My personal best thrift find, - 2/21/14
Picked up this 1960’s classic double breasted blazer last Friday. I actually noticed it initially for it’s buttons. I am always on the lookout for interesting blazer buttons. A nice set of blazer buttons can run you a couple hundred bucks, and if you are lucky, you might find a set of Ben Silver gold plated buttons in a thrift store, fairly cheap.
Well, this is no Ben Silver story.
The buttons caught my eye because they had, what I thought were, engravings of Julius Caesar on them. Research turns out they were probably the Greek god of wine, Dionysus.
But….this is no wine drunk tale of Greek gods or Roman generals
The blazer itself was made by A. Sulka and Company. Quality construction, despite having actually been made in the US. It has all the usual signs of quality, hand stitched lapels and buttonholes, full canvas construction, etc.
This, is not an ode to fine tailoring.
This post is all about the buttons. I saw the buttons first. I liked the buttons from the beginning, before I even knew the jacket was made by Sulka, before I identified the engraving on the front, and before I checked to see if the were Ben Silver or some other known buttonmonger. Heck, I didn’t even expect them to be anything but hollow brass, or possibly two piece gilt buttons. I certainly didn’t expect them to be so darn heavy in my hand….like they were made of lead or some other weighty metal.
Could it be? I flipped one over, to see who made it. The backs were smooth, and coated with 50 years of dust. I didn’t see any back marks at all. Just a small neat round shank and what seemed like an unusually generous amount of thread attaching it to the breast of the jacket. Just as I flipped the button back over to look at the front again, I saw it….just a little reflection variation on the other side of the shank. I spun the button around 180 degrees, and read the three small characters under my breath. 14K.
Solid 14K gold, all 12 buttons, 6 large for the front and 3 smaller ones on each cuff. I’m not sure how long I stood there in awe. No one came down the aisle, and I may have been there 5 minutes, speechless, unblinking, possibly not even breathing. I wasn’t even looking for gold buttons, just something that looked cool enough to make a few bucks on…..but hey, it pays to look.
Monday morning I was the first customer in the door at the local jeweler. I had the buttons tested and appraised. The jeweler was enthralled by my story, amazed that anyone would have such a “gold mine” sewn onto their blazer. He paid me $1057 for the buttons. I was ecstatic!
"Easiest grand I ever made" I said, as he handed me the check.
"Well, you have to subtract what you paid for the jacket" the jeweler replied.
"Six bucks" I said with a smile.
"I gotta shake your hand" he said, while simultaneously reaching his hand forward. I shook it firmly, turned and walked out the door to a beautiful Monday morning.