Celluloid pinbacks, a type of button, were popular from the 1890s to the 1940s as a cheap way of conveying a political message or advertising anything from food and clothing to movies and tobacco. In 1896 the first patent was granted to Whitehead and Hoag for a button with a textile surface covered with a thin layer of transparent celluloid. Later on the textile was replaced with lithographed paper (cheaper), and ultimately metal without the celluloid.

Advertising pinbacks, sometimes featuring cartoon characters, were often given away as premiums with cigarettes or newspaper subscriptions, or handed out at stores. They were also given as fan club premiums, as part of the membership package. On the political side, pinbacks were given away at campaign rallies.

Some pinbacks are hard to find today because so many were simply worn and thrown away. Collectors also seek to assemble entire pinback series (for example comic character pinbacks) and finding every pinback in a large series can be quite difficult.


Best of the Web (“Hall of Fame”)

Comic Character Pinbacks

Comic Character Pinbacks

Mark Lansdown's excellent collection of over 800 pinbacks representing 200+ comic characters from 100+ strips. Beau… [read review or visit site]

Advertising Antiques

Advertising Antiques

This classy looking British site features hundreds of high resolution photos of antique porcelain pre-war (enamel) … [read review or visit site]

Ad Access

Ad Access

Duke University's library has pulled together an impressive collection of over 7,000 ads printed in U.S. and Canadi… [read review or visit site]

Plan 59

Plan 59

From the Nostlagia Factory in Virginia comes this celebration of 'mid-century automotive advertising illustrations'… [read review or visit site]

American Package Museum

American Package Museum

Ian House's gallery of early 20th Century American package designs. Browse the exhibits in slide show mode or view … [read review or visit site]

Found in Moms Basement

Found in Moms Basement

Paula Zargaj-Reynolds’ blog, an extensive collection of 20th century vintage advertising, is a visual feast. Scro… [read review or visit site]



Clubs & Associations

Other Great Reference Sites

Most watched eBay auctions    

1960's 1966 Vintage Batman Button Collection Tin Litho Superhero Pin Pinback Tilden Jugate Political Campaign Ribbon Democrat Pinback Missouri Mo BoonvilleArkansas For Humphrey Hubert Humphrey Campaign Pinback Button State Shape ExcLot Of 2 Vintage Ronald Reagan Political Button Pinback 1966 1968Old Vintage Infallible Shotgun Smokeless Dupont Powders Advertising Pinback RareVintage Richie Ashburn Baseball PinbackVintage Chicago Area Pinbacks And Oliver Chilled Plow Key FobCattaraugus Cutlery Co. Knife Whitehead & Hoag Oval PinbackShoot Peters Shells Advertising Pinback Button Bastian Bros Celluloid Stunning Minnesota Afl-cio For Mondale Pinback ButtionVintage 1971 Free The Wilmington 8 Civil Rights Political Prison Pinback ButtonVintage Arctic Cat Pinback Button Kiss Me! I Have An Artic Cat SnowmobileLot Of 12 Political Pinback Buttons Hoover Roosevelt +Al Smith Pinback - President Campaign ClubVintage 1930s Louisiana Governor Huey P. Long Political Campaign Pinback ButtonSteekworkers Together For Mondale/ferraro Pinback Button1916 Woodrow Wilson Political Pinback - Pa Day, Shadow Lawn, Allentown, LehighVintage 1924 New York John W. Davis & Al Smith Political Coattail Pinback ButtonD590. Vintage: Walt Disney Donald Duck 'wanna Fight' Pinback Button (1935)1960's Pm10 Baseball Pin Button Coin Willie Mays Pinback Complete Ribbon + BatUnique And Rare Jfk/mlk Pinback Button1933 Century Of Progress "let's Go Chicago!" World Fair PinbackArkansas For Ike Eisenhower Campaign Pinback Button Gold Foil ExcLot Of 7 Ronald Reagan For Governor Political Button Pinback Collectible Pins Pinbacks Home Depot Mcdonalds Sports Mixed Lot Of 250Vtg Pinback Pin Lot Lapel Hat Tie Tack Disney Shriners Bowling Fraternal NycVintage Lunar Contact Metal Pinback ButtonJj- Huge Lot Collection Of 87 Olympics Pins Pinbacks- 1996 Atlanta + OthersJfk/lbj Leaders Of Our Country And A Friendly World Pinback ButtonCelluloid Pinback Buttons Pan Am Expo Buffalo 1901 1 1/4" And 1 1/2""Pair Of 1924 Pres Campaign Pinback Keep Coolidge Vs Lafollette & Wheeler PhotoTwo (henry) Wallace '48 Pinback ButtonsVintage Adlake Adams Westlake Co Lapel Pin Pinback Button Railroad Rr Chicago !!Vintage Chris Short Philadelphia Phillies Pinback/button 2 1/4 InchesVintage 1902 Job Harriman Socialist Party Usa La Mayor Political Pinback Button1908 President William Taft "him For Me" Political Election Champaign PinbackVintage Baseball Hassan Cigarettes Pinback Chicago Cubs Junk Drawer High Value Old Stuff Knives Pinbacks Token MedalsGreat May Day '84 Dump Reagan Jobs/peace/equality Pinback ButtonAntique Wood Bros. South Omaha Livestock Pinback Button Whitehead & Hoag LabelLapel Pin Lot Collector Lapel Pinbacks Huge Vintage To Now Lapel Ad Fun Pins HapAntique Galena Lead And Zinc Mine Picture Pin Pinback Button Ornate Frame 1 7/8"Vintage " Coming Soon 68 Pontiac " Pinback Button 1968 GtoVintage 1989 Tour Rolling Stones Hat Pin PinbackAntique E.w. Anspach Horse Market South Omaha Pinback Button Whitehead & HoagVotes For Women 1910s Button Pin Pinback Political Campaign Cause SuffrageVintage 1920 Single Tax Party Carrie Chapman Catt Political Pinback ButtonWestern Themed Pinbacks Gene Autry Hopalong Cassidy Trigger Jack Carson21 Vintage Pinbacks, Hunting & Fishing Clubs In N.y. Lyons Angelica Harbor BeachVintage Ford Farming Tractor & Dearborn Farm Equipment 1 5/8 Pin Pinback ButtonVintage Political Pinback Button Pin 1900 Election William Jennings Bryan 1-1/4"National Maritime Union €Vintage University Of Wisconsin Pinback Button Pin Tin Football College Badgers Railroad - Great Northern Railway - Free Homes Pinback With LogoHuge Lot Over 550 Pieces Logo Advertising Movies + More Pinback Pins Buttons(14) Vintage Political Buttons/pinbacks Ted Kennedy Johnson/humphrey Dukakis759th Railway Operations Battalion Crest Di/dui Pinback Foreign Made Painted1940 Minneapolis Moline Tractors Diamond Jubilee 1 1/2" Pin Pinback Button5 Different 1947 Kellogg's Pep Pinback Buttons Famous Artists Syn Excellent Cond1960 Washington Huskies Rose Bowl Pinback Button With Football