Local

Button, button, who’s got the button? A Bellingham home has plenty

She collected more than 25,000 buttons in her lifetime and now they are for sale

Nellie Eastwood, who lived from 1887-1984, left behind a collection of more than 25,000 buttons in her Columbia neighborhood home. Frances Erickson, a certified appraiser, and Janet Wheeler, Nellie's great-granddaughter, talk about the collection
Up Next
Nellie Eastwood, who lived from 1887-1984, left behind a collection of more than 25,000 buttons in her Columbia neighborhood home. Frances Erickson, a certified appraiser, and Janet Wheeler, Nellie's great-granddaughter, talk about the collection

Plenty of treasures are discovered in the attics of old homes in the Columbia neighborhood. For the descendants of Nellie Eastwood, it is an impressive button collection.

Eastwood’s relatives recently decided to have an estate sale at 2130 Utter St. and came across her button collection. Eastwood started collecting the clothing buttons as a child and was often seen sewing them on fabric-paged books until her death in 1984 at age 96.

Appraiser Frances Erickson, who is getting the house ready for the June 9-11 estate sale, estimates the collection at more than 25,000 buttons. When taken all together and put on a scale, the buttons weigh 162 pounds.

Some of the buttons date back more than 100 years and the collection includes military and story buttons. Many are from dresses, pants and shoes and made out of a variety of materials, including mother of pearl and metal. A value hasn’t publicly been put on the collection, but there are some individual buttons that are in the $15-30 range, Erickson said. She said the plan is to sell it as an entire collection

“I do a lot of estate sales and I know I’ll never see something like this again,” said Erickson, who has been in the antique industry for more than 30 years. She operated the Eartha Kitty’s antique store in downtown Bellingham until it closed about 10 years ago. “This is pretty unique.”

0605 Buttons 1
Frances Erickson, certified appraiser, left, and Janet Wheeler, great-granddaughter of Nellie Eastwood, are pictured in the attic where more than 25,000 buttons collected by Nellie Eastwood had been stored. Evan Abell eabell@bhamherald.com

One of Eastwood’s great-granddaughters, Janet (Eastwood) Wheeler, said she had no idea the collection totaled around 25,000 buttons.

“We remember her sitting there, adding more buttons to her books,” she said, noting that Nellie also enjoyed working on puzzles.

Nellie (Barnett) Eastwood was born in Jennings, Kansas in 1887. She and her family moved by wagon to Eastern Washington state in 1906. She married Amasa Eastwood in 1907 and they moved to Bellingham around 1919, according to family records.

According to an obituary in The Bellingham Herald, Amasa Eastwood was a member of the Bellingham police force for 10 years. He died in 1931 at the age of 47 after suffering a stroke a few months earlier.

The collection will be on display during the estate sale, which goes from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Friday, Saturday and Sunday. The sale also has a variety of other household items, including China dinner sets, tools and cameras.

Dave Gallagher: 360-715-2269, @BhamHeraldBiz

  Comments