Valparaiso couple's button collection provides history lessons at Crestview library

Published: Wednesday, March 26, 2014 at 11:45 AM.

Collectors by happenstance

The Laniers, who are members of the Florida and Texas state button societies and the National Button Society, began collecting buttons "by happenstance," Don said.

"We just wanted something to do when I retired," he said. "I'm not a golfer, I'm not into sports, I don't fish and I don't hunt and I don't chase women because Barb won't let me."

While the couple lived in San Antonio, they started buying jars of buttons at flea markets, thinking they'd separate them by material and color and create art projects.

Instead, a flea market vendor introduced them to the local button society's president, who invited them to a club meeting. Today, Don is the North Florida Button Club's president.

Among the button fanciers' cornucopia are two small, dark metal buttons bearing the United States seal. They are U.S. Army World War I button lockets that house a miniature photo of the soldier's sweetie.

"It's amazing what you can learn from a little tiny ornament that you can put on your clothes," Don Lanier said. "You can learn a lot about history from buttons."

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