Upon hearing of my affliction (i.e. button collecting) most people I meet are surprised as they have never heard of the hobby. Kate Boulton claims it is the 4th most popular collecting hobby, after coins, stamps and dolls. Whether this is true or not, the hobby is HUGE in the States where there has been a National Society since 1938. State and National shows and competitions are held. There is also a keen British Button Society.
I have complied some articles found in Trove to show that there have been serious button collectors around for a long time!
Published in the Macleay Chronicle (NSW), 24th May 1950
Click on this link to go to a large article about a button collector in a 1975 Women’s Weekly magazine. http://trove.nla.gov.au/newspaper/article/43199047?searchTerm=collecting%20buttons&searchLimits=sortby|||l-state=National
During World War One soldiers were collecting momentos to send back to their famiies. These could include badges and buttons. As detailed in the below articles, they could be a source of community interest. A popular method of collecting was to fasten buttons and badges to a money belt or similar.