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Cockney "Pearly" Button Costume

Auction:
2460
Lot:
560
Sold for:
$1,541

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Auction:
American Furniture & Decorative Arts - 2460
Location:
Boston
Date / Time :
June 07, 2009 11:00AM

Description:

Cockney "Pearly" Button Costume, England, 20th century, wool suit with jacket, trousers, vest, tam, and necktie ornamented with mother-of pearl buttons, including stand, overall ht. 68 in.

Provenance: Estate of William S. Greenspon.

Note: The wearing of mother-of-pearl decorated costumes is a Cockney tradition which began in the late19th century when a young orphaned street sweeper named Henry Croft noticed the charity shown among a certain group of market traders called the Coster Mongers. They were known for their distinctive pearl button decorated clothing. Henry was so impressed by their charity he decided to try to raise money for the orphanage he grew up in, and other unfortunates. He wanted to draw attention to himself for his fund raising efforts by covering an outfit with mother-of-pearl buttons. Henry became so successful in raising funds that hospitals, churches, and other charity groups asked Henry to help them raise money for the poor and sick. The idea caught the attention of the public and it grew to become a tradition throughout the boroughs of London with many generations of families wearing the button embellished suits for fund raising activities, parades, and carnivals.
Estimate $1,000-2,000

Keywords

Henry Croft, Costume, United Kingdom, William S. Greenspon, young orphaned street sweeper, London, Betting, Nacre, Pearls, Push-button

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