The year after a Presidential campaign is usually a time when the nations eye on politics and Presidential politics specifically is somewhat unfocused. Well…the barn burning 2016 Presidential election has proven to break that trend! Following a great upsweep in interest in the collecting of political memorabilia due to an incredibly close Presidential campaign, perhaps a record number of buttons and items were produced both supporting and detracting from candidates Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton and all of their Primary competitors.
After Election Night, button companies immediately began cranking out victory buttons and a host of Inauguration items for the coming start of the new administration. Between the Primaries, Conventions, Campaign and Inaugural, an incredible number of button varieties were produced for an insatiable public.
Despite which side collectors aligned themselves with during 2016, Im glad to report that everyone came back to the same page as everyone seems to be united in continuing the collecting frenzy of 16 onto today.
Auctions offering political memorabilia are posting record prices on some of the most sought after collectibles of the past 228 years of Presidential history and many of the losses that the hobby observed immediately after the economic struggles of 2008 2009 are being corrected.
The hobby of Political Memorabilia has certainly seen its share of tough times between the aforementioned economic woes and the advent of eBay and with its ability to offer collectors 24 hour a day seven days a week shopping not to mention the increased availability of some once hard-to-find items.
One measure of the strength of the hobby is the strong interest in and attendance at the many Political and Americana collectors shows such as the Canton Ohio Political & Pop Culture Show & Sale, which will be held October 27 28 at the McKinley Grand Hotel in Downtown Canton. Friday hours are 9am 4:30pm (admission $5) and Saturday 9am 2pm (free admission.) I will be in attendance to buy, sell and trade and look forward to seeing any American Antiquities Journal readers who make the trek! Please feel free to contact me for more information.
On to the Mailbag:
Q:Hi, yesterday I saw the Full Dinner Bucket Roosevelt jugate at a swap meet. A while back, I bought a fake one, so I learned by lesson to be wary. This one appears to have all the requisite age, only unlike the more common deep blue and beige one, it is orange all over. Is this a replica or real?
A: Political collecting is a great hobby, but sadly has a few pitfalls like most other collectibles. Over the past 50 years there have been a number of fake, fantasy and reproduction campaign buttons produced by various companies and individuals. Sadly, one such repro is the orange colored Dinner Bucket button you described above. Genuine examples are normally in black or brown, with a few known in a black & white, sepia and green. Most all of these are 1 ｼ in diameter and made with a celluloid covering. The button you found was produced almost 50 years ago, but is alas still a fake.
Q: My Grandfather was a collector of all types of gum and tobacco cards from the turn of the last century. Here is a Heisels Gum card that features President Harrison. Is it worth much?
A: That depends on how you define much. Gum and tobacco cards were frequently inserted in products just like actors, animals, baseball players and much, much more. The 1880s were a busy period for this type of activity and a fair number of cards have survived, keeping prices fairly low. In great shape your Benjamin Harrison card should fetch around $20.
Q: Mr. McQuillen, we enjoy your articles. Recently while cleaning out a family members home, my wife and I found a 6-foot across red, white and blue banner picturing Alf Landon for President. Any price information would be appreciated.
A: Similar 6 foot to 10 foot banners were produced in the mid-20th Century for most Presidential candidates including FDR, Willkie, Dewey, Ike, Truman, Stevenson and of course Landon. The left and right sides have red, white and blue banners which taper down to the ends. In great shape, your nice Landon banner should retail in the $500 - $600 range.
This column appears regularly in American Antiquities Journal. I invite readers to e-mail or write me if they have questions about political buttons or other political items in their possession. A good description accompanied with a photocopy or scan will have the best chance of receiving a response in future columns. Due to time and space limitations, all questions cannot be answered. Please limit your questions to one or two items. A S.A.S.E. will enable me to return your photo\xerox if so desired. Personal replies depend on the volume of mail received. Michael J. McQuillen can be reached by writing him directly at P. O. Box 50022, Indianapolis, Indiana 46250-0022, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org or at his web-site: www.PoliticalParade.com
Illustrations: From top to bottom
A genuine 1900 McKinley & Roosevelt Dinner Bucket button typically sells in the $125 range.
This reproduction Dinner Bucket button was produced in the 1960s and has a value of Zero dollars.
Kansas’ Favorite Son Alf Landon is featured on this nice campaign banner, which should retail in the $500 to $600 range.