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Tagua Nut

Tagua Nut

$2.00

Tagua nuts grow on tagua nut trees in a country called Ecuador. In the olden days, more than 20 percent, or about 20 percent of the buttons sold to, or maybe it's made in the United States (U.S.) were made from the famed "nut of the tagua".

Eventually, shortly after The Graduate debuted in theaters, cheap plastics came about, and tagua nut buttons fell off the radar screen. Then for many years, and still now, hardened drug lords have arranged the chopping down of thousands of acres of tagua nut trees so they could grow cocaine instead. Apparently that's more profitable, and it is no coincidence that most cocaine addicts and their suppliers now wear shirts with plastic buttons.

Back in 1990 or so, when I was working at Bridgestone, we contracted with an Italian company to make about 500 all wool cycling jerseys in the style of cycling jerseys in the thirties. These had buttons from the shoulder up to the high collar, and if you think those were plastic buttons in the thirties, I can't believe how wrong you are.

Naturally, we wanted the jerseys to be as authentic as possible, and as green as possible, and as anti-drug lord as possible, so we found a button maker in New York City who could make tagua nut buttons, and sent the jersey maker in Italy many thousands of them. They were expensive buttons. It is not important for you to know this next fact, but: Since I was the button contact, the button maker also made me a deluxe fifty piece set of tiddly winks. In this line of work, this is what is known as a "kickback," and if you think they're ever going to show up on Ebay, again, I can't believe how wrong you are.

Back to the buttons. The plan was to include a whole, raw tagua nut in the pocket of each jersey we sold. Maybe some of the jerseys didn't get their nuts, or maybe we just over-ordered nuts, but when I left Bridgestone, I rescued about 500 tagua nuts from the dumpster, and I've had them ever since. It might be more like 1500.

It's time to share the wealth.

All the proceeds from the sale of these -- meaning the full purchase price -- will go to Smile Train. It costs $250 for one cleft palate surgery. You've seen the photographs in newspapers, and now, with a mere $2 purchase, you can help a child and get your own one-of-a-kind tagua nut.

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