Collecting the Objects of the Presidents

The more valuable political collectables should chronicle an historic event or major sea of change in the political process, Dr. Lori says.

Americans have been collecting Presidential and campaign collectibles since the advent of America.

Dating back to George Washington’s administration, collectibles such as brass campaign buttons (the type that one sewed onto one’s overcoat) and paper documents highlighting speeches and political platforms interested collectors.

Some of the most common collectibles relating to the presidential history relate to George and Martha Washington. Painted oil on canvas portraits of Washington, Cantonware dinner plates like those used at Mount Vernon, and campaign buttons hold their value with collectors.

From historic documents with Washington’s authenticated autograph to plastic mugs featuring his likeness, objects featuring the father of our country command high values at auctions.

Recently, I appraised a rare pair of dolls made by the Effanbee company featuring George and Martha Washington in period costumes. The George doll is dressed in a tricorn hat and military garb typical of the 18th Century and the Martha doll wears a lace trimmed dress and pink overcoat. These collectible Washington dolls by Effanbee are worth $1,000.

I always advise people to collect political objects that chronicle an historic event or major sea change in the political process. Traditionally, those objects hold their value long term.

Presidents Thomas Jefferson, Abraham Lincoln, and Andrew Jackson are arguably the most popular Presidents when it comes to the antiques and collectibles market. For instance, a circa 1864 Lincoln and running mate Johnson (later President Johnson) campaign buttons featuring the two men’s likenesses have sold for upwards of $5,000 each.

1900s Antiques

Since the 1900s, President Theodore Roosevelt interesting personality and love of hunting was highlighted by some of the world’s toy companies during his administration. In 1909, the Schoenhut Toy Company manufactured the Teddy Roosevelt African safari set featuring a group of moveable action figures.

The set came with a printed landscape scene and action figures of President Roosevelt, fellow hunters, and wild animals including lions, tigers, giraffes, and gorillas. Recently, this antique toy set sold for $44,000.

In addition to objects chronicling the service of our Presidents, collectors have amassed objects from recent political campaigns too. For example, campaign ephemera like John Kerry and John Edwards bumper stickers and lawn signs have not brought big bucks on the market. Instead, many people are trading their George W. Bush or informal “W” memorabilia and commanding good amounts of cash online.

The collectible objects featuring the now famous Barack Obama logo of the hopeful “O” landscape image in red, white, and blue from the 2008 campaign has fared well too. On the other hand, the Obama action figures which are clearly marked “collectible” on the packaging will not command big bucks.

When it comes to presidential collectibles make sure your piece is authentic and is of historical value in order to get a good return on your investment.


Celebrity Ph.D. antiques appraiser, author, and award-winning TV personality, Dr. Lori presents antique appraisal events nationwide. Watch Dr. Lori on Discovery’s hit TV show, Auction Kings. Visit DrLoriV.com, Facebook.com/DoctorLori, or call (888) 431-1010.

SMYRNA-X September 16, 2012 at 09:30 PM
I believe most american men have an obama empty suit hanging in the closet.


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