarah Bernhardt (1844 – 1923) was a French stage and early film actress. While Bernhardt assumed the role of L’Aiglon in Europe, Maude Adams played the role in New York.

Verdi’s Rigoletto

This 19th C. brass is known as Rigoletto from the opera by Verdi.


And here is Felice Varesi (1813 – 1889), a French-born Italian baritone who performed as Rigoletto in Verdi’s first show in 1851.


This quality brass features the head of Othello, and is a likeness of this bust in bronze and marble by Italian sculptor Dubini in the late 19th C. It is also similar to this bust in marble and bronze by another Italian sculptor, Pietro Calvi. He supposedly based his likeness on the actor, Ira Aldridge. The button is backmarked “Superiour France”.