Button Man of France
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The button man of France

Shoppers look over the vintage buttons for sale at Eric Hebert’s stall at the Puces de Vanves flea market on Paris’ southern edge. (Michael Oreskes / For the Los Angeles Times)
Taeko Kato wears jewelry she crafted from buttons sold by Hebert. (Michael Oreskes / For the Los Angeles Times)
Yoshini Kondo of Japan, who came to the Puces de Vanves to look for old vases for her florist shop outside Tokyo, was distracted by the treasure-trove of buttons. (Michael Oreskes / For the Los Angeles Times)
Even during lean times, Hebert says, people have a little cash for a $4 button. Some weekends he makes $400, but occasionally his sales go as high as $3,000. He once sold an 18th century metal button for $500. (Michael Oreskes / For the Los Angeles Times)
Hebert’s passion began when he bought a carton of 1940s buttons from another flea market vendor. “It was the product that chose me,” he says. (Michael Oreskes / For the Los Angeles Times)
Hebert is eager to explain the history of his wares. (Michael Oreskes / For the Los Angeles Times)
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