GLOSSARY: PIN-BACK BUTTONS & POLITICAL COLLECTIBLES 

Back Paper: a paper sheet placed in the reverse opening of a celluloid button.  The paper may carry the  manufacturer's name, patent dates, union insignia or an advertising message.  The use of back  papers died out during the 1950s.


Brummagen: a showy, but inferior and worthless thing. The term used for reproduction and fantasy  political items.


Celluloid Button or "Cello":a button made with a thin, clear sheet of celluloid covering the paper sheet  printed with the image.  Both sheets are backed by a metal disk and the three pieCes are held together with a metal ring, known as a collet, pressed into the back opening.  As celluloid is  flammable, it was eliminated in the 1940s and replaced by an acetate sheet, but such buttons  are still called celluloid or cellos.


Coattail: any political item that pictures or names a candidate for a high office in combination with one  or more candidates for lower offices.  For example, a button showing a presidential candidate  along with state candidates for governor and U.S. Senator.


Collector Involvement: a term referring to items made by collectors (or dealers) intended for sale to  other collectors, rather than political parties or the general public.  This practice was most  prevalent in 1968 and 1972.  A resurgence occurred in 2004 usually in the form of limited edition presidential campaign buttons.


Collet: the circular metal ring in the back of a celluloid button used to hold the celluloid covering and  paper with the image to the metal disk.


Curl: the rounded edge of a button.


Disclaimer: an inscription on a button specifying who authorized or paid for the item, usually printed on  the curl.


Fantasy Item: a term coined by Ted Hake in the 1960s to designate items newly created but depicting   some older collectible subject.  Such items are unauthorized and never existed during the time period that produced other original collectibles relating to the same subject.  The main purpose  of these items is to appeal to or, most frequently, defraud collectors.


Ferrotype: a tintype photograph held in a brass frame or disk, sometimes with a cloth covered rim.  If  photos are placed on both front and back surfaces, the rim is usually holed so a small ribbon can  affix the ferrotype to the lapel.  If only the front displays a photo, the reverse usually has a short  stickpin as a fastener.


Flasher: a plastic sheet, usually made as a button, showing one image that shifts to a second image  when tilted or viewed from a different perspective.


Foxing: stain marks, usually brown, on the paper under the celluloid covering of a button.  Foxing is  caused by water, or even long exposure to high humidity, rusting the metal disk behind the   button paper.  The term also applies to stains on paper artifacts.  Foxing on paper can  sometimes be chemically removed, but there is no remedy for "foxed" buttons and staining  rapidly decreases a button's potential value.


Jugate: any campaign item picturing two candidates, most often a party's presidential and vice- presidential nominees.  With a third candidate pictured, the item is known as a "trigate."


Lithographed Tin Button or "Litho": a button stamped from a sheet of tin which has the image printed  on the metal.  There is no collet on the reverse and the pin is held in place by the curvature of  edges rounded by the stamping process.  Litho buttons were commonly used for political  campaigns beginning in 1920.  With just two or three exceptions, all litho buttons for candidates  from 1896 through 1916 are reproductions of buttons originally issued as celluloids.


Mechanical: a small lapel device, usually made of brass, that moves or has a covering that snaps open  (normally to reveal an image or slogan) when a spring is activated.  The term is also loosely  applied to any item with moving parts.


Medal: a coin-like metallic item with a size of 1 ¾" or larger, although the term is commonly applied to  items regardless of their size.


Medalet: a coin-like metallic item with a size under 1 ¾", although such items are also commonly  referred to as medals or tokens.


Repin: a button consisting of a printed paper design but not manufactured into a finished button until  years later.


Reproduction: an exact or close copy of the original artifact.


Ribbon: a piece of fabric featuring candidates' pictures and/or political slogans meant to be displayed on  the lapel and often retained for use as a bookmark.


Ribbon Badge: a ribbon that has a medallic or celluloid piece attached to its surface or suspended below.   The reverse top edge normally has a stickpin or bar pin fastener.


Sepia: a reddish-brown or brown color often used instead of black and white to enhance the  attractiveness of a photograph or illustration.  Widely used for buttons from 1896 through the  1940s.


Shell Badge: a lapel device stamped from a thin brass sheet either bearing the candidate's image or with  an opening at the center to serve as a frame for holding tintype or cardboard photos.


Stud: a lapel device, often circular in shape, with a metal shank on the reverse to hold the item in a  buttonhole.


Tab: a flat metal piece, usually lithographed tin, with an extended segment on the top edge which is  folded back for attachment to clothing.


Token: used correctly, the term means a substitute for money; but, within the political items hobby, the  term is loosely applied to any small coin-like metallic item. (See Medal and Medalet.)


Union Bug: refers to the small union label found on many button curls or back papers.  The presence or  absence of a union bug has no bearing on the question of an item's authenticity.


White Metal: the term for a medal containing mostly lead and tin, sometimes referred to as "pot-metal."