Vintage Levi's Jean Guide - Buttons

There has also been a lot of questions regarding  stamping on the back of the top buttons.
As a rule, jeans with a single stamped digit (2, 5, 6, W) for example are older than jeans with a 3 digit stamping on the top
of the button.  Common 3 digit stampings are 524, 558, 555,554.

- Jeans with single digit or no digit stamping are made from mid 70's back, and are possibly big E
- Authentic Big E non-reproduction jeans will have either no or a single stamped digit.
- Reproductions will normally be stamped '555'
- Newer Levis and fakes will be stamped '501'
- Japanese Made Levis will have a 'J' followed by a couple of digits '21'

Era: 1870 ~ 1873 period.
The hand stitched top-buttons used in the duck cloth work overalls.

Era: 1873 ~ 1890 period.
The most basic type of metal buttons used in the Levis 125 model waist overall in 1873.
 note the recessed button center which differs from more modern jeans.

Era: 1902 ~ 1928 period.
This is a black donut top button used on the LEVIS 201XX  Lot. No. 2 jeans. It is considered the most basic style of top button by Levis with " LEVI STRAUSS & CO * "  stamped on it. Only Black button to be found on levi's will be from this era.  Very Rare.

Era: 1930 ~ 1941 period, 1945-Modern Peroid.
The donut core was filled and molded into a solid heart top button for the 501XX series. Levis decided to include it's country of origin, and thus, " * S . F CAL * "  was inserted in together with the other characters.  This button is the father of the modern button used currently.

Era: 1942 ~ 1944 World War II period.
The donut styled top button (possibly used as to conserve material during the war) of the S501XX jeans. The original  " LEVI STRAUSS & CO * "  was replaced with laurel leaves which bears a meaning of peace.  Jeans with this button will not have arcuate stitching as it was deemed decorative and not necessary during wartime.  It was painted on by hand.  A pair in mint conditon still containing the painted stitches would be worth $1000 USD + to collectors or on Ebay.

Era: 1987 ~ Current
There are two versions of this top button. Available in both Silver and Copper, the " * " which was used as a spacer was replaced with " . " instead. The silver color top button were use mainly on jeans while the copper version appeared on 505 series of jeans and jackets.  Copper buttons never appear on 501 model jeans.