1800's military buttons

These are some early military buttons and tokens I found while detecting an old military camp at Russell
The first button on the top left is an 88th British regiment tunic button. The next one is the 58th British regiment tunic button the next button has 3 Canons and a crown. the next one is a naval button. The two small buttons have Miners and Sappers written on them. The two lead tokens I think are gambling tokens. The 58th British regiment was the regiment were in action at Ruapekapeka in the 1800’s


Really nice collection.


Sweet buttons mate. Love finding military stuff.

Off to take a closer look at my collection of recovered roofing nails! :relaxed:

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great tunic buttons i think the cannons will be the royal fuselliers great score.

Very nice collection and they seem to be in pretty good shape which is cool.

I have not tried to clean them as the 88 and 58 buttons are Pewter. I did have a lot more but I donated them to the Russell Museum. I have a couple of other things but I will put them on later

if you feel the need just give them a soak in olive oil it should remove loose dirt without scrubbing.

Very nice. The pewter buttons are hard to clean.


There is going to be a discussion called “Careful Cleaning”, given by conservation cleaners on Tuesday 27 September and Tuesday 4 October, from 10.30am to 2.00pm. The venue is Ewelme Cottage, 14 Ayr Street, Parnell. The discussion is “knowing the secrets to cleaning your antiques without damage so they’ll last another 100 years”. This is part of the Auckland Heritage Festival. The cost is $5. No bookings are required. Phone 524 5729 for more information.
It could be interesting to pick their brains regarding conserving pewter, etc!

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I tried cleaning one of the broken ones with electrolysis but it just fell to bits. I have decided to leave them how I found them. It would be good to go to the discussion “Careful Cleaning” but I live in Whangarei. This is a photo of another artifact I found at the same site. It appears to be made out of a High tensile steel, but I have no Idea what it would be used. Somebody suggested it could be an implement for cleaning out where the powder goes to ignite a canon. fori

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cool collection you got there,ive found many military buttons,but havnt really taken much notice of them,will drag them out now and have a proper study of them,thanks for the info and for posting.

I’ll be going along to the session on 27 September re “Careful ?Cleaning”, so will ask them about cleaning small pewter items. I’ll let you know what they say.
The New Zealand Military Historical Society (http://www.nzmhs.org.nz/) have a “Gallery” on their website that shows items from 19th century, WW1, WW1, and post WW2 to help identify objects.
They are also having a Military Heritage day on Sunday 25 Sept 10am to 3pm at the Auckland War Memorial Museum.

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The button with the three canons on it is Pre 1885. Thanks for the info.

Anything NZ Military and Maori Wars I am totally Jellyarse about so the 58 buttons would be treasure trove to me - I think its wonderful. The buttons with the three cannons will be from an Artillery regiment - it appears to have wording on the bottom but I cant see photo very well so dont know. Royal Artillery is usually crown over the three cannons one above the other as on yours. A button with one single cannon is also one of the Artillery regiments and the style of button and cannon usualy identifies which specific Artillery regiment.

I note someone said that it might be Royal Fusiliers. That is not correct - which Royal Fusiliers? - There are many Royal Fusiliers regiments eg Royal Madras Fusiliers, Royal Welsh Fusiliers, Royal Scots Fusiliers, Royal Dublin Fusiliers and so on and none of whose buttons have ever featured cannons and each of which has different identifying buttons. The cannons are always associated with Artillery regiments and are quite common. I love the 58 Regiment button - dont have it so totally gaa gaa over it.


Hi ,
I gave most of the buttons I found to the Russell museum. I have some broken one’s so if you could give me your snail mail address I will post them to you.

A nice offer but if you ever get some complete Maori war era one I would be prepared to swap for them. I wanted to do a bit of pillaging myself up there but my cobber up there said I might get into trouble if I bring up a bulldozer! I actually do get to Auckland often but only once been right on up - love it up there - I dont freeze like I do in the sub Antarctic down here.

Wow! What was the chance of collecting all of them? 0,5%? That’s a great work man! Love it.