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    

Vintage Arctic Cat Pinback ButtonCelluloid Pinback Button Brownies Perfecto Cigar Pan Am Expo Buffalo 1901 3/4"Pinback Button I'm A Beatle Fan In Case Of Emergency Place My Vote For BarryLincoln-douglas Debate 50th Anniversary Souvenir Mirror Pinback Quincy, IllinoisCelluloid Pinback Button Mexico Day At Pan Am Expo Buffalo Ny 1901 1-3/4"1888 German Love Token Pinback Silver Mark & 2 20 Pfenning Flower Pot Stars NiceDisney Rare Pleasure Island Adventurers Club Member Rubber Pinback ButtonDisney Rare Pleasure Island Adventurers Club Safari Pinback Button20 Harry S. Truman Political Campaign Pinback Buttons DemocratDisney Rare Pleasure Island Adventurers Club "kungaloosh" Pinback ButtonVintage Peters Shells And Cartridges Pinback By Bastian Bros. Early 1900'sVintage 1906 American Motor Car Company Advertising Campaign Pinback ButtonOld 1929 Michigan Resident Small Game Hunting License Pinback ButtonCelluloid Pinback Where Our President Fell Pan Am Expo Buffalo 1901 1-1/4"Disney Rare Pleasure Island Adventurers Club "i Survived" Pinback ButtonBeatles Original 3-d Vari Vue "the Beatles" Pinback Flasher Button Circa 1964Vtg 1928 Wisconsin Resident Hunting License Button Pinback Great ConditionVintage Brooklyn Dodgers Baseball Pin/button/pinbackVery Nice Drink Cherry Cheer 5Kennedy Button Vote Kennedy Ticket Pinback Political Button Original Period Pin1935 Popeye The Sailor A Paramount Picture Roxy Theatre King Features PinbackNice Lot Of Plymouth Dodge Scag Pack Dealership Dealer Promo Pinback ButtonsWwii Us Navy Pinback WingPeter Rabbit Columbia Records Grafonola Celluloid Pinback Button Stickpin1929 Kelloggs Pep Popeye King Features Syndicate Pinback Button Good ConditionAntique His Master's Voice Celluloid Stickpin Pin Pinback Music Store AdRare Pinback Sterling Usn United States Navy Cpo Chief Petty Office Hat Device1940 Fdr Franklin Roosevelt Henry Wallace Pin Pinback Button Calvin Coolidge Vintage 1890s Local 86 Plumbers And Gasfitters Trade Union Pinback Button RibbonMckinley Bryan Campaign Button 1900 Political Pin Pinback Fantastic Lot Of 17 Lbj Political Campaign PinbacksVintage 1914 Pax Jehovah Witness Watch Tower Campaign Pinback ButtonVintage Advertising Store Display Multi Dog Breed Pinback Buttons For Governor - James M. Cox - 7/8" Pinback Button - Ohio 1918 - 3 Images6 Political Pins Pinbacks Robert F Kennedy 1968 BobbyAuthentic Rare 1916 Woodrow Wilson Pinback ButtonVintage 1912 President Wilson 8 Hour Union Political Campaign Pinback ButtonOld Vintage Infallible Shotgun Smokeless Dupont Powders Advertising Pinback Rare1939 Celluloid Hudson Automobile Advertising Pinback Button1935 Penney's Popeye Back To School Days King Features Syndicate Pinback Button1960's Minnesota Vikings Football Go Go Pinback ButtonChicago Wagon Peddler License - 1913 2nd Period - Metal Tag Pinback Vintage Ih International Harvester Fort Wayne Safety Deputy Lapel Pin Pinback BVintage New Jersey Governor Richard J. Hughes Political Campaign Pinback ButtonVintage 1967 Pro Peace Anti War Vietnam 10 Easter March Campaign Pinback ButtonNeat Lot Of 17 George Wallace Campaign Political Pinback ButtonsVintage 1896 Sharples Tubular Cream Separator Pinback Button Whitehead & Hoag Great Lot Of 16 George Mcgovern Pinback ButtonsRichard Nixon Lodge 1960 Campaign Button Pin Pinback Political Thimble Set Of 13 N/m Kellogg's Cartoon Pep Pins - Pinback ButtonsCrest/di 361st Infantry Regiment, Pinback, Italian MadePair Of Anti-vietnam War Out Now Pinback ButtonsMckinley Teddy Theodore Roosevelt Pin President Celluloid Pinback Pin100 Jehovah Witness Pinback Buttons 1.25" Pins Badges Jehovah's Witnesses Jw.orgVintage 1980's Oh, No! It's Devo 3" Music Flicker Flasher 3-d Pinback Button.Vintage 1905 Jersey City Mayor Archibald M Henry Campaign Pinback ButtonVintage Ih International Harvester Fort Wayne Safety Deputy Lapel Pin Pinback AVintage 1921 New York Anti Blue Law League Statue Of Liberty Pinback ButtonBoy Scout Bullion Patch -- Eagle Scout "type 4" With Pinbacks ^replica Spoof^Lot Of 2 Bobby Kennedy Political Campaign Pinback Button