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At first, buttons consisted of white metal, usually with a rose in the centre.

In 1774 a foul anchor surrounded by rope edging took the place of the rose and in 1787 the same device with the addition of a wreath of laurel leaves was adopted for Admirals. When the Merchant Navy started to use the foul anchor device, a crown was added for all naval officers in 1812. The same basic design remains in use today.

The foul anchor device itself was first recorded in use in the seal of the Lord High Admiral of Scotland in 1402. It was subsequently adopted in the Admiralty seal and by a large number of navies throughout the world. The rope 'fouling' has no specific twist and may be deemed to be correct however it fits around the anchor

 

 

 

 

Stunning Georgian navy seal on red stone

 

Belt buckle

 

RN Captain - 1757
( Dress )
In Æ Gilt or Silver Gilt
In use 1757 - 1774
 
 

There is no wreath with the rose, (so it's not a Flag rank officer).

 

 

Royal Navy Lieutenant - 1748

Great electronic on line reference Navy books written by:

Tim Burt
Hamwic House
Box 895
Elora
Ontario
Canada - N0B 1S0

He has written 19 Books on Tunic Buttons of all types. Contact him on info@hamwichouse.com to order a copy.

Royal Navy

RN Flag Officer - 1748
Full Dress - 1748 - 1767
G. P. Dress - 1748 - 1783
Full & Undress - 1748 - 1787

RN Lieutenant - 1748
RN Lieutenant - 1748
RN Lieutenant - 1748
Huge 18thC Anchor mount
RN Lieutenant - 1748

In 1774 a fouled anchor, plain edge or surrounded by rope edging, took the place of the Rose and in 1787, the same design, with the addition of a wreath of laurel leaves, was adopted for the Admirals.

 

 

Capt / Commander - 1774-1787
RN Master & Mate - 1787-1807
RN Surgeon - 1787-1805
RN Purser - 1787-1807
RN Warrant Officer - 1787-1860
RN Midshipman - 1787-1812
RN Volunteer Gr.I - 1787-1812
RN Instructors - 1727-1842
RN Engineer 1st Cl. - 1837-1841
Var. 01 . . . 1774 - 1860
In use 1774 - 1860


RN Capt / Commander - 1787
RN Lieutenant - 1787
AUSTRIA
MN Generic Issue
In use 1880 - 1918
Ship's Officer Button
Maker - Unknown

RN Capt / Commander - 1774
Var. 03 . . . 1774 - 1787
In use 1774 - 1787
RN Purser - 1807
In use 1807 - 1825
In Gilt
RN Surgeon - at Sea - 1805
RN Ass' Surgeon - at Sea - 1805
RN Physician - at Sea - 1805
RN Surgeon - at Sea - 1805
RN Flag Officer - 1795
Britain's Merchant Navy
Generic Design Issue
In use 1900 's onwards
French Navy - 1870's
French Navy - 1920's
?
1901 pattern for Captains

Generic Merchant Navy Officers

RN Greenwich Hospital Service
Officer's Hospital Staff Tunic
Button
In use 1800 - 1815

Capt / Commander - 1774-1787

RN Master - 1807-1825
RN Ass't Master - 1807-1825
RN Volunteer Gr.II - 1824-1825
In use 1807 - 1825


Note: Anchors below stock

RN Capt / Commander - 1825
RN Lieutenant - 1825
RN Midshipman - 1825
In use 1825 - 1827
Capt / Commander - 1774-1787
RN Capt / Commander - 1812
RN Capt / Commander - 1787
RN Lieutenant - 1787
Britain's Merchant Navy
Generic Design Issue
In use 1900 's onwards
Britain's Merchant Navy
Generic Design Issue
In use 1900 's onwards
RN Capt / Commander - 1787
RN Lieutenant - 1787
RN Capt / Commander - 1787
RN Lieutenant - 1787
Capt / Commander - 1774-1787

RN Master - 1807-1825
RN Ass't Master - 1807-1825
RN Volunteer Gr.II - 1824-1825
In use 1807 - 1825


Note: Anchors below stock

RN Capt / Commander - 1787
RN Lieutenant - 1787
18thC Trinty House Pilot ?
RN Capt / Commander - 1787
RN Lieutenant - 1787
RN Capt / Commander - 1787
RN Lieutenant - 1787
RN Capt / Commander - 1787
RN Lieutenant - 1787
RN Capt / Commander - 1787
RN Lieutenant - 1787
RN Master - 1807-1825
RN Ass't Master - 1807-1825
RN Volunteer Gr.II - 1824-1825
In use 1807 - 1825
In Gilt
Note: Anchors below stock
RN Purser - 1807
RN Master - 1807-1825
RN Capt / Commander - 1787
RN Lieutenant - 1787
RN Capt / Commander - 1787
RN Lieutenant - 1787
RN Master - 1807-1825
Unrecorded Navy
RN Capt / Commander - 1774
Var. 03 . . . 1774 - 1787
In use 1774 - 1787
   
RN Capt / Commander - 1774
Var. 03 . . . 1774 - 1787
In use 1774 - 1787

RN Master - 1807-1825
RN Ass't Master - 1807-1825
RN Volunteer Gr.II - 1824-1825
In use 1807 - 1825


Note: Anchors below stock

   
With Crown buttons
Royal Navy - Officers (Roped Rim) Unlined Background 23mm - 1901 to 53.
Royal Navy - Officers (Roped Rim) Unlined Background 23mm - 1891-1901
1827 Captains one piece Naval button(b)
Royal Navy - Officers (Roped Rim) Lined Background 17.5mm - 1843-1891
RN Capt / Commander - 1901 to 53.

Capt/Commander

1774-1787

RN Capt / Commander - 1843
RN Flag Officer - 1827
Right Leaning Stock
In use 1827 - 1843

RN Capt / Commander - 1901
Other Ship's Officers - 1901
In use 1901 - 1952


RN Capt / Commander - 1891
RN Petty Officer - 1891

RN Capt / Commander - 1812
RN Lieutenant - 1812
RN Midshipman - 1812
RN Volunteer Gr.I - 1812
After this issue a Midshipman
will have the Captain's style

Royal Yacht Squadron RYS - RN Master - 1807-1825
Royal Marines light infantry regiment
ROYAL MARINES
This button dates 1923 - 1952
O/R's Tunic Button
Maker = Smith & Wright, B'ham
RMLI & RMA merged in 1923
Royal Harwich yacht club
Navy button
ROYAL MARINES
This button dates 1923 - 1952
O/R's Tunic Button
Maker = Smith & Wright, B'ham
RMLI & RMA merged in 1923
RN Petty Officer - 1901
In use 1901 - 1952
RN Cap't / Commander - 1901
Royal Navy -1824 issue
RN Capt / Commander - 1901
Other Ship's Officers - 1901
In use 1901 - 1952
RN Cap't / Commander - 1901
Fake - Line background never
existed. Possible on civilian
Jacket to avoid WWI
"White Feather" harassment.
Style In use 1901 - 1952
Late 18thC Navy cufflink
Admiralty Civil Police
In use 1940 - 1949
became the Admiralty
Constabulary in 1949
RN Capt / Commander - 1812
RN Petty Officer - 1891
French or Spanish navy
RN Capt / Commander - 1901
Other Ship's Officers - 1901
In use 1901 - 1952
RN Officer - 1891
Britain's Merchant Navy
Generic Design Issue
In use 1900 's onwards

One piece Navy button

HONI SOIT QUI MAN Y PENSE

PACKET

Honi soit qui mal y pense (Old French: shame upon him who thinks evil of it)

RN - Packet Service
( Mail & Supplies Delivery )

c.1800-1811
Firmin & Co

RN Capt / Commander - 1825
RN Lieutenant - 1825
RN Midshipman - 1825
In use 1825 - 1827

RN Flag Officer - 1827
Right Leaning Stock
Royal Marines

One piece Navy button

HONI SOIT QUI MAN Y PENSE

PACKET

Honi soit qui mal y pense (Old French: shame upon him who thinks evil of it)

RN - Packet Service
( Mail & Supplies Delivery )

c.1800-1811
Firmin & Co

RN Air Service

In use WWI

Officers Tunic Button

RN - Royal Naval Reserve

Captain & other Officers

In use 1886 - 1901

RN Capt / Commander - 1901
Other Ship's Officers - 1901
In use 1901 - 1952

J R Gaunt & Son Ltd

ROYAL MARINES
This button dates 1923 - 1952
O/R's Tunic Button
Maker = Smith & Wright, B'ham
RMLI & RMA merged in 1923

RN Capt / Commander - 1812
RN Lieutenant - 1812
RN Midshipman - 1812
RN Volunteer Gr.I - 1812
After this issue a Midshipman
will have the Captain's style

WWII Royal marines button
RN Capt / Commander - 1812

One piece Navy button

HONI SOIT QUI MAN Y PENSE

PACKET

Honi soit qui mal y pense (Old French: shame upon him who thinks evil of it)

RN - Packet Service
( Mail & Supplies Delivery )

c.1800-1811
Firmin & Co

Unusual Navy button - not recorded
Royal Marines light infantry regiment
Royal Navy - Officers (Roped Rim) Unlined Background 23mm - 1891-1901
RN Petty Officer - 1891
Britain's Merchant Navy
Generic Design Issue
In use 1900 's onwards
Britain's Merchant Navy
Generic Design Issue
In use 1900 's onwards
RN Capt / Commander - 1901
Other Ship's Officers - 1901
In use 1901 - 1952
RN Capt / Commander - 1901
Other Ship's Officers - 1901
In use 1901 - 1952
RN Capt / Commander - 1812

)

RN Greenwich Hospital Service
Officer's Hospital Staff Tunic
Button
In use 1814 - 1868

RN Capt / Commander - 1812
RN Lieutenant - 1812
RN Midshipman - 1812
RN Volunteer Gr.I - 1812
After this issue a Midshipman
will have the Captain's style

RN Capt / Commander - 1901
RN Capt / Commander - 1812
RN Capt / Commander - 1843
RN Lietenant - 1843
RN Master - 1843
RN Surgeon - 1843
RN Purser - 1843
RN Midshipman - 1843
RN Warrant Officer - 1843
After this issue a Warrant 
Officer will use the same  
design as a captains button
In use 1843 - 1891
RN Cap't / Commander - 1901
Fake - Line background never
existed. Possible on civilian
Jacket to avoid WWI
"White Feather" harassment.
Style In use 1901 - 1952
RN Petty Officer - 1901
In use 1911 - 1952
PWG Navy button
RN Capt / Commander - 1843
RN Lietenant - 1843
RN Master - 1843
RN Surgeon - 1843
RN Purser - 1843
RN Midshipman - 1843
WWII Royal Marines button

RN Capt / Commander - 1812
RN Lieutenant - 1812
RN Midshipman - 1812
RN Volunteer Gr.I - 1812
After this issue a Midshipman
will have the Captain's style

RN Capt / Commander - 1825
RN Lieutenant - 1825
RN Midshipman - 1825
In use 1825 - 1827
WWII Royal Marines button
Royal Navy - Officers (Roped Rim) Lined Background 17.5mm 1843-1891
RN Capt / Commander - 1812
RN Master - 1807-1825
RN Ass't Master - 1807-1825
RN Volunteer Gr.II - 1824-1825
RN Greenwich Hospital Service
Officer's Hospital Staff Tunic
Button
In use 1814 - 1868
RN Navigation Branch - 1825
In use 1825 - 1832
In Gilt

RN Capt / Commander - 1891

20thC Royal Marines button
RN Capt / Commander - 1825
Royal Marines button
Royal Navy - Officers (Roped Rim) Lined Background 17.5mm - 1843-1891
RN Capt / Commander - 1825
RN Lieutenant - 1825
RN Midshipman - 1825
In use 1825 - 1827
RN Capt / Commander - 1825
RN Lieutenant - 1825
RN Midshipman - 1825
In use 1825 - 1827
RN Flag Officer - 1827
Left Leaning Stock
In use 1827 - 1843
RN Capt / Commander - 1825
RN Lieutenant - 1825
RN Midshipman - 1825
In use 1825 - 1827
Royal Navy - Officers (Roped Rim) Lined Background 17.5mm - 1843-1891
Royal Navy - Officers (Roped Rim) Lined Background 17.5mm - 1843-1891 Generic merchant Navy button C 1900
R.N.V.R.
Royal Naval Volunteer
 Reserve
In use 1901 - 1952

 

1900's Generic merchant navy button

Royal navy button

Legend Royal *****

Royal Navy - Officers (Roped Rim) Lined Background 17.5mm - 1843-1891
RN Capt / Commander - 1843 RN Lietenant - 1843 RN Master - 1843 RN Surgeon - 1843 RN Purser - 1843 RN Midshipman - 1843 RN Capt / Commander - 1812
RN Lieutenant - 1812
RN Midshipman - 1812
RN Volunteer Gr.I - 1812
     
RN Capt / Commander - 1812
RN Lieutenant - 1812
RN Midshipman - 1812
RN Volunteer Gr.I - 1812
     

US Navy button ID'd

Navy button H.M. Coast Guard
O/R's Button
In use 1820 - 1836 ?
button


UNITED KINGDOM
Nourse Line
In use 1860 - 1917
UNITED KINGDOM
Royal London Yacht Club
R. T. Y. C. - R. T. Y. C.
London, England
In use 1837 - 1901
Royal Northern Yacht Club
Glasgow, Scotland
In use 1837 - 1901
UNITED KINGDOM
Royal Victoria Yacht Club
Ryde, IOW, UK
2nd Pattern Button
In use 1845 - 1901
Union Castle Line
In use 1899 onwards
CANADA
Canadian Pacific SS Line
In use 1901 - 1930's
Early Version
Maker - Unknown
Navy livery button ?

Bristol Docks Authority
In use 1820 - 1992
Navy button ?

Not Navy, Army

The Royal Staffordshire Reg

1881

IRELAND
James P. Corry & Cº
In use 1860 - 1920
Ship's Officer Button

USA Marine button

1941 - 1960

Navy button ?
UNITED KINGDOM
Castle Mail Packet
Company
In use 1869 - 1899
Maker - Unknown
Merged - Union Castle Line 1899

WWII German Navy Kreigsmarine Button
UNITED KINGDOM
Royal London Yacht Club
R. T. Y. C. - R. T. Y. C.
London, England
In use 1837 - 1901

MN - Anchor Line
In use 1900 - 1960s
Maker - Waterbury

USA Marines button

Boston Elevated Bowe & Seligman as a backmark from 1880's to 1920

Trinity House
UK Lighthouse Authoruty
Pilot's Tunic Button
In use 1900 - 1930s
"Trinity House Pilot"

French Navy

 

UNITED KINGDOM
Shaw, Savill & Albion Line
In use 1882 - 1985
Maker - Unknown
Merge - Furmess Withy

 

Britain's Merchant Navy
Generic Design Issue
In use 1900 - 2000's

Bliss Bros Ltd

Rd 665050

 

 

 

Not in reference books

It's to the  Preventive Water Guard - established in 1809. The coast of Britain was divided into three divisions, Carlisle to Landsend, Landsend to North Foreland and North Foreland to Berwick. Naval Officers with the title of Inspecting Captains were appointed to each division and given command of a small fleet. In 1816 the Preventive Water Guard was made responsible to the treasury. The Preventive Water Guard operated in coastal waters to tackle smugglers who evaded revenue cruisers. If the weather was rough, they operated from the shore. All recruitment was from demobilised Royal Navy sailors.
Credit to Steve Newman of the British Military Buttons website for the info.

 

 

M.M Collier.Neal Maker to his majesty

Britain's Merchant Navy
Generic Design Issue
In use 1900 's onwards

BM - Extra high quality

 

Britain - Canada
Merchant Navy
Private Purchase - 1774-1812

UNITED KINGDOM
Royal London Yacht Club
R. T. Y. C. - R. T. Y. C.
London, England
In use 1837 - 1901
CANADA
Canadian Pacific SS Line
In use 1901 - 1930's
Early Version
Maker - Unknown
MN - Anchor Line
In use 1900 - 1960s
Maker - Waterbury
WWII German Navy Kriegsmarine Button
'Further research on this button reveals this button appears to be relate the French 2nd Empire. My sample is of French Maritime Customs. Note the similarity'.
?

19thC Royal Victoria Yacht Club

Firmin & Sons

London

UNITED KINGDOM
Royal London Yacht Club
R. T. Y. C. - R. T. Y. C.
London, England
In use 1837 - 1901
19thC Northern Yacht Club button
?
Honourable East India Company
Navy button - similar to Trinity House pilot
UNITED KINGDOM
C & D Line Ltd.
Commonwealth &
Dominion Line
In use 1914 - 1937 ?
German navy pre 1918
P&O Line
In use 1920 - 1940s
Maker - Unknown

Britain's Merchant Navy
Generic Design Issue
In use 1900 - 2000's

Bliss Bros Ltd

Rd 665050

Generic Merchant Navy Officers
P&O Line
In use 1920 - 1940s
Maker - Unknown
WWII German Navy Kriegsmarine Button
WWII German Navy Kriegsmarine Button
Surrey commercial docks

Trinty House pilot button

'Trinity Light Vessel Service'

Mid 19th C Firmin & Sons

19thC customs button

Trinty House pilot button

'Trinity Light Vessel Service'

Mid 19th C Firmin & Sons

Shipping line
UNITED KINGDOM
MN - G & J Burns Ltd.
In use 1842 - 1922
Generic merchant navy button

WWII French Navy button

Back mark , M &CE Paris

One piece Navy buttons

HONI SOIT QUI MAN Y PENSE

PACKET

Honi soit qui mal y pense (Old French: shame upon him who thinks evil of it)

RN - Packet Service
( Mail & Supplies Delivery )

c.1800-1811
Firmin & Co

19thC Cunard Line button
Napoleonic Navy button
Generic merchant navy button
19thC Royal Victoria Yacht Club button

Generic merchant navy button

UNITED KINGDOM
Royal London Yacht Club
R. T. Y. C. - R. T. Y. C.
London, England
In use 1837 - 1901
UNITED KINGDOM
Royal London Yacht Club
R. T. Y. C. - R. T. Y. C.
London, England
In use 1837 - 1901
Netherlands
Royal Netherlands Navy

Engineering

From 1890

UNITED KINGDOM
MN - G & J Burns Ltd.
In use 1842 - 1922
19thC Customs button
WWII German Navy Kriegsmarine Button
19thC customs button
UNITED KINGDOM
Royal London Yacht Club
R. T. Y. C. - R. T. Y. C.
London, England
In use 1837 - 1901
H.M. Customs
O/R's Button
In use 1820 - 1836 ?
button
WWII German Navy Kreigsmarine Button

 

Royal Western Yacht club

In use 1845 - 1901

UNITED KINGDOM
Royal London Yacht Club
R. T. Y. C. - R. T. Y. C.
London, England
In use 1837 - 1901
UNITED KINGDOM
Royal London Yacht Club
R. T. Y. C. - R. T. Y. C.
London, England
In use 1837 - 1901
19thC Great Eastern Railways and Steam ships company button 19thC coast guard button
MN - G & J Burns Ltd In use 1842 - 1922

Navy button H.M. Coast Guard
O/R's Button
In use 1820 - 1836 ?
button

Britain - Canada
Merchant Navy
Private Purchase - 1774-1812
Unknown shipping line button
Junior Thames Yacht club Royal Thames Yacht club
Honourable East India Company
Honourable East India Company
UNITED KINGDOM
P&O Line 
In use 1920 - 1940s
Maker - Unknown
19thC Royal Victoria Yacht club button UNITED KINGDOM MN - G & J Burns Ltd. In use 1842
Not known Royal Navy button
1950 - 1990s period
P/O or Crew
Possible Muslim Bloc
19thC Royal Victoria Yacht club 19thC Dragoon guards button
       
       
       
       

Buttons Livery
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Buttons Dress
Buttons Military Index

 

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