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    

Ww1 German 1st Class Iron Cross --pinback!Antique Pinback Political Button William Taft Souvenir Los Angeles Oct 11 1909Vintage 1950s 6" Eisenhower Broyhill Virginia Political Coattail Pinback Button1900 Theodore " Teddy " Roosevelt Campaign Pinback - Clean ColorsVintage 1917 Votes For Women Suffrage Enamel Political Campaign PinbackBarry Goldwater Political Campaign Pinback Button Pin Colorado Republican Gop1899 Lady Liberty & Flag €William Taft President Campaign Pinback Pin "the Empty Dinner Pail" Ehrman Mfr.Mixed Hug Lot Of 300 Pinbacks Hat Lapel Pins Political Olympic Sport Award Rare 1931 St Louis Cardinals Champion Pennant Winners Pinback,pin W/paper BackT. Roosevelt Original Campaign Pinback Button Pin1945 Detroit Tigers World Series Vtg Baseball Pin Pinback & Charm Hof Old ButtonIndiana Political Campaign Ribbon Pinback Rnc 1888 Chicago Republican RncHuge Lot Political Pinbacks Clinton Governor President Hillary Ephemera Kennedy Lafollette For President Political Champaign Picture Pinback Button Pin 7/8"1969 Mlbpa Harmen Killebrew Minnesota Twins Pinback Baseball Button MlbJunk Drawer Estate Lot Watch Knives Jewelry Silver Gold Tokens Coins Pinback16 Franklin Roosevelt Fdr Pinback Buttons & Tab Top Pins1928 Iowa Hawkeyes Football Homecoming Button Pin Very Rare Pinback Iowa City1930 Iowa Hawkeyes Football Homecoming Button Pin Very Rare Pinback Iowa CityRare Jewish Day At The Worlds Fair July 3, 1933 Button Pin PinbackVintage Packer Backer Pinback Button - Green Bay Packers 1962 Champs /1963 Lot Of 12 Political Pinback Buttons Hoover Roosevelt +Parker Original Pinback Button Pin1927 Iowa Hawkeyes Football Homecoming Button Pin Very Rare Pinback Iowa CityIt's Ford For '40 1940 Dealership Pinback Button - Ford Mercury Lincoln & Zephyr1900 Mckinley - Roosevelt " Full Dinner Bucket " Campaign PinbackPinback Rr Adv Celluloid Button Great Northern Railway Glacier National Park1872 Presidential Candidate Horace Greeley Pinback - Cdv1896 Bicycle Racer €Vintage Junk Drawer Lot Old Watches Bracelets Rings Pinbacks Old Box Included Vintage Old Anchor Beer Pin Pinback Brackenridge Brewing Co Pennsylvania 1930s1968 National Musky Festival Hayward Wisconsin Fishing Pin Pinback Button 2 1/4"Pinback Button - Balloon Route Trolley Trip, Pacific Electric Ry, Los AngelesRare Antique Turn Of Century Roosevelt Mckinley Pinback Pin Unknown TrigateWw2 Or Later Us Navy, Naval Flight Surgeon Wing, 11/2" Long, PinbackVintage Santa Claus Pinback Button You Should Build Of Brick3/4" Santa Claus David C. Cook Pinback (circa 1900)Great Goldwater In '64 South Dakota Flasher Pinback With Metal RibbonPinback Button Firearms Workers Union Guns Shooting Hunting Antique Old VintageMckinley Ohio Milwaukee Wi Wisconsin Political Campaign Ribbon 1896 Pinback RncJames G. Blaine Michigan Political Campaign Ribbon Pinback RepublicanVintage 1917 Votes For Women Suffrage Ribbon & Photo Pinback ButtonHuge Vintage 1980s Lot Of 40 Marvel & Dc Comics Buttons/pinbacks Batman/supermanRemington, Peters 13 Different Pinbacks, Rick Mast, 17 Fireball, SkeetVintage Pick Plug Cut Tobacco North Carolina Advertising Pin Pinback Button13 Celluloid Pinback Pins Buster Brown Us Puritan Speed Gibson , Prudential Franklin Roosevelt Fdr President Campaign Button Political Pinback PinPopeye The Sailor Pinback Button 1935 Vintage Original Paramount393rd Engineer Battalion Crest Di/dui Pinback1903 Syracuse, New York Fair Lion Brand Coffee Advertising Pin Pinback ButtonMcrr Michigan Central Railroad Pioneer Association Pinback Gold Filled PinIowa Civil War Pin Back Button Iowa's Welcome To 51st Volunteers Pinback ButtonTwlf Third World Liberation Front Anti-vietnam War Student Strikes Sds PinbackVintage Yellowstone Park Hotels Bear Advertising Pin Pinback ButtonFish & Game Pinback Hunting Fishing Shooting Antique Old VintageMckinley Milwaukee Wi Wisconsin Political Campaign Ribbon 1896 Pinback Rnc 1896Vintage Ia Iowa Lions Club Pin Plastic State Pinback1935 26th Homecoming University Of Illinois Vs. Michigan Pin Pinback VintageRichard M. Nixon Political Campaign Pinback Button Pin Collection Republican Gop