Found! Discarded Mattel Rosebud Factory Buttons

In 2011 a collector made an amazing discovery, thousands of unused buttons from the one time Mattel Rosebud factory in the UK. Here are the words he used to describe the find:


“Here is the history. We all know that Mattel had a factory in UK. Rosebud. I do not know what the date was that it was officially shut down but at some point in the factories closing there was a clean up crew that came in to the factory to gut the place, either for new tenants or for destruction. The Uncle of the person I bought these from was part of this clean up crew. There was around a pallet worth of boxes of the metal buttons. The gentlemen got the boxes primarily for metal scrap and was going to recycle them for money. Well, time continued to pass and around 40 years later the boxes never went to scrap but they were in his barn for decades getting weathered and eventually most of the boxes deteriorated and the buttons spewed everywhere on the ground and such. See attached photos.

My contact in UK reached out to me to sell these. The loose buttons were far to many and in marginal conditions as pictured. “Most of the loose buttons have been gathered up for recycling. I have only purchased the complete sleeves.” There were sleeves of buttons on the bottom of the pallet that still were secure in their original light paper wrap. We put a deal together for me to buy all the complete sleeves of buttons. Some of the paperwrap on some sleeves is torn or ends opened and few have some light rust staining to the bare metal absolute edges that does not impact the button. The paperwrap is very fragile. Most are in excellent condition. I got one of the only remaining outer cardboard boxes for the Beachbomb with 12 sleeves of Rear Board versions.

These “sleeves” of buttons were manufactured in Hong Kong and shipped to Rosebud. The sleeves are numbered with the Mattel car number. These were to have been loaded into the machine that inserted a button onto the card prior to the bubble being applied. The cool factor here is pretty awesome and would be cool additions to a collection. Especially if someone specializes in one of the castings. The buttons in most sleeves are minty minty factory fresh. There are a few sleeves that have some surface rust to the outer edges. There are 10,000 Rear Board Beach Bomb buttons at 833 buttons per sleeve at 12 sleeves. Some sleeves are slightly shorter in length and some longer. On average around 660-800 buttons per sleeve of each casting listed.”


Here are a few photos of the find and the assembled rolls of buttons.

The complete list of buttons rolls are as follows:

  1. Tow Truck – 16 sleeves
  2. Mongoose red – 4 sleeves
  3. Hot Heap – 7 sleeves
  4. Snake yellow – 12 sleeves
  5. Nitty Gritty Kitty – 1 3/4 sleeve
  6. Swinging Wing – 4 sleeves
  7. 32 Ford Vicky – 1 sleeve
  8. Side Load VW Beach Bomb – 6 sleeves
  9. Rear Load VW Beach Bomb – 12

The story does not really end with the rolled up buttons. Many of the loose buttons are in perfectly fine shape, some with a little rust. While a complete list is not yet known, the following loose buttons are known to have survived in collectible shape:

1968 Models (all models represented!)

  1. Beatnik Bandit
  2. Custom Barracuda
  3. Custom Camaro
  4. Custom Corvette
  5. Custom Cougar
  6. Custom Eldorado
  7. Custom Firebird
  8. Custom Fleetside
  9. Custom Mustang
  10. Custom T-Bird
  11. Custom Volkswagen
  12. Deora
  13. Ford J-Car
  14. Hot Heap
  15. Python
  16. Silhouette

1969 Models

  1. ’32 Ford Vicky Classic
  2. ’36 Ford Coupe Classic
  3. Brabham Repco
  4. Chaparral 2G
  5. Custom AMX
  6. Ford MKIV
  7. Indy Eagle
  8. Lola GT70
  9. Lotus Turbine
  10. Maserati Mistral
  11. McLaren M6A
  12. Mercedes 280SL
  13. Roll Royce Silver Shadow
  14. Shelby Turbine
  15. Splittin’ Image
  16. Turbofire
  17. Volkswagen Beach Bomb Green Background
  18. Volkswagen Beach Bomb Pink Background

1970 Models

  1. Ambulance
  2. Cement Mixer
  3. Dump Truck
  4. Ferrari 312P
  5. Fire Engine
  6. Heavy Chevy
  7. King Kuda
  8. Light-My-Firebird Purple Background
  9. Moving Van
  10. Mongoose Yellow Background
  11. Nitty Gritty Kitty
  12. Peeping Bomb
  13. Porsche 917
  14. Snake
  15. TNT-Bird
  16. Swingin Wing
  17. Tow Truck Orange Background

1971 Models

  1. Hairy Hauler
  2. Mustang Boss Hoss

It’s quite interesting that the buttons range over the entire redlines metal button era — 1968 through the 1971 model years. Is this the entire time the Rosebud factory was in production? It seems possible.

One defining characteristic of these buttons are the tabs remain unbent. This is not sufficient to prove they are Rosebud buttons however. The only proof in this case is provenance.

Quite an amazing survival story, how many more interesting finds will be made!



Original article from RedlineButtons/Mark Buser

Photos courtesy Toizrit,Inc – Jon Bertolino


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10 months ago

Where are they now? All sold?

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