You should expect to find some US Military Buttons in old boxes of buttons. They were generally well made and often back marked. Most common will be World War II era buttons since so many Americans served in the armed forces during that period. History and locale will also have an impact on what you find. For example, we found some amazing General Service buttons that we can date from the 1850s to 1902. This makes sense because North Dakota was on the frontier and home to several forts, including Fort Lincoln, which was the home of the doomed 7th Calvary led by Custer. What I am always on the look out for and have never found are Civil War Buttons, which also makes sense since North Dakota didn't become a State until the 1889. If the button has an eagle on it, it very well could be US Military. If the button is extremely well made and back marked, it also could be military. Waterbury is a prominent maker of high quality buttons and if your button is back marked Waterbury, you can go to Waterbury.com to research your button. I also use EBay to help identify buttons. There are Military Collectors that buy and sell and can be knowledgeable about what they are selling. However, don't bet the farm that an eBay seller always knows what they have and are selling. You can also try military collector sights to assist in dating and identifying a military button.
We didn't find any Marine Corp buttons in the box. Marine Corp Buttons have a dramatic eagle also clutching an anchor. They are amazing.
We have a book on military buttons that goes through the Civil War. If you find an unusual military button and can't find anything on it, let us know and we will do our best to help you identify it.
Next week, we will look at the foreign military buttons that we found. I am kind of amazed that there were so many and certainly wonder how some of them came to be in our button box.