Vintage Cufflink Collecting
Stake Your Claim In One of The Last Collecting Frontiers

 
Did you know . . . no matter what you collect, there is more than likely a related cufflink?

      Historical, Paper Weights, Bisque, Limoges, Gems, Games, Enamels, Photos, Designers, Events, Wars & Battles, Politics, Buttons, Famous People &
      Personalities, Coins, TV Shows, Airlines, Menuki, Organizations, Cars, Instruments, Watches, Fast Food Restaurants, Company Icons, Religion, Artist,
      Plastics, Pill Boxes, Liquors & Spirits, Schools, Occupations, Military, Cameos, Space & Technology, Intaglios, Novelties, Art Glass, Globes, Miniatures,
      Gambling & Casinos, Native American, Advertising, Animals, Sports, Mexican Silversmiths, Sea Gems, Sculptures, Porcelain, Music Groups,
      Monuments and the list goes on . . . and on . . . and on . . .


1964-65 Worlds Fair


St Louie Paper Wts


Tri-color Wedgwood


Destino Star Rubies


Movable Cards


Enamel Mallards


Family Photos


Fornasetti


Woodstock


Confederate Flags


Spiro Agnew


Vict. Cuff Buttons


Martin & Lewis


Walt Disney Mickey


Ancient Coins


Ben Casey TV Show


Continental Airline


Menuki Foo Dogs


Rotary International


Chevy Rear End


Musical Instruments


Quartz Watches


Wendy's Hamburger


Reddy Kilowat


Carved Budha


Hand Painted Dogs


Celluloid Masks


Functional Pill Boxes


Early Times Bourbon


MOP Horse Heads


Figural Handy Man


Benito Mussolini


Shell Cameos


NASA DSN Antenna


Michaud Intaglios


Scissor knife & File


Higgins Art Glass


Sterling Globes


Sterling Classic Cars


Removable Dice


Native American


Mc Donalds Burgers


Trifari Frogs


Ster. Water Skiers


Mexican Silver


Coral Sea Horses


Venus de Milo


Royal Copenhagen


The Beatles


Arc de Triumphe


Marilyn Monroe


American Bandstand


Alfred E. Newman


Banded Agates


Whimsical Golfer


Woman With Fruit

All rights reserved     Cufflinkking 1998 - 2013

      I feel vintage cufflinks is one of the last collecting frontiers; until the internet there was no venue to really expose their vast diversity.
      Although there have been many noteworthy cufflink collections built over the years, they have been isolated, limited, very specific and without
      broad organization or contrast UNTIL NOW.

 
A FEW TIPS FOR ANYONE WHO WANTS TO BUILD A VINTAGE CUFFLINK COLLECTION

      1) You will need a jewelers loop; I suggest a 10x power single lensed loop unless you will be looking at gemstones. The loop will assist you in
      viewing detail, condition, hallmarks & markings and aid in determining substances made.

      2) You will need to think about storage and/or display, photographing and cataloging. I only learned about the photographing and cataloging
      after I had accumulated over 10,000 pair, and it took me a year and a half to catch up when all this could have been done at the time of purchase and
      with very little effort.

      3) You will need to set boundaries as to what kinds of links you like even though these will more than likely change over time and be plagued
      with exceptions. In my opinion, no boundaries will yield over 10,000 pairs and may strain your finances and relationships.

      4) You will need to familiarize yourself with the terms & definitions of the trade. Because you are now in the world of jewelry, it is important to
      understand the basic nomenclature.

                  PRECIOUS METALS: Platinum, Palladium, 22K = (0.917), 18K = (0.750), 14K = (0.585), 10K = (0.417), 9K = (0.375), 8K = (0.333) and
                  Sterling = (0.925) Weight Conversions (31.104 grams to 1 oz). The melt price of these metals will always be in ounces, but most cufflinks
                  will be less than an ounce, so in order to calculate their melt value you will have to use the below equation:

 

METAL SPOT PRICE / 31.104 X % PURE (0.585 for 14K) X WT (in grams) = METAL VALUE


(price of metal per oz) divided by (the number of grams in an oz 31.104) times metal content per 1000 (ie. 14k=0.585 parts gold)
times the actual weight in grams = market value of the metal based on weight 
 

                  NOMENCLATURE: Gold Plate, Gold Filled, Rolled Gold, Rhodium Plated, Decal, Mosaic, Inlay, Cabochon, Guilloche, Cultured Pearl, Faceted,
                  Faux, Pseudo, Machine Tooled, Repousse, Incised, Applique, Cameo, Intaglio, Reverse Painted, Millifiori, Celluloid, Bakelite, Bisque, Pique,
                  Karat Clad, Gilt, Niello, Die Cast, Scrimshaw, Pitting, Corrosion, etc.

                  POPULAR DESIGNERS & COMPANIES: Swank, Tiffany, Anson, Cartier, Toshikane, Allan Adler, Hans Hansen, David Webb, Steuben, Trifari,
                  Hattie Carnegie, Krementz, Correct Quality, Michael Michaud, Fenwick & Sailor, Victoria Flemming, David Andersen, Ed Harris, Esther Lewittes,
                  Coro, Sarah Coventry, William Spratling, Margo de Taxco, Antonio Pineda, Hogan Bolas, Delft, Royal Copenhagen, Mikimoto, Wedgwood,
                  Ruskin, Weiss, Hermes, Just, Russer, Cini, Wallace, Los Castillo

                  ERAS: Contemporary (1970 to present), Mid-Century (1940's & 50's), Deco (1920's), Arts & Crafts (1910 to 1920), Edwardian (1901 to 1910)
                  Nouveau (1890 to 1910), Victorian (1837 to 1901), Georgian (1740 to 1830) and finally the mother of all cufflinks, Antique (1650 to 1830)
                  although the standard definition is anything over 100 years of age.


Double-Sided


Single-Sided


Snap Links


Bean Backs


Barbells


Stirrup Links


Wrap-A-Rounds


Toggle Links


                  CLOSING MECHANISMS: Double-Sided cufflinks which are the oldest cufflinks and continue to be made, Single-Sided links (c. 1900 to present),
                  Ball Backs & Bean Backs (circa 1900), Barbell links (1920 to present), Button backs or Cuff Buttons (1880 to 1900), Snap links (1915 to 1930),
                  Wrap-a-Rounds and Toggles (1940's to present).


                  CUFFLINK CONVERTS: (cufflinks made from existing items - buttons, earrings, coins, arrows, watch movements, lapel pins, etc.) This type of
                  cufflink is very tricky because their quality and value are directly related to their maker's aesthetic and expertise.

Cufflink Glossary

 
NOW THAT YOU HAVE AN UNDERSTANDING OF THE BASICS . . . LETS TALK ABOUT THE SEARCH!

        Cufflinks can be found in the usual places like Flea Markets, Garage Sales, Pawn Shops, and Thrift Stores but The Internet is a whole different
        ball of wax. The markets, sales, shops and stores are standard watering holes but searching the internet is all about the search techniques.
        For example: searching for misspelled words like cuflink or kufflink, (correct spelling being cufflink), safire or saphire (correct spelling being sapphire)
        can yield some interesting results. In the early days of the internet, these little tricks worked better than today because many search programs will
        automatically correct misspelled words but when choices are offered, check them all out.

        Sometimes a person will list a vintage or antique cufflink in the wrong category on auction sites, for example: a 14k gold cufflink will be included in the
        costume jewelry category or an antique link in the contemporary category; this oversight can be your blessing.

        Occasionally, a very collectable link like a hand-painted Toshikane, solid gold Larter or Danish modern Hans Hansen will be listed as plastic, gold-filled
        or just sterling respectively because the person does not recognize the hallmarks; again, could be a blessing for you.

        The more you know about the links you search for and the more cufflinks you examine closely even if you don't purchase them, the better equipped you
        are to reap the benefits of common mistakes. Just as not all cufflinks that are stamped with a karat mark are gold, links with punch marks or no marks
        can be unmarked precious metals. This is where a trained eye and experience will prevail!

        My suggestion is "leave no stone unturned in your quest to find unique and distinctive vintage cufflinks" since vintage cufflink collecting is still
        in its neonatal stages, good deals and rare links can still be found although the pond is slowly drying up.

        Ebay is the premier auction site for bidding on vintage cufflinks whereas Etsy, Rubylane, Amazon, 1stdibs and private sites have fixed prices. This is
        not to say that great deals cannot be found on fixed priced sites but one must know one's stuff to excel. Because non precious vintage links are not
        front & centered in shops like Tiffany, Cartier or David Webb cufflinks, it is important to ask if the seller, dealer or shop owner have any, as this may lead
        to a really great find.

RARE vs COMMON . . . OLD vs REPRODUCTION . . . ORIGINAL vs MODIFIED

        The jury is still out about what is truly rare in terms of vintage cufflinks for many people who own them have forgotten about them in a box
        or the back corner of a drawer. Unless the links were made by highly sought after designers like Cartier, Tiffany, Hermes, etc., or are made of gold,
        platinum or gemstones, the out-of-sight, out-of-mind rule generally applies. Below are a few rare cufflinks to look out for:

EXTREMELY RARE VINTAGE CUFFLINKS

        Alfred E. Newman Mad magazine cufflinks, Trifari enamel animals, 18th century Essex crystal, 18th century paste, Tri-color Wedgwood, Beatles,
        Woodstock, Hit Parade (the precursor to American Bandstand) and Steuben

RARE VINTAGE CUFFLINKS

        Ed Harris, Lewittes, Large Figural Toshikane Faces, Fornacetti and Paper Weight links by St. Louie, Perthshire, Caithness, etc.

        One interesting thing I have noticed about cufflinks, looking back over the last 60 years or so, is that when they have been in vogue, it's all about
        the money. No one has wanted to gather & promote the sale of quality vintage costume links because there is such a limited supply. Unless you have
        been a veracious buyer over many years, you just can't make any money. Manufacturers have cranked out thousands of inexpensive new links each
        time in their effort to meet the demands. However, with the aid of the internet things are starting to change. When I first started selling vintage cufflinks
        in 1998, one could do a search on ebay that would yield 100 - 150 listings . . . today that same search yields over 24,000 listings.

REPRODUCTION CUFFLINKS

        Frequently, vintage links that are rare or have been popular in the past are reproduced: for example, the figural Alfred E. Newman face cufflinks, the
        1955 Marilyn Monroe reverse painted nudes and the quartz Essex crystals. Although the revised versions share the same subject matter, they are not
        the same. As with all reproductions, the technology of the time, availability of the materials and the cost of production dictate the end results; many
        times exact duplication is both cost & labor suicide. In any defined era, there only exists what was made and what has survived; that's it.

        Occasionally, a reproduction is so close to the original that differentiation is more difficult and the only thing separating the two is expertise. When
        collecting vintage cufflinks, the links that first introduced the concept, the style, the material or commemoration of an event is the one to seek.

MODIFIED CUFFLINKS

        In reference to modifications, it's my belief the further away from the original manufactured state a vintage cufflink is, the less value it retains. I have
        from time to time paid good money for partial pairs, damaged pairs and pairs that have been converted to more contemporary closing mechanisms
        but this has always been based on rarity, for example: a single 18th century Stuart crystal, a cracked tri-color Wedgwood link or a Victorian cuff button
        that has been aesthetically modified to a toggle link. The bottom line is, these are all individual calls to be made by the collector.

        In closing, I would like to say there is a lot more that could have been said, but maybe in a future article. Meanwhile, stake your claim and be a pioneer
        in the growing field of vintage cufflink collecting!

        Sincerely,

        David Hrobowski
        aka The Cufflinkking
 

All rights reserved     Cufflinkking 1998 - 2013