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    

Antique Pinback Political Button William Taft Souvenir Los Angeles Oct 11 1909Vintage 1950s 6" Eisenhower Broyhill Virginia Political Coattail Pinback ButtonWw1 German 1st Class Iron Cross --pinback!Woodrow Wilson 1917 Political Pinback Button With 3 RibbonsLot Of 7 Vintage? Beatles Pinback Buttons And One Header Card Rare Boxing 1950's Rocky Marciano Pin Pinback W/ Attached Glove And Ribbon1899 Lady Liberty & Flag €Vintage 1917 Votes For Women Suffrage Enamel Political Campaign PinbackRare Cleveland Indians Larry Doby Pm10 Stadium Pin Pinback William Taft President Campaign Pinback Pin "the Empty Dinner Pail" Ehrman Mfr.Elvis Presley Pinback Buttons And Flasher1900 Theodore " Teddy " Roosevelt Campaign Pinback - Clean ColorsHuge Lot Political Pinbacks Clinton Governor President Hillary Ephemera Kennedy Franklin Roosevelt Fdr President Campaign Button Political Pinback PinParker Original Pinback Button Pin16 Franklin Roosevelt Fdr Pinback Buttons & Tab Top PinsT. Roosevelt Original Campaign Pinback Button Pin1945 Detroit Tigers World Series Vtg Baseball Pin Pinback & Charm Hof Old ButtonRare 1931 St Louis Cardinals Champion Pennant Winners Pinback,pin W/paper BackIndiana Political Campaign Ribbon Pinback Rnc 1888 Chicago Republican RncBarry Goldwater Political Campaign Pinback Button Pin Colorado Republican GopRare Jewish Day At The Worlds Fair July 3, 1933 Button Pin PinbackLot Of 12 Political Pinback Buttons Hoover Roosevelt +Vintage Packer Backer Pinback Button - Green Bay Packers 1962 Champs /1963 1927 Iowa Hawkeyes Football Homecoming Button Pin Very Rare Pinback Iowa City1928 Iowa Hawkeyes Football Homecoming Button Pin Very Rare Pinback Iowa City1930 Iowa Hawkeyes Football Homecoming Button Pin Very Rare Pinback Iowa CityMixed Hug Lot Of 300 Pinbacks Hat Lapel Pins Political Olympic Sport Award 1896 Bicycle Racer €1969 Mlbpa Harmen Killebrew Minnesota Twins Pinback Baseball Button MlbPinback Rr Adv Celluloid Button Great Northern Railway Glacier National ParkJunk Drawer Estate Lot Watch Knives Jewelry Silver Gold Tokens Coins Pinback1900 Mckinley - Roosevelt " Full Dinner Bucket " Campaign PinbackGreat Goldwater In '64 South Dakota Flasher Pinback With Metal Ribbon1940's " Votes For Women Patriotism" Tin PinbackMixed Lot Iowa Hawkeyes Football Bowl Homecoming Pinback Buttons *no Reserve*Vintage Lot Pinback Button Wolrds Fair Uso Flags Home Front Old Junk DrawerPinback Button Firearms Workers Union Guns Shooting Hunting Antique Old VintageMckinley Ohio Milwaukee Wi Wisconsin Political Campaign Ribbon 1896 Pinback RncVintage Pinback Lusitania Pinback Wwi Original Condition Cruise Ship Cunard LineRare Antique Turn Of Century Roosevelt Mckinley Pinback Pin Unknown TrigateVintage 1917 Votes For Women Suffrage Ribbon & Photo Pinback ButtonWw2 Or Later Us Navy, Naval Flight Surgeon Wing, 11/2" Long, PinbackVintage Santa Claus Pinback Button You Should Build Of Brick1968 National Musky Festival Hayward Wisconsin Fishing Pin Pinback Button 2 1/4"Vintage Old Anchor Beer Pin Pinback Brackenridge Brewing Co Pennsylvania 1930sFranklin Roosevelt Fdr President Campaign Button Political Pinback PinPinback Button - Balloon Route Trolley Trip, Pacific Electric Ry, Los AngelesVintage Pinback Button Odd Mixed Lot Political Photos Persons Of InterestJames G. Blaine Michigan Political Campaign Ribbon Pinback RepublicanLafollette For President Political Champaign Picture Pinback Button Pin 7/8"13 Celluloid Pinback Pins Buster Brown Us Puritan Speed Gibson , Prudential Popeye The Sailor Pinback Button 1935 Vintage Original Paramount96 Vintage Boy Scout Name Blanks Tags Pinback Engraved Blank With No NamesGay Motor Cycle Club Rocky Horror Show Drag Protest Cause Pinback Button Twlf Third World Liberation Front Anti-vietnam War Student Strikes Sds PinbackVintage Union 76 Snow Tires Advertising PinbackFish & Game Pinback Hunting Fishing Shooting Antique Old VintageVintage Yellowstone Park Hotels Bear Advertising Pin Pinback ButtonMckinley Milwaukee Wi Wisconsin Political Campaign Ribbon 1896 Pinback Rnc 1896