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EcommerceBytes-Update, Number 238 - May 03, 2009 - ISSN 1528-6703     6 of 7

Collector's Corner: Belt Buckles

By Michele Alice

May 03, 2009

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No self-respecting Country/Westerner would be caught dead wearing a good pair of jeans without an attention-grabbing belt buckle.

Actually, various forms of the buckle have been in use since the dawn of history, and antique specimens used by aristocracy and military can auction for thousands of dollars. But the buckle as a fashion accessory akin to costume jewelry dates back to the early 20th Century when Hollywood movies spread the images of properly accoutered cowboys far and wide.

And those buckles are now big in the world of collectibles.

Many of the nicest (and most valuable) buckles are made of silver, but even fairly recent brass pieces can be valuable. A good example is the 1974 Hesston. Made entirely of brass with the Hesston name stamped in large letters on the front, fewer than 15,000 were made. Today, collectors are willing to pay up to $1000+ for these rare specimens.

But the collector may not wish to limit himself to western-style hardware. Buckles today span the worlds of fashion and personal interest. Have a favorite sport team, college, or occupation? Fond of an animal, comic-book character, or commercial brand? Want buckles that enhance your Goth or Hip-Hop image, glitter with Rhinestones, or glow in the dark? They're all out there, waiting to be worn and/or collected.

The most active secondary markets, however, are for Western and military buckles. For vintage pieces expect to pay more for quality workmanship, for specimens made of materials like silver, and for those with signatures or maker's marks. And, of course, buckles that have not been damaged are generally worth much more than those that have been badly scratched, cracked, or are missing parts.

Buckles have the added benefit that, because of their relatively small size and generally durable materials, they are easy to store and display.

Isn't it nice that belt buckles are good for more than helping to hold up pants?

Want to know more about buckles? Check out the resources listed below,

and Happy Collecting!


"American Military Belt Plates," by Mike O'Donnell and Duncan Campbell
Link to book

"Collecting Men's Belt Buckles," by Joseph V. Saitta
Link to book

"German Belt Buckles 1845-1945: Buckles of the Enlisted Soldiers," by Peter Nash
Link to book

"The Western Buckle: History, Art, Culture, Function" (Cowboy Gear Series), by David R. Stoecklein
Link to book


Beals Cowboy Buckles
Interesting page on "Buckle Lingo" (terminologoy)

Belt Buckles of Estes
Commercial site has history of Hesston with discussion of fakes.

Nice history of belt buckles

Hesston Belt Buckle Webpage
This Fort Tumbleweed, Texas site has history of Hesston buckles. Lots of nice pics of Hesston and other buckles.

About the author:

Michele Alice is EcommerceBytes Update Contributing Editor. Michele is a freelance writer in the Berkshire mountains of Massachusetts. She collects books, science fiction memorabilia and more! Email her at makalice @ adelphia.net eBay ID: Malice9

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